Paladou Lavalier Lapel Microphone

This attractive little microphone set is designed for use with Apple or Android phones but is supplied with an adapter that should make it work with most phone or camera types. However, be aware that it will not work with all Android phone models, there are a few older models it will not function with and these are listed at the microphone’s Amazon web page. It should work with the default Android videorecording app but if does not the manufacturer suggest using the ‘Open Camera’ app, available from the Android store.

Inside the rather simple plain unbranded box was the microphone itself, an 79″ extension cable,  PC cable adapter, two wind muffs, a semi-rigid carry case, and a well written and easy to read User Guide. Build quality for the kit seems fine with noting looking likely to fail anytime soon if properly handled. The omnidirectional microphone is robust, made of metal with a fixed clothing clip. The carry case is decent quality and although far from bulletproof it should keep the mic and cable set organised and safe for normal day to day use.

I tested it with OnePlus Android phone and it worked fine. I also tested with my PC and although the sound inferior to that from my far more expensive studio camera I found the results to be perfectly acceptable bearing mind the price.

This microphone set would be a boon to those making selfie videos and podcasts as clipping the camera to the subject will reduce extraneous noise doubly so if the wind muff is fitted when outdoors.  Most rivals do not come with the lengthy extension cable that this does, which is easily long enough to allow the mic to be clipped to the user when the camera or phone is on a selfie stick or tripod. The whole kit can be stored neatly in the case which in turn is small enough to be easily tucked away inside a camera case or pocket. The current Amazon price of  £18.88 makes this an attractive buy indeed.

The Good
Good Price
Good Build Quality
79″ Extension Cable

Good User Guide

The Bad
Audio Could Be Better

CDC DIGI BF-888S 5w 16ch Walkie Talkies 2-Pack

I have the £21.99 two handset version but this product can also be bought in packs of four, six, eight and ten handsets.

Unlike others I have reviewed in the past this set is no toy and is designed for serious commercial use.  This is reflected in the appearance and sober design of the units.  In fact, this is a decent quality entry level radio transceiver kit that can be used in a variety of situations.

In the small but well designed branded product box were the two radios, two wrist straps, two belt clips, two headsets, two antennas,  two battery packs, and a well printed and easy to read User guide. Some other reviewers have complained about the build quality of the accessories, but they all seem OK to me so far.

The antenna screws in place on top of each 150g 115x60x33mm handset and the JL-11 1500mAh Li-ion battery clicks in place at the rear with a quick release button on the base. The belt clip is held in place with two small screws on the rear of the handset. On the top of the handset next to the antenna are the click-stop rotary channel select dial and volume control. Below that on the front of the unit are the white flashlight LED (used to identify nearby handsets at night) and a red/green talk status LED. On one side is a grommet protected headset port and on the other the Press To Talk button with below it the Function and Monitor buttons. Also on the front is the microphone opening. Each handset also comes with a separate battery charger which serves as a stand for the handset to keep it charged when not in use. The charger units are USB powered using a standard hard-wired plug although no mains power adapter is provided. The included headset hooks over the ear and is a bit big and clunky and does the job but it is no thing of beauty and uses a non-standard plug, so a normal mobile phone headset cannot be used.

Operating the set is easy enough and in fact, my set worked straight from the box with no configuration needed other inserting the batteries. Switch the unit on with the Volume knob, you will hear a beep and voice prompt. Rotate the channel knob and a voice will announce the current channel number with channel sixteen used to scan for nearby active handsets. Pressing the Monitor button allows background noise to be heard, release the button to cancel. The Function button turns the torch on and off.  When a channel had been selected press the PTT button to call the remote handset on the selected channel. The status LED shows red when transmitting and green when receiving.

There are more advanced features available. For example, to turn voice prompts off, set to channel 10 and press the PTT and Monitor buttons before switching the handset on. You can also use VOX mode to use voice detection to switch from transmit to receive without using the PTT button but this only works when using the headset and is probably more trouble than it is worth. There are several other more arcane features which most users will probably never need to use. More advanced still users can download industry standard software to modify and change the options preset in the handset software but that is not something I would wish to attempt.

For such a low price it is inevitable that corners have been cut. This has been done not at the expense of the features of the walkie talkie set but rather by not including some non-essential add-ons. That means there are no cases included, no mains adapter and only the supplied headset will work.

The range is said to be up to three miles over a line of sight flat surface but far less in built-up areas. I have not tested these limits but can confirm that it works for me all around the house and garden and to a nearby field about a mile away. That is enough for my needs, anything more and I would use my mobile phone.

This is a good quality entry level transceiver kit, works well and is easy to use. Build quality seems fine for the price with the only corners cut being in the area of non-essential accessories.  This would be a great buy for those who need to keep in touch locally, farmers, builders, events organisers, security teams etc. The budget price makes it well worth giving it a try.

The Good
Great Price
Good Build Quality
16 Channels
Easy to Operate

PTT/Voice Options

The Bad
No Protective Cases
Non-standard headset port.
Not Waterproof

No Status LCD Screen

Ansharinc EMS Hips Trainer

 

I already have a perfect bum, everyone knows that, but for the rest of you out there this new little device from Ansharinc may be just what you need to keep your own in shape or help exchange it for a new one.

The device arrived simply but 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 one of the first I have seen of this type and at such a low price.

In the colourfull display box were the lower back gel pad holder,  the controller and a large, well printed but poorly translated read User Guide. I attach a scan of it to my unboxing video. Don’t throw the box away, as no storage bag is provided and you will need to keep the device somewhere and keep the gel pads moist when not using it. Build quality is not premium but is fine for the price and nothing looks likely to fail anytime soon.

The way this device works is simple enough and very similar to that of TENS machines widely used for pain relief and other medical therapies. With the controller clipped in place the device is attached to the skin and the two electrode pads it contains cause the muscles beneath to alternately contract and relax in predetermined patterns set by the controller unit. This tightens and firms the muscles to give a firmer and more clearly defined profile to the buttocks and lower back.

Using the device is simple enough.  Fit the gel pads to the body, 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.  Remember to replace the peel-off cover to the gel pads after use to keep it sticky. After multiple uses, the pads may dry out and lose their stickiness and conductivity but gel pad fluid can be easily and cheaply obtained online as can replacement pads.

Turn the unit on by pushing and briefly holding the Power/Increase button in the middle of the controller and the  LED will turn on. It begins at intensity level zero and the level can be adjusted from one to ten using the Power/Increase and Off/Decrease and minus buttons. The device will scroll automatically through six exercise modes automatically or users can select the desired mode using the PROGRAM button and this will take around twelve minutes in total to complete. The LED display shows the currently active mode. The device will then switch off. To turn off before then long press the Power/Increase button.

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 replace the plastic protecting film. You may need to moisten it again before the next use.

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 had the device long enough to test its effectiveness. I have a glamorous friend with a pert posterior better even than mine and I will ask her if she can test the device over a longer period. I will update the review if she has anything unusual to report.

With a current Amazon price of £11.99, this device is certainly well priced and although this reflected in the build quality and lack of accessories nevertheless you have all you need to give EMS training a try. Anyway, a good bum is a jewel beyond price.

The Good
Great Price
Easy to use
Uses Standard AAA Batteries
No electrical gel needed
Ten intensity levels

Six exercise modes

The Bad
No Storage Bag
Needs delicate handling and storage
Gel pads need replacing or renewing  periodically

Poorly Translated User Guide

Azhien 5W Recessed Ceiling Spotlights

This six-piece downlighter set from Azhien seems to me to be aimed at the professional or high end of the market despite the low price of £34.99.

The kit arrived in a well labelled and nicely designed product box with all the important information about the contents clearly given. Inside were the six separately bagged downlights each with 13 cm of two core cable attached and a small but nicely printed and well-designed User Guide.

Build quality could really not get better as each of the weighty and heavy duty 5w 400 lumens LED  lights are made of aluminium alloy and feels like a quality piece of high-end kit. Each light has a 120°beam angle of coverage with the light unit being able to pivot up to 40 ° within its mount. The LED’s are good and bright and should be able to cope with high ceilings and large floor spaces. The lights are warm white and rated at 2700 Kelvin. However, take note that they are not dimmable. One major selling point for me as they are designed to work directly with UK mains power with no transformer needed.

Fitting them is pretty much as with most other units of this type but be aware that at 10gm each these professional levels units are heavier than many lesser rivals, so a secure fit is needed.  To fit each unit a circular hole of 75mm diameter must be made and ensure you have a working depth of at least 40mm on the other side.  The light unit is itself 25mm thick, so the more working space the better. After connecting and testing the wiring to each light the unit can just be carefully pushed through the holes with the metal retaining clips expanding to hold it in place.

This a superior product that is well made, very functional and nicely presented. When properly fitted it should give years of service for a very reasonable price.

The Good
Great Build Quality
Great price
IP44 Water Resistant
No Transformer Needed
Bright, Warm White

40 ° adjustable Pivot

The Bad

Not Dimmable

FITFORT Alarm Clock/Radio Wake Up Light

 

I have already tried one or two wake-up lights and they have all tended to be variations on the same basic design. This new model from FITFORT has a new design and a few extra features and at £28.99 will not break the bank.

The unit arrived packaged in a moderately attractive display box but lacked the stylish and expensive presentation of some high-end rivals. Inside was the lamp itself, a short USB power cable, UK power adaptor,  and a User Guide. Build quality is excellent for the price and the lamp looks quite stylish and attractive without the flimsy feel of cheaper rivals.  The User Guide is large and easy to read and makes a pleasant change from the tiny poorly printed manuals so often received.

The unit stands upright with the top two-thirds of the large front facing taken up by the lighting panel and the rest by the digital clock display. Along the top of the unit are an at first rather intimidating array of buttons but most of these are needed only to configure the device. Once the timer, light, and alarm sounds are set all you need to think about is the snooze button. On the base are a large anti-slip pad and the backup battery access panel. The permanently connected trailing antenna at the rear is ugly but I suppose is easy enough to conceal.

Setting the device up is reasonably easy and aided the lack of too many annoying dual function buttons. When configured you have the option to be awoken by a combination of a slowly increasing simulated daylight and sounds from using either of the two separate alarms. You can choose between seven soft ambient sounds or the FM radio. For each alarm, you can set separate alarm time, light intensity and alarm sound volume.  It is a pity the Snooze and Radio buttons were not larger and easier to find in the dark.

The device functions well as a reading lamp and has a choice of seven colours should you want them. You can choose between twenty levels of brightness and the seven colour presets. The default white is a warm and relaxing one, however. It has a built-in FM tuner which will auto remember up to sixty stations. The built-in speaker is pretty OK but not fantastic but I doubt many people will spend time listening to it and perhaps that makes all the more effective as an alarm clock. One nice bonus is that the device has a USB socket on the rear which can charge your phone as you sleep.

This device looks nice once set up and is quite stylishly designed. It performs all the basic features well enough and works well as an incremental wake-up alarm clock and bedside lamp. The build quality although perfectly acceptable is on the cheap side and certainly cannot compare to my Philips unit – but that cost more than four times the price of this one.

The Good
Great price
Attractive lighting options
Nature sounds
Battery operation mode
Good User Guide
Dawn simulation wake up mode

Twenty Brightness Levels

The Bad
Ugly trailing radio antenna
Radio button poorly located

Snooze and Radio Buttons Too Small

Vebach Qi Certified Wireless Charging Pad

 

This rather chunky but distinctly upmarket looking Qi-Certified wireless charger from Vebach arrived impressively presented in a low key but rather posh product box. Inside the Apple style box was the charger itself, a medium length USB to micro-USB cable, a thin black pad, and a better than average but essentially unneeded User Guide.

Build quality seems first rate. The metal-bodied  97mm diameter 178g charging pad appears well made and robust with a high gloss finish to the pad and stainless steel look to the bezel and 10.9mm deep sides. It has a micro-USB port on the side along with a single blue status LED. It is a pity that in the new USB-C interface could not have been used at least as an option.

Unlike many low-end rivals, this charger is fully Qi certified which hopefully means the power output is correct and as promised. It has three charging modes which are automatically selected according to the device attached: 10W, 7.5W or 5W. Take note that to get the advantage of the higher speeds a QC2.0 or better power adapter must be used. The one that came with the phone being charged should be suitable. You will see from my video that it also works with other devices, such as my Motorola smartwatch. The LED shows you the mode in use: flashes for three seconds when first plugged in, for thirty seconds when charging begins and then turns off,  sustained flashing indicates an error. It has built-in overheating and over-charge protection.

Currently priced at £21.99 (plus a 6% Amazon checkout discount at the time of writing)  this is is a mid-priced high-speed charger with a distinctly upmarket look and feel to it. If you have a wireless charging phone or other devices this would be a nice addition to your desktop.

The Good
Good Price
Great Build Quality
Up Market Looks
Attractive Packaging

Auto Selected Charging Modes

The Bad
No USB-C

No USB adapter included

Fairywill 3 Mode Rotary Toothbrush (FW-2209

 

I have tried several toothbrushes from Fairywill and have always found to be excellent quality and well priced although all of them very similar with only minor changes in specifications to distinguish one from another. This new model, however, is distinctly different from the rest.

The toothbrush arrived nicely packaged in a mid-market display box inside of which aside from the toothbrush was a spare head, a rather basic looking but stable charging stand fitted with a two pin EU bathroom plug. Some imported brushes come with a three-pin UK plug, illegal for bathroom use but not so here. A well written and easy to read User Guide was also included and I append this to my unboxing video. Having become accustomed to the tiny, badly written poorly printed and hard to read User Guides found with so many imported products it was a pleasure to find an instruction booklet of a decent size, nicely printed, well illustrated and written by a someone that actually understands English.

The build quality seems excellent and although this is not a high-end device and feels rather less premium to me than others in the Fairywill range, nevertheless the toothbrush feels robust and sturdy and is satisfyingly chunky and easy to hold in the hand.  The head is of the rotary type with nylon bristles and makes a not unpleasant buzz when in use.  It is rated IPX7 waterproof which means it can survive being dropped in the bath.

Using the toothbrush was fine. After an initial 24 hours, full charge the toothbrush worked fine in all three brushing modes (Clean, Sensitive and Massage)selected by the single large button with a single status light confirming operation below although the sound varies from mode to mode for easy confirmation.  One twelve hour charge should give up to thirty days of daily use.

The brush felt good in the hand and was nice and quiet in use.  I am more accustomed to square-headed sonic toothbrushes but this rotary design which gives 8800 oscillations per minute felt reassuringly positive in use. My mouth felt just as clean and refreshed after use as with the more expensive brush I usually use. Of course, it has the usual two-minute timer with 30-second alerts.

This is a first-rate budget toothbrush, well priced and well made, that works excellently, is easy to use and looks good in the bathroom. The current Amazon price of just £25.99 makes it a sensible and well-priced buy.

The Good
Good price
Robust build quality
Three modes
Auto Timer
EU Bathroom plug fitted
Good User Guide

Three week use per Charge

The Bad
Only two brushes included
No travel case