SYOSIN Abdominal EMS Muscle Toner

Having already tried several EMS muscle toning sets from other suppliers I was keen to add this enhanced version to my exercise kit. It is replacing an earlier and very similar model but this one 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 a high tech gadget rather 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.

In the attractive but simple product box was the large abdominal gel pad, storage bag, storage board, a battery/controller, USB charging cable, 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 pad no case is provided for the cable and control unit. However, the robust box may serve as a 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 one was not provided in the box.

Using the device is simple enough. After charging the square battery/controller unit via USB, carefully clip the unit to the gel pad terminals. Fit the gel pad 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 pad is 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 although it was a pity the waist belt provided with some rivals was not included here.

Turn the unit on by pushing and briefly holding the power button located between the plus and minus signs on the 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 six 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 the end just long press the power 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 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 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 a shade under £70 (cheaper, however, than some rivals) 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
Six exercise modes (according to the User Guide)

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

More info and purchase

AYG Men’s Polar Fleece Warm Cargo Combat Pants

I am usually reluctant to order Chinese made clothes because despite ordering the correct size it seems that they seldom fit. I am not alone in this as having spoken to others about this it seems to be a common phenomenon. Nevertheless, spurred on by the low £25.99 price and the appearance in the photos I decided to take a chance.

I was very pleased that I did. Firstly, although a little long in the leg (I had to get a 33″ leg rather than my preferred 31″ due to my vast waist size) they are a perfect fit. They feel comfortable, commodious and secure around the waist. The trousers are lined throughout and feel very warm. They will be perfect for winter walks, fishing and other outdoor pursuits. The only minor annoyance is that the belt pictured is not included although the description does make that clear.

The trousers have eight button secured pockets plus a curious fake zip pocket at the front. There are drawstrings around the ankles so they can more securely be worn with boots or gaiters. The interior felt like interior lining is warm and soft to the skin and securely stitched in place, All the seams and stitching appears secure and well made with no loose ends or knotting. These trousers seem very heavy duty and hopefully should last for years.

If you need a pair of well made and heavy duty winter trousers for walks or country activities then these would be a great choice at a very reasonable price.

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Campark ACT68 2.7K wifi Sports Action Camera

This new action camera from Campark currently available at just £35.99 must be one of the least expensive I have seen although GoPro clone prices seem to be in freefall right now. At one time a camera like this would have been on sale for over £100 but those times are long gone.

My unboxing video shows that you certainly get a lot for your money. The packaging used is straightforward, attractive and robust. My camera came with a what seems a large number of mounts, clips and fixing kits of all shapes and sizes but with little indication of what they actually do. All the basic mounts you need are included as well as quite a few more and including two batteries but it is a pity no SD card could have been included. They are cheap enough these days and to do this would not add greatly to the cost and would allow the camera to be used straight from the box. The included User Guide is well above average and is large enough and sufficiently well printed to be easy to read and actually useful. I attach a copy of it to my unboxing video. Run the video full frame and pause when needed to read it.

The camera itself is actually rather better than I expected. Video quality is just fine, within the limitations of the camera resolution. The 170° angle of view is great but with the barrel distortion common to all cameras of this type. There was a time when this would have been seen as a high-end camera and now standards are moving higher even in the budget market. This camera does a perfectly decent quality FHD (1920 x 1080 ) but at what seems like a stately 30fps. To get the 60fps most users look for now you have to drop the resolution to 720p. There is no option for 4K recording or full slow motion. It does support 2.7K@30fps(2688×1520)resolution, a step up from basic 1080P and a ‘High Speed’ mode of 720P@90fps. Similarly, we are told it is waterproof to 30M, which is good, but there is no mention if this means it is rated IP68 or what. For serious underwater use, this is an important omission. It offers wifi for basic controls and limited video streaming but this does not interest me as personally, I find this can be more trouble than it is worth and is a novelty that soon wears off. There is no G-Sensor or Motion detection so the camera cannot be used as a dashcam or for security purposes but again for me, this is no issue as I have yet to see am action camera actually used for this purpose successfully.

Operating the camera is easy enough. Power On/Off by long pressing the button on the camera front. Scroll between, Video, Picture, Slow motion and Settings by short pressing the front button. Use the Up/Down buttons on the side and the OK button on the top to change options with the front button to change between screens.

Results are fine if you do not ask too much of this budget camera. Still images are good and sharp at full resolution although some extreme highlights may flare and in general, the results are a bit insipid looking but can be brightened up nicely with software. Video at the 2.7K or 1080P is good and sharp and in fact brighter and more saturated than in stills mode. The results from this camera are fine for the budget price.

On balance I would say this is a decent entry-level action camera that fulfils all the basic and essential needs of a sports camera. Points would be knocked off had the price been much higher however due to doubts about the build quality of the accessories and the limited functions. I would expect to see this price fall again as better specced cameras enter the market.

This is a decent quality entry level action cam and if you enjoy using it you may want to shell out more in the future for a high-end model.

 

The Good
Good video quality
Fits GoPro mounts
170° Angle of view
Standard tripod screw mount
Full range of standard accessories included
Two batteries supplied
2.7K@30fps
Wifi

The Bad
No SD card included
No 60fps FHD
No 4K
No motion detection
No Car Mode

More info and purchase

Senwow 1080P Dash Cam CT606A With 16GB Card

This attractive new dashcam from Senwow arrived nicely presented in a simple but stylish box. Inside was the camera itself, long USB car power cable, short USB cable, suction cup mount, sticky mount base, cord clip set, 16GB micro USB card (prefitted), USB card reader and User Guide. The User Guide is nicely designed compared to those usually supplied and well printed in colour. I attach a scanned and edited copy to my unboxing video. Switch to full screen and pause as needed to read it.

Insurance fraud is on the rise and one way of protecting yourself from driving-related scams is to install a dashcam. Dashcams such as this one are positioned discreetly pointing forwards through the front window and record all your driving activity. The dashcam turns on automatically when the car is started and off again a short time after the engine is turned off. It records continuously in short recordings onto a memory card that seamlessly dovetails together when played back. When the card is full the camera records over the oldest recording. A good camera will have a built-in G-Sensor which automatically records impacts and locks that file against overwriting.

The camera is larger than most and has a 3″ screen, a size few others equal but the larger size makes it more difficult to mount the camera discreetly. The camera attaches to the windscreen with the supplied suction mount and in my tests, this worked well. Like most cameras this one has a built-in battery which is designed only to allow the device to power down safely and to give short-term coverage should the car power supply fail in the event of a crash. For normal operation, it should always be powered from the car power port or USB socket. The camera has a speaker and microphone which is useful for an incident if you have the presence of mind to observe and announce number plates or external events not captured by the camera. The dashcam has a G-sensor, a must for any dashcam, which will ensure that impacts or other events are not overwritten by other recordings on the card. The camera takes a micro SD card of up to 32GB to record onto and you must get a good quality high-speed card. Class 10 is best if a card is too slow the camera will not be able to write to it properly. A good quality 16GB card comes pre-installed.

The camera lacks a GPS sensor, a disadvantage for some users but not for me as I found watching my journey on the map is a novelty that soon wears off. Also, should your device fall into the hands of the police after a crash they will be able to note and use against you any previous speed infringements or driving errors caught by the GPS. The User Guide does mention using an external GPS sensor and one can be connected to the AV port. However, like many budget dashcams, this one does have an annoying LED night light which may cause glare on the windscreen and reduce visibility if turned on.

Video results are good for the price and it offers multiple resolution levels. At the maximum FHD resolution of 1080p@30fps, which is about the minimum capable of producing worthwhile results for a dashcam, the picture is good but not outstanding. Several looping time lengths are available and I suggest 3 minutes for best results. The built G-Sensor trigger will lock and the flag the current video file if an impact is detected.

The camera offers Parking Guard, triggered by the G-Sensor or microphone which sets the camera recording even when the power cable is disconnected to catch vandals etc but the system latency means you usually miss them. You can also set up alerts through the Motion Detector when the car is parked but for this, the power supply must be left connected and a special hard wire kit may be needed to give achieve this.

This is an entry level dashcam and priced as such but provides all you need from a dashcam plus some extras besides. Video quality is fine for the price and for the current low price this is an excellent buy.

The Good
FHD video 1920×1080@30fps
Microphone
G-Sensor
Auto on/auto off
Attractive design
Large bright screen
140-degree wide angle lens
Still image mode
Parking Mode
Parking Guard Mode
Motion Detection
Memory card supplied
Good User Guide

The Bad
No GPS sensor
No memory card supplied
No GPS option
Annoying Night Vision light
No HDMI port

More info and purchase

 

 

 

Fifine UHF Wireless Lavalier Microphone (K031)

A lavalier microphone is a small microphone used for television, theatre, and public speaking applications in order to allow for hands-free operation and this is an excellent example of it.

The new £37.99 Lavalier microphone set from Ffine, a company with a reputation for producing good quality microphones and related equipment at budget prices, arrived presented in a very attractive upmarket product box robust enough for long-term storage of the device.

Inside the box is the small Cardioid microphone itself with a prefitted but removable pop filter and lapel clip, the transmitter with fixing clip, a USB dongle receiver, two AA batteries, Mini XLR cable to connect microphone and transmitter, 3.5mm jack to 3.5mm jack audio cable. Also included is a well written and comprehensive fanfold User Guide nicely printed in colour. I enclose a scan of it on the end of my unboxing video.

This kit comes with a USB dongle receiver and so is designed for use with computers and laptops, perhaps for presentations, podcasts, and Skype rather than for broadcast, radio work or with a smartphone or other portable recording unit. The transmitter has a clip so it can be secured to the belt or back pocket and takes two AA batteries (supplied. It has a small recessed Off/On button on top and a similar button below the LCD frequency display screen. The USB dongle receiver connects to the computer and has a 3.5mm mini-jack output socket for output to a speaker or analogue recording device. Note that the transmitter and receiver have to be within line of site for best results.

To operate connect the microphone to the transmitter after first connecting the dongle to the PC and allowing Windows to install any drivers needed and then enabling your choice of software audio application. Turn the transmitter on by long pressing the top button and the receiver should connect automatically. In the event of poor reception, triple click the button below the LCD screen to change frequencies by 5MHz within the 672.5-684.5 range. Take note that if you plan to use the audio output cable from the dongle to an external speaker you may need to plug the dongle into a Powerbank as the USB port on the speaker may lack sufficient power to drive it.

I was very happy with the audio quality of my tests. It was interference free with a clean and detailed signal. Not quite up studio quality but that is to be expected with this sort of equipment.

This is an excellent hands-free microphone system for home or presentation work. If you need a system for stage or studio work then Ffine also produce the very similar model KO37 which has a powered receiver unit with jack connection.

More info and purchase

Mornwell D50 Electric Water Flosser

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

In the attractive mid-market product box was the flosser itself, an induction charging base with two pin plug, a set of two colour coded heads, and a User Guide. The User Guide is large, well printed and easy to read and I enclose a scan of it in my unboxing video.

Build quality seems fine for the price and I was pleased to see a proper shaver point plug was included as many of the imported rivals come with a three pin plug illegal for bathroom use.

Using the device is easy enough. On the front are two large buttons, one for power Off.On, the other to toggle through the three cleaning modes: standard, soft and massage (pulsating). There are LED lights to indicate the selected mode and the pitch of the motor varies in intensity between modes so you easily know which is selected. The device will switch off after two minutes if the current mode is not changed. The mode selection lights are also used to indicate charging: flashing when charging, solid when charging completely.

As a long-term user of these devices I was pleased with the power of the device, often battery powered flossers can only manage a rather feeble flow, not so here. I usually use it in standard mode and switch to soft or massage modes for the gums. The 150ml water tank is more than enough for a cleaning session and can be quickly refilled from the tap. One battery charge is enough for a couple of weeks of normal use.

This is an excellent device, works well, and compares well to similar units from high-end rivals.

The Good
Good price
Cleaning works well
Quiet in use
Three cleaning modes

The Bad
No carry bag
Only two heads

More info and purchase

Zolo Liberty+ True Wireless Earphones

I backed these True Wireless Earbuds ages ago on Kickstarter at a time when TW Headsets were hard to find and expensive. In fact whilst waiting for the Liberty+ to materialise I bought the £220 Jabra Elite Sport True Wireless Headset with which, I must say, I have been very pleased. There is less expensive version lacking a few high-end features such as Bluetooth 5 but the Liberty+ is the flagship.

At first sight, the Liberty+ buds do remind me of the Jabra’s. The earbuds themselves are very similar in form factor (yes, other TW buds are sometimes different) but feel much lighter in the ear. Even the packaging puts me in mind of the Jabra and they come with the same range of accessories: three additional sets of tips/wings, Charging cable, User Guide etc. The Charging Case although basically the same feels a bit more upmarket and is made of metal rather than plastic. However, getting the buds in and out is much more difficult with the Liberty+ as both the buds and case are hard to get a firm grip on. Maybe I will get used to it with time.

Like the Jabra, the buds have an associated app which performs many of the same functions. The various customizations of the buds can be set from the app rather than by a rather complex code of taps to one bud or the other. From the app, you can turn the ambient sound mic on/off, check battery level, set some rather basic EQ presets, etc. It lacks the heart rate monitor and sports features of the Jabra but they are a bit flaky at the best of times.

Sound quality is not bad, as with all TW headsets it lacks Dr Dre style booming bass but reproduces mid and high tones with detail and clarity. The sound is very similar to the Jabra in that respect. This headset support Bluetooth 5 and is the first device I have been able to pair with my Bluetooth 5 OnePlus 5T phone. It paired quickly and easily with a rock solid connection.

I am not sure what the final price of this wil be but I think it will be in the $150 range and no doubt the same in UK pounds. This is significantly cheaper than the high-end rivals. I am not sure that I will swap these over for my the Jabra’s as my walking/running goto headsets but I am seriously tempted.

More info and purchase