Toguard H60 12MP 1080P 120° Trail Camera

Like all trail cameras, this is a camera which is designed to operate unattended outdoors and to automatically capture pictures or video of anything that triggers the built-in motion It designed to be used to monitor wildlife activity but could be used for security purposes also.

This new model T40 from Toguard arrived devoid of all product packaging but was delivered in a plain bag inside of which was the camera itself, semi-rigid carry case, retaining tree mount strap, micro-USB to USB cable, User Guide. The lack of proper packaging must seriously reduce the appeal of the item as a gift, a great pity. Although the camera itself is made of plastic and is rather lightweight nevertheless build quality seems fine. The User Guide is large, reasonably well printed and in understandable English. I include key sections scanned to the end of my unboxing video. Switch to full screen and pause as needed to read it.

The camera takes six AA batteries, a lot but it means it can be left to operate untended over extended periods. Take note that if used intensively the batteries will quickly run down but in normal use should last up to six months. The batteries are housed in a compartment in the main body of the unit. It has the option to use an external 6v power supply (not supplied). On the front of the device are the lens, infrared LED panel, wide angled motion sensor and the flap protected LCD screen. On the bottom are clips to secure the access panel to the ports and battery chambers, the clips work well but I would prefer it had they been more robust. When the clips are released the flap reveals the micro-USB memory card slot, micro-USB port, and power switch. The power switch has three positions for Off/TEST/ON. Set it to TEST to access the settings screen. Fitting the memory card can be a little tricky particularly when on site and the camera is probably best removed from the mount and inverted to make the task easier. On the underside is a metal tripod screw and on the top, a grommet protected external power supply input. The camera is rated IP56 which means it should withstand heavy rain but not water immersion.

Some trail cams just have a standard motion sensor on the front, others have front and side sensors. This one has a single sensor but it has a 120-degree wide angle view so it should be able to match the multi-sensor rivals whilst consuming less power to do so. When positioning the camera be to ensure that the lens, LED panel and sensor are not obstructed. You can secure it to a tree or post using the supplied belt. It is a pity no tripod is included as the camera cannot stand up unsupported.

Although there are plenty of refinements and fine-tuning that can be made in fact the camera can be up and running very quickly with the default settings. However, for best results and to conserve the batteries it is worthwhile taking care to position the camera correctly and to fine tune the settings. Take note that the only way to change the settings is using the remote control (housed in a panel on the rear of the device) and if the remote is lost then you cannot change the camera configuration. The remote can also be used to take pictures and video but since it is a simple line of sight unit it can only realistically be used to change the camera settings. After inserting the batteries and removing the gels covering the lens and sensors and screen, switch it to TEST mode and press the MENU button on the remote. From here you can now set the image and video resolutions, video recording lengths and other parameters such as time stamping, time lapse, scheduling etc. One particularly useful feature is that you do not have to choose between Video or Stills as you can set it to record both at once.

The batteries will last up to six months on standby but because I did not take care when positioning the camera and configuring the sensors I found I was down to 50% in one day. Avoid setting camera where it can be triggered by moving foliage and reduce the sensitivity of the motion sensor to the minimum needed. Due to the one second minimum delay between the trigger and the camera starting try and position it in a place either where wildlife moves towards the camera or where it may remain in place. If a subject just passes quickly through the frame you may miss it.

I was pleased and not a little surprised by the photo and video quality, too often budget trail cameras fall down here by using cheap hardware to save production costs, but not so here. Image quality is excellent for both Video and stills.

This camera can be great fun if you have a big garden and wonder what goes on there when you are away. Those with more sophisticated needs might prefer rival but more expensive products.

The Good
Great price
Good image quality
Good build quality
Simultaneous stills and video option
Scheduling
wide-angle motion sensor
Good User Guide
Audio recording option
Date/Time/location/temperature stamp options
IP56 water resistant

The Bad
Heavy battery drain when used intensively
32GB maximum card
Fitting the memory card can be tricky
Top heavy when batteries fitted
Can only be controlled with remote

More info and purchase

Smart Adult Bluetooth Bicycle Helmet from Generic

 

My new Bluetooth cycling helmet from Generic arrived simply packaged in a plain brown box. This is no big deal but does mean the item would be far less attractive as a gift.  The same must be said for the lack of a proper User Guide. Inside the box was the helmet itself, a short USB to micro-USB charging cable, the handlebar remote control unit with rubber grip band, and an A4 duplicated User Guide. Build quality of everything seems fine although of necessity rather lightweight. The helmet is showerproof, we are told, but not suitable for use in heavy rain. The User Guide is easy to read but rather hard to make sense of and I enclose a scan of it to my unboxing video.

The headset is a normal one in many respects and from a distance looks the same as the rest. Upon examination, it is very different. Under the rim at the front can be found a three-button control panel. The centre button is the power button and a long press will switch the device off or on, the others mimic those on the handlebar remote. Inside there is a grommet protect micro-USB charging slot. A three and a half hour charge should give between four and tens hours of use depending on which features you use. The handlebar remote is a bit plasticky but works well and has a status LED to confirm button presses.

The headset connects via Bluetooth to the phone and handlebar remote and offers multiple functions. It can control music or another audio playing over the built-in speaker with volume, pause/play and track selection. It can take or reject incoming calls which can be made using the built-in microphone and speaker. Curiously, it can also control the camera app on your phone and be used to take pictures and video. Most importantly, it has a large number of brightly coloured LED lights built in which can be used as direction indicators as well as to show other road users that you are there. It has orange direction indicators on the sides and bright white LED blocks on the front and back. Pressing the power and either side button together scrolls between all lights flashing/front and rear only flashing/front on rear flashing/rear flash/front flash.

Audio quality is OK for what it is. Obviously, you are not going to get hifi quality on a device such as this and that is probably no bad thing as it would not be good to get too immersed in music when on the road. Sound quality is fine for phone calls, speech and general music listening. That is good enough for me.

Pairing with my Android phone’s Bluetooth was easy enough and once connected the link seemed fast and stable and the voice status prompts made setting it up fairly simple.

This is an excellent device and should be able to make your life on the road more enjoyable and safer. The price is not cheap but there is some quite sophisticated technology in use here. For those that need it, this would be a great buy.

The Good
Bright and powerful LEDs
Remote control
Rechargeable battery
Picture taking Camera
Music controls
Phone call controls
Direction indicators
Voice prompts
Helmet size adjuster
Showerproof
Microphone
Speaker

The Bad
Expensive
Poor User Guide
Poor packaging

More info and purchase

CAMPARK Trail Camera 12MP 1080P T40

A trail camera is a camera which is designed to operate unattended outdoors and to automatically capture pictures or video of anything that triggers the built-in motion detector. They are mainly used to monitor wildlife activity but could be used for security purposes also.

This new model T40 from CAMPARK arrived packed in an attractive mid-market product box inside of which was the camera itself, metal floor/surface mount with screw fittings, retaining tree mount strap, micro-USB to USB cable, User Guide. Although the camera itself is made of plastic and is rather lightweight (which is perhaps no drawback) build quality seems fine in general. The User Guide is large, reasonably well printed and in understandable English. I include key sections scanned to the end of my unboxing video. Switch to full screen and pause as needed to read it.

The camera takes four or eight AA batteries, a lot but it means it can be left to operate untended over extended periods. Take note that if used intensively the batteries will quickly run down but in normal use should last up to six months. The batteries are housed in a compartment in the main body of the unit. It has the option to use an external 6v power supply (not supplied). On the front of the device are the lends, infrared LED panel, wide angled motion sensor. On the side are clips to secure the front and rear sections of the camera, these work well but I would prefer it had they been more robust. When the clips are released the front and back of the device open out on a hinge. On the underside is a metal tripod screw and a grommet protected external power supply input. On the inside of the front face is a colour LCD screen, with navigation buttons alongside. Below is a three-way turret switch for Off/TEST/ON. On the underside of the front panel are a TF card slot (for cards up to 32GB), AV port. Fitting the tiny card can be a little tricky particularly when on site and the camera is probably best removed from the mount and inverted to make the task easier. The camera is rated IP56 which means it should withstand heavy driving rain but not water immersion.

Some trail cams just have a standard motion sensor on the front, others have front and side sensors. This one has a single sensor but it has a 120-degree wide angle view so it should be able to match the multi-sensor rivals whilst consuming less power to do so.

Although there are plenty of refinements and fine-tuning that can be made in fact the camera can be up and running very quickly with the default settings. After inserting the batteries and removing the gels covering the lens and sensors and screen, switch it to TEST mode and press the MENU button. From here you can now set the image and video resolutions, video recording lengths and other parameters such as time stamping, time lapse, scheduling etc. One particularly useful feature is that you do not have to choose between Video or Stills as you can set it to record both at once. Time should be spent on best positioning the camera for the front and side sensors and the device can help you with these using visual indications of when you are in range during setup. Remember to insert a micro-SD card first and to format it using the camera software before use.

I was pleased and not a little surprised by the photo and video quality, too often budget trail cameras fall down here by using cheap hardware to save production costs, but not so here. Image quality is excellent for both Video and stills.

This camera can be great fun if you have a big garden and wonder what goes on there when you are away. Professionals might look to pay more for higher quality and improved build quality.

The Good
Great price
Good image quality
Good build quality
Range of mounting options
Simultaneous stills and video option
Scheduling
wide-angle motion sensor
Excellent User Guide
4 or 8 battery option
Audio recording option

The Bad
Clips could be stronger
Heavy battery drain when used intensively
32GB maximum card
Fitting the memory card can be tricky

More info and purchase

GLiving DC 12V Portable Tyre Inflator Compressor with LED Lamp

We all need to have one of these. It can just sit in the boot of the car until needed and when needed it can be a lifesaver and at the very least will save messing around with the ancient foot pump we all seem to have inherited from somewhere.

In the attractive mid-market product box was the compressor itself, a water-resistant carry case, valve adapter set, User Guide. The User Guide is short but well printed and easy to read. I enclose a scan of it in my unboxing video. The device is a bit larger than some others I have seen but that is not necessarily a bad thing as it means a larger compressor pump may have been fitted and it gives space for the cables and tubing to be neatly stored within the casing. Build quality seems fine and the unit seems robust and well-made can capable of withstanding garage and roadside use.

Using it is easy enough. First turn on the engine and let it idle (to avoid battery drain), plug the device into the car power socket there is no Off/On switch, the unit powers on and the LCD screen lights up as soon as it is connected. Connect the valve securely to the tyre. Pressing any buttons sets the device to default mode with 30PSI pressure. Use the plus or minus buttons to set the desired pressure and after a three-second wait, the current tyre pressure will be displayed. Turn the switch on the compressor to start the pump which will continue until the desired tyre pressure has been reached before switching off automatically. The built-in torch, although a bit clumsy to use, can be used on a dark night to see what you are about.

That’s it. The device is easy to use. My only real criticism is that there is no separate Off/On switch and that the LCD screen is a bit small. The current Amazon price of £27.99 is not bad for the quality of the device and using it just once on a dark and wet night will make it seem a bargain indeed.

The Good
Long power lead
Waterproof case
Good instructions
LCD screen backlit

The Bad
Short Hose
Lamp hard to use
Small LCD screen
Large size
No power/Off/On switch

More info and purchase

IMATE Abdominal Muscle Toner ABS Trainer IMATE053-N

 

I already own several other EMS muscle toning sets from Echoss and was keen to add this enhanced version to my exercise kit. It is replacing an earlier and very similar model but uses rechargeable batteries rather than normal coin sized ones and replaces the remote control with more intuitive and easier to use on-device controls.

The device arrived attractively packaged and resembling more a high tech gadget than an exercise device. In many ways that is what it is as it aims to simplify and rationalise muscle toning through the application of smart new technologies. Of course, electrically stimulated muscle toners have been around for quite a while but this is the first I have seen of this type.

In the attractive and upmarket windowed display box were the large abdominal gel pad, two smaller gel pads, support belt, storage bag, two storage boards, three battery/controllers, charging cables, and a large and well-printed User Guide. I attach a scan of the most important sections to my unboxing video. Don’t through the box away, although a lightweight storage bag is provided for the gel pads no case is provided for the cables, belt and control units. However, the robust box will serve as good long-term storage box. Although we probably all have plenty of the USB adapters needed to power this device it is a pity that none were provided in the box. Keep in mind that to charge all the units at once three USB charging ports will be needed.

Using the device is simple enough. After charging the square battery/controller units via USB, carefully clip the units to the gel pads. Fit the gel pads to the body areas in need of work, pushing down carefully and holding in place for a second or so if necessary. Make sure the skin is dry, clean and sweat free first. Take care the pads are applied correctly as failure to do so can be painful when the device is turned on. Unlike with most rivals, no external gels or liquids are needed to ensure a good electrical contact but the supplied waist belt can hold the abdominal pad in place if needed.

Turn the unit on by pushing and briefly holding the power button located between the plus and minus signs on each battery unit, the button is poorly marked but can be felt easily enough, and a tone will sound to confirm it is on. It begins at intensity level zero and the level can be adjusted using the plus and minus buttons, the blue LED will indicate that you have left level zero. The device will scroll automatically through fifteen exercise modes automatically and this will take around twenty minutes in total to complete. The device will then switch off with a long beep sounding. To turn off before then long press the power button. The abs pad and the two supplementary pads need to be controlled separately and independently of each other.

It is important to remove the gel pad slowly and carefully, pulling it off roughly may damage the delicate pad. Wipe the pad with a dry cloth and then stick it carefully to the shiny side of the storage board provided in the kit. According to the User Guide at the maximum level, each charge should last around sixty cycles

It takes a bit of getting used to at first. It can be quite uncomfortable if not actually painful at first if the device is turned up too high. It is best to start at the lowest level and to work your way up over time. It goes without saying that this device will only work in conjunction with a healthy diet and at least moderate whole body exercise. This device can only be looked at as being part of an overall fitness regime.

I have not yet had the kit long enough to give a definitive answer over how well it actually works but I can say that in less than a week my upper arm muscles are certainly looking more toned and fit and my abdominal muscles certainly feel like they have been working hard and so I am hopeful for the future.

The device is not cheap, with a current Amazon price of just over £125 (cheaper than the model it replaces) but if you want toned abs this may be a very useful step towards getting them. Who can put a price on that?

The Good
Easy to use
No electrical gel needed
Attractive presentation
Storage bag for gel pads
Fifteen intensity levels
Fifteen exercise modes (according to the User Guide)

The Bad
Expensive
Needs delicate handling and storage
No storage case
No USB charging adapter provided

More info and purchase

LESHP TRue Wireless Bluetooth 4.2 Earphones S2

At one time True Wireless Earbuds were produced by just a few elite high-end manufacturers and priced accordingly. Not so now as budgets models are entering the market, some good some bad.

I have been looking around for some time for a set to use in situations when I don’t to risk losing my expensive Jabra Elite Sports set. This set has a different design to many of the others which makes it stand out from the rest.

I will use the Jabra’s as a reference point in this review, which may seem unfair but this set is good enough to stand the comparison. The packaging and presentation although not as fancy as that of the posh Jabra’s is better than the plain and ugly boxes often used for inexpensive headsets. Inside the box were the earpieces themselves, charging case, a short USB charging cable, two additional sets of transparent buds, and a User Guide. The tiny fan-fold User Guide is above average and but due to the size and poor printing almost impossible to read. I enclose a scan of the User Guide on my unboxing video.

Build quality feels fine and everything seems well made and robust. These earbuds are smaller than many I have tried and fit well inside the ear. Each has a single button and are marked Right and Left. As with most true wireless headsets, this one comes with a robust case which also charges the earbuds when inserted. This charging case is different to most as the buds click into place on either end, are secured magnetically and begin charging automatically when inserted. This is good in some respects but although they buds click in place easily enough it is possible they could come loose just as easily if pressed accidentally.

The charger has a built-in 850mAh battery which will in charge the 45mAh battery built into each earbud. The case has a larger battery capacity than in many rivals I have tried. The case has a single red LED which will flash when the case battery is running low. A full charge of the case will take about two hours. When the earbud batteries are low a voice prompt will be heard and the status LED will flash red. The red charging LED on the buds will go off after about one hour to show charging is complete, a full charge will take about an hour. The charger is itself charged through a min-USB port and unlike with most rival units the charger has an output port to allow it to charge phones or other external devices.

Pairing the earbuds was easy enough although more complicated than with Jabra’s. When using the headset in dual bud mode short press the bud buttons simultaneously and after about three seconds they will pair together. When paired then press the right button on the red/blue lights flash and then follow the usual pairing procedure on your phone. Voice prompts will confirm the pairing status. To use the device in single bud mode just long press the earpiece button until the red/blue lights flash and pair with your phone in the usual way. The buds need only be paired once and will remember the connection to your phone next time. For subsequent use just press the earbud buttons to connect and pair automatically. Once connected the Bluetooth linked seemed good although not quite so solid as the Jabra. Unlike with the Jabra, they do not automatically turn on and off when being placed in or taken from the charging case and have to be turned off and on using the buttons.

Sound quality was excellent and better by far than I was expecting. There is plenty of bass, more than I was expecting by far with mid and upper tones clear and well defined with none of the muddiness often found with budget headsets. In overall sound quality is at least equal to nontrue wireless earbuds in this price range.

The headset has a microphone and can be used to receive and make calls and when testing I found the conversation was fine and clear both ends. Calls can be muted/rejected and music can be paused by pressing the Multifunction button. Sadly, there is no way to change the audio volume or move through tracks but single click can be used to play/pause.

Battery life is good and although not equal to the Jabra have obtained four hours music playing time following a 60-minute charge. The charging case is robust and well made but holds the buds less securely than the Jabra’s and although the case looks and good and has a premium feel it lacks auto On/Off which is one of the best features of the expensive rival.

At just £36.99 this headset is a fraction of the price my high end set but gives it a run for its money as regards sound quality and features. It falls down a bit on functionality and convenience of use and of course, none of the Jabra sports features is present (not that I ever use them). If you want a decent quality True Wireless headset but do not want to pay out for a premium set then this could be a fine alternative

The Good
Good audio quality
Nice packaging
Bluetooth 4.2
Voice prompts
Good battery life
IP67 Water resistant
Voice prompts
Powerbank function
Dual and single bud use

The Bad
No auto On/Off
No volume controls
No carry bag
Poor user guide

More info and purchase

Active Noise Cancelling Wired Headphones H501 from 233621

There was a time when Active Noice Cancelling Headphones were hard to find high-end items invariably priced over £200. Not so now as generic and budget priced items are coming to the market from China and like Android TV’s and phone gimbals the price is plummeting. However, as we see here, that does not necessarily mean quality is falling too, at least not as much. Currently reduced on Amazon for just £35.99 these are the most inexpensive over-ear Active Noise Reducing (ANR) headset I have yet tried so far and in fact were much better than I expected them to be.

The headset was supplied packaged in an attractive product box inside of which was the headset, hard carry case, accessories pouch, in-line controls audio cable, standard audio cable, and User Guide. Care has been taken to the presentation as the product looks distinctly high end both before and after the box is opened. The headset is quite compact, sits over the ears and looks rather upmarket and sophisticated. The two cables are both well made if rather lightweight. The User Guide is comprehensive, nicely printed, well written and easy to read if rather unnecessary.

The headset feels light and comfortable to wear but this is certainly not headset to go jogging in. The headset feels light, not because it feels cheaply made but perhaps as a design choice. They fold completely flat for storage in the semi-rigid case provided and due to the lightweight construction and swivelling joints care will have to be taken with this headset. The headset looks upmarket and too posh to treat roughly. It is padded, although not over-generously so, on both the cups and headband and is no strain to wear even for extended periods. The cup supports which both swivel and fold are extendable and do so do so with a smooth and secure feel. The cups and frame are all robust and have a quality feel to them. The carry case is of the semi-rigid type, robust enough for day to day protection – but don’t sit on it – and large enough to easily secure the headphones cables and other bits and pieces. The accessories pouch is useful for when space is at a premium or you don’t want to take the larger carry case and keep the headset around your neck.

This is a wired headset and so there are no controls on the headset other than the Off/On switch for ANR function.The ANR feature is powered by a single AAA battery (supplied) housed in one of the earcups
Two audio cables are provided, one with in-line track controls for compatible smartphones, the other without.

The most important feature of any headset, the audio quality. I was impressed by the sound. The bass is full and rich but without being overpoweringly so. Mid tones are detailed well defined and the overall sound is very warm and comfortable. This is an above average headset for the price as regards sound quality even leaving aside the ANR features.

What about the noise reduction? Well as with every ANR headset the emphasis should be on the word reduction. No headset can fully cancel outside sounds but this one does a very decent. When I tried it in several situations it worked very well indeed. Like with them all it coped better with a low constant noise, the roar of a jet, car engines, traffic rather better than with sudden bangs or high pitched screeches. The light construction means that this headset misses out somewhat on passive noise reduction but the onboard ANR system which generates noise to cancel out external sounds is very effective. Unlike with many rivals when switching on ANR there was no major degradation in audio quality, there was a difference in the bass response and mid-tones were slightly muffled but not enough to be annoying.

This is very much a headset for travellers especially those on extended journeys. It comes with a travel kit with an airline and full-sized jack plug adapters for use on planes and these can be stored along with the cables in the supplied pouch. This headset is designed to work for up to 50 hours on standby and will operate far longer than Bluetooth rivals for this reason. Also, using just one easily obtained AA battery means replacements can be easily obtained almost anywhere and slipped into the carry case or pouch. That said, it is a pity that Bluetooth was not available as an option.

This is an excellent sounding headset, looks great too and with several should be all you need when listening on the road. The budget price coupled with the sound quality and presentation makes it a five star buy for me. A few corners have been cut to achieve this price but nothing that impinges on the key functions of the headset or in their build quality. I doubt you will find a better ANR headset for this price.

The Good
Great price
Attractive design
Good sound quality
Comfortable to wear
Fold-flat design
Good ANR function
Carry Case
Accessories pouch
In-line controls
Good packaging

The Bad
Not very robust

More info and purchase