icyant Digital Multimeter Kit

I have tested several multimeters before but this new one from icyant is the first fully digital model I have tried and for the £27.99 price I was rather impressed by it.

In the rather minimalist box was the multimeter itself, a silicone protective case, test lead set, temperature probe and a comprehensive if rather poorly translated user guide. Everything seems well made and robust enough to withstand extended home and workshop use.

The multimeter is dominated by the large 5″ LCD screen which takes up almost the entire front face of the device with the three probe ports on the bottom, a power button on the top and two control buttons on the side. On the back is the access panel for the two AAA batteries (supplied) and a small but powerful LED torch. Single press the top side button for data retention, long press to turn on and off the flashlight and screen backlighting. Single press the lower button to change and select functions, long press to enter NCV mode.

The unit offers no less than 15 test and status modes with an accuracy count of up to 6000 with audible feedback and custom screen displays. It can monitor and test AC voltage (with red screen alert), DC voltage, temperature, Diode measurement, capacitance, resistance, DC current, AC current, zero line identification, firewire detection (with red screen alert). It can also do NCV detection to locate hidden live cables. Voltage testing is for up 600v, AC or DC.

The meter is simple and easy to use either at home or at work. The screen is large, bright and easy to read in the most adverse conditions. Although robust and well made of necessity care will; have to be taken with the LCD screen which is bound to be more vulnerable than those on an old-style multimeter, but that is to be expected.

This is a well designed and easy to use device available at a very attractive price.

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BBTWO Solar Fountain Pump

Reduced in price to just £7.99 you should not expect too much from this new solar pump from BBTWO but in fact, within its limitations, it worked rather well. I have tried quite a few solar water pumps in the past and most worked OK in bright sunlight they all went off when the sun went in and came with small and easily lost spray nozzles and yes this one is pretty much the same although it produces a better and more powerful jet and is considerably cheaper.

In the plain and unbranded product box were the fountain itself, four spray pattern heads, one short extension tube, one long extension tube, a single jet nozzle, and a well written user guide covering this and several other fountain models. Build quality is entirely of plastic but seems robust enough.

The 160 mm circular floating water fountain is designed to sit in your pond or large birdbath producing a fountain of water as high as 70 cm into the air on sunny days. As with all solar fountains, best results especially when using the fountain tube extenders will need good sunshine and although I would take the 70cm claim with a pinch of salt, I would say that on a good 50 cm plus is perfectly possible.

On the underside of the solar panel is the pump unit and water level sensor along with three suction feet to secure it when not floating free. On the top, it has the pump outlet and solar panel array. The unit has a small water outlet stub on the top to which the outlet head and extension tubes in a range of combinations can be attached. The higher the tube projects above the pump then the more power is needed to raise the water and will give a more dramatic effect on sunny days. In shaded or overcast locations then a shorter stub extension or the simple spray head will produce longer lasting and more reliable effects.

Setting the device up is simple enough. There are no controls or switches to set, the pump just starts up when it detects water and sunlight and stops when it does not. When the water levels gets low or the water inlet is blocked the pump will cease working after fifteen seconds. After replenishing the water or clearing the blockage cover the solar panel for a few seconds and then uncover them to allow it to start working. You may have to experiment to determine which combination of tubes and heads works best for your location: a smaller tube set should work longer in reduced sunshine but in a sunny location a more dramatic effect may be achieved with the spray head fully extended. If all you need is to keep the water agitated in the pond with a bubbling effect from the pump then no tubes or heads are needed.

Build quality seems OK for the price but due to the nature of the floating product is lightweight and entirely from ABS plastic. The pump should work untended but from time to time it will be necessary to clean the water inlet on the underside and in fact for best results this should be done on a regular basis.

For the current Amazon price this will be an excellent addition to your pond or birdbath. Taking the time to position it correctly and with the optimum combination of spray heads will give excellent results If you really like it you may wish to pay more for a more robust unit with a rechargeable battery to allow operation when the sun goes in.

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Govicture PC730 Outdoor Security Camera

The PC730 camera from Govicture, which bears more than a passing resemblance to the excellent PC730 from Victure, is compact, attractively designed, easy to configure over Wifi or Ethernet and offers very decent video quality along with a well designed and simple to use Android and iOS app.

In the box are the camera itself, UK power supply, cable connector set, screw-in antenna, wall/ceiling mount with screws and plugs, and a nicely printed and well-written User Guide. Although lightweight, build quality seems fine and the camera has an attractive and modern design. It has a silk white plastic finish but the build quality seems good. On the front is the lens with Night Vision LEDs, a multi-coloured LED to show Wifi and power status and the microphone opening. On the underside is the grommet protected access panel for the micro-SD card. On the rear is the pigtail three cable array with a reset button, power connector and Ethernet port and optional wifi antenna.

Although it has a budget price, compact design and simple design I was pleased to see that unlike many rivals this camera has an ethernet interface as well as wifi. It is always better to go with an ethernet cable connection to the router as this gives a faster and more stable signal as well as making for an easier initial setup. The optional wifi antenna can be left off for a neater look when ethernet is used. The excellent Android and iOS app offers a simple walkthrough connection of both wifi and ethernet connections.

The first thing to do is to download and install the IPC360 app, I tested using the Android app with a wifi connection. You have to register the app before use but doing so is free and you can use a disposable email address to do so. Take note to ensure the phone used to configure the camera is connected to a 2.4Ghz network, not 5Ghz. After installing and registering the app and plugging in the camera follow the in-app instructions to add a new camera. After inputting your home wifi details the app automatically and very quickly sends this to the camera which then connects automatically to the wifi network. The app can be used to control multiple cameras across the Govicture and Victure range. Unlike with older cameras, there is no web-based interface so you cannot connect directly to the camera using your web browser.

This model has a clean 1080P image quality which is clearly not the upscaled 720p of some lesser rivals. Video quality from the 110° wide-angle lens is one of the best I found for this price bracket. Unlike with older budget security cameras, this one boasts an i/r cut filter which when not needed removes the nighttime infrared filter to ensure good colour fidelity daytime images. It supports two-way audio which means it serves well as a general-purpose communications Monitor.

Like most rivals, this camera has motion detection but sadly does not offer detection zones or object tracking. The lack of audio in/out ports means external hardware cannot be used to improve the rather feeble audio quality. The camera is rated IP65 weatherproof which means it should be fine with anything short of water immersion.

The camera has the option to save video and audio within the app as well as to the SD card or to an optional cloud connection, which starts at just £14.99 per year. If you use an SD card (none is provided) make sure you use a Class 10 or better card – the card must be able to cope with the high-speed data stream from the camera otherwise the results will be jittery and poor. A card of up to 64GB can be used.

Video saved to an SD card is encrypted which means it can only be viewed within the app. It may be that I have got this wrong but I was unable to read any of the recorded files on my PC directly from the card.

This is a high-quality security camera capable of excellent results. The £53.80 price is not the cheapest but good for the features on offer and allows me to overlook the lack of a web-based User Interface and the lack of access to SD card files.

The Good
Stylish design
Night Vision
Motion Detection
In-app real-time push alerts
Two-way audio
SD card slot
Good Video Quality
Supports Amazon Alexa

The Bad
No Direct Access To SD card Video
No 5Ghz wifi support
No audio output port
No audio in port
No Web Interface

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SUWITU 30ft 60 LED Solar String Lights

I have always enjoyed the globe string lights but so far all the many sets I have tested have been available in warm white only. At last here is a set that is multi coloured and with a few other features, I have not seen before too.

The lights arrived in a fairly nondescript brown box but at least they all fitted in there well enough and with enough space that I was able to get them back in there again afterwards. In the box was the 60 globe 9.1M light string, the 8.6 x 8.6 cm combined solar panel and battery pack, two piece garden mounting spike, a USB charging cable, a USB operating cable and a well written and easy to read user guide. Although plastic has been used throughout, build quality seems robust enough and at IP65 water-resistant hopefully, the UK weather should be no problem for it.

Aside from the coloured globes, the main selling point for this lighting set is the versatility of use. It comes with a combined 1800mAh MINH battery pack and 17% energy conversion rate solar panel but over winter or on overcast days the solar battery pack can be disconnected and taken indoors to be charged using the supplied USB charging cable. A ground spike is supplied for use with the solar panel to keep it off the ground and orientated towards the sun. For regular indoor use, the solar battery pack can be removed entirely and replaced by the second USB cable in the kit which features an inline mode selector button. The lights are slightly brighter when USB powered than in solar mode.

There are just two buttons on the solar battery pack: one for Power and the other to scroll through the eight lighting modes on offer. The modes are: Steady On, Combination, Waves, Sequence, Slow Glow, Chasing, Slow Fade, and Twinkle. When direct USB power is used the single button on the USB plug scrolls through the modes.

The lights look great and catch the eye more than the normal warm white ones, which may or may not be to your taste and to me are better suited to garden rather than indoor use, but that may just be me.

Currently priced at £16.89 they are slightly dearer than the plain white rivals but the coloured globes and choice of power modes to me more than makes up for it. If you need a versatile and colourful set of features lights, then this might be just for you.

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Lovemist Mens Boxer Shorts 5 Pack

This set of five boxer shorts from Lovemist priced at £27.99 are not the least expensive I have seen but they do feel better made with a quality feel to them the cheaper rivals lack.

In the reusable ziplock storage bag were the five boxer shorts in a range of patterns. I received pale blue, blue/green/white checked, blue/red/white checked, green/blue checked, blue/ehite checked.

The shorts are made from 100% cotton and feature a 2 button flue and elasticated waistband. The quality feels excellent, the shorts are heavier than others I have worn and have a substantial feel to them. The stitching along the seams and waistband is well made, accurate and free from any hanging threads or loose ends. Again, the shorts do have a quality and rather an upmarket feel to them.

Unlike with many other imported garments here, the sizing seems pretty accurate. I ordered Large and they fitted as I expected they would and for once there was no need to order a size up from the measuring chart.

The shorts can be machine washed at 30C and should be drip-dried to keep the material feeling natural and avoiding shrinkage.

Wearing them I found to be a pleasant and comfortable enough experience with no uncomfortable seams or roughness. There is plenty of the necessary support without any feeling of constriction.

Although you cannot really go on too much about boxer shorts but I am very happy with these, they fit well and feel comfortable to wear. That is really all you can ask from them.

Although not the cheapest out there I feel these are still a pretty decent buy.

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MACTREM 10″Folding Ring Light Kit

Ring lighting is widely used in professional photography and film making for the softening effect it has on the skin, reducing wrinkles and smoothing out imperfections. This new lighting kit from MACTREM is very well priced at just £27.99 for which you will get all you need for basic portrait ring lighting plus a heavy-duty selfie stick.

In the rather plain box is the 10″ USB powered ring light, 155cm tripod/selfie stick, ball and socket tripod mount, ball and socket clamp mount and a dual-position phone holder and a well written user guide in colour. Build quality seems fine for the price. The ring light is made from robust ABS and feel robust enough for daily use. The tripod/selfie stick and socket mounts are made from metal with the phone mount from tough plastic. Treat the ring light with care but otherwise, all seems robust and well made.

Usage is simple enough. For portraits fit the ring light to the tripod using the ball and socket mount, alternatively, the phone can be mounted on the tripod and the clamp mount used for the ring light. The tripod, which extends to a full 155cm, can be converted to an extra-long heavy duty selfie stick by sliding the central stem from the tripod assembly.

The unit is powered through USB and has an in-line backlit control pod that scrolls through the three Colour Temperature settings, the ten brightness levels, and Off/On. The pod has proper clicky buttons and is easy and responsive to use. The lighting ring is quite lightweight and is unlikely to survive a severe impact, but that aside all seems fine.

The tripod and selfie stick are certainly made to last and the selfie when extended is the longest I have tried and might better be described as a boom arm. The ring light at 10″ is a good size and capable of delivering an even flicker-free coverage and although made of plastic seems built to last the course. The only thing lacking is the Bluetooth remote control shutter release found with most selfie sticks.

This budget-priced kit can be used for selfies, in beauty or hair salons where precise lighting is required or for general photographic or video use. It would make a nice gift for anyone with an interest in any of those activities or for a YouTuber video maker.

The Good
Good Price
Good Specifications
Versatile Mounts
Robust Well Made Tripod
Extra Long Selfie Stick

The Bad
No Remote Control
No Storage Case

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PEMOTech Microphone Pop Filter

There are plenty of pop filters available and they are usually either foam covers that sit over the microphone or are screens that sit in front. The filters are designed to reduce the percussive plosive sounds caused by words beginning with P or B spoken very close to the microphone with the secondary function of protecting the delicate microphone innards from saliva, dust and other airborne nasties.

This filter is of the second type and surrounds the microphone grill making it suited for front address microphones such as the THRONMAX MDrill One PRO (set to cardioid mode) I tested it with. It is held in place around the microphone with two elastic bands which are secured by hooks on the back of the pop filter. The filter has three layers, an outer plastic mesh, an inner metal mesh, and a foam inside layer all secured within a plastic frame.

In the box was the filter itself together with four elastic bands and a well written and easy to read user guide. Build quality is lightweight, as to be expected, but otherwise seems OK. The elastic bands are easily lost and not particularly strong but any sort of elastic band should do the trick.

Fitting the cover seems easy but in fact, it took me several attempts to get it right during which one elastic band took flight never to be seen again and another snapped in two. The filter is supposed to fit any microphone with a diameter of between 45 and 68 mm which includes mine, but although I found it a struggle I did prevail in the end and it the filter was seated in place. Of course, fitting depends on the microphone used and no doubt it will attach far more easily to other mics. Note that it will NOT fit the widely used Blue Yeti mic.

I was surprised just how well it worked. Again, results will no doubt vary greatly from microphone to microphone but I found plosives to be greatly reduced when the filter was in place and enough so for me to keep it permanently in place.

Priced at just £7.59 it is difficult to complain too much particularly as it seems to have such a dramatic effect on close mic vocal recordings. I would prefer a more secure fitting method, perhaps with lockable clips or at the very least a larger supply of rubber bands.

That said, for the price, it has to be a great buy.

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ARTOFUL Selfie Stick Ring Light

At £20.99 this is by no means the cheapest selfie stick/tripod I have tried but it is more than just a simple selfie stick as it is cleverly designed, reasonably well made, nicely presented, and with several non-standard features. The ring light is rechargeable and is stable enough when in tripod mode to serve as a portable fill light in the studio or on location.

In the attractive branded product box is the Selfie Stick with attached light, Bluetooth remote control, charging cable, spare CR1632 battery (one already installed) and a comprehensive and easy to read user guide. Construction is good but lightweight with the handle and grip made from ABS plastic and the extension rod from what seems to be very thin stainless steel but in fact, is aluminium alloy. The Bluetooth control button unit slots into the handle and can easily be removed for remote use and to replace the pre-installed CR1632 battery. The phone clamp folds flush to the body of the unit but take care when doing so as it is vulnerable when left unfolded. Two grips fold up on the clamp to hold the phone and allow it to be rotated. However, it seems that the clamp and ring light are one unit and cannot be separated from each other. Build quality seems fine with nothing looking likely to break, fail or fall off if handled properly.

The main selling point of this selfie stick is perhaps the built-in selfie ring light positioned on the end of the handle and controlled by a single button on the side. The single button allows you to scroll through the three light modes – warm, daylight and cool white – and adjust the three-stage per mode stage brightness level. The light is not super bright but will make the difference at night or when the image is backlit. A large phone will obscure much of the ring light but it should still be more than enough for use in selfies.

Using the remote is a simple as you would expect. Set your phone to Pairing Mode, long-press the Selfie Stick button and search for Bluetooth device “ARTOFUL Q07” and pair to it. You can now use the button to remotely control take photos and videos. The button will automatically turn off after a few minutes without use. The stainless steel rod extends up to 79 cm for selfie use with the three legs folding out from the handle to form a base when used in Tripod Mode.

This is a good little device, similar to a vast number of others, but offering the option of the integral selfie ring light. If you need a lightweight selfie stick with a Bluetooth shutter release and fill-light then this is a very decent buy.

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EVERSEE Universal Socket Wrench

There is nothing more annoying than hunting around for a spanner or wrench to fit that nut that just will not turn. This new universal fit socket wrench from EVERSEE might be just what is needed next time.

The stainless steel wrench comes with an adapter that should allow it to fit most screwdriver or drill bits when needed. I tested it with several screwdriver bits of various sizes as well as my drill and it seamlessly worked with them all.

The wrench head has 54 spring-loaded steel rods that conform themselves to the shape of the nut, hook, or any irregular shaped small object pushed into it to allow it to be turned. It will not work with circular or flat heads as it needs an angled surface to gain traction. It should work with objects between 7 to 19 mm (1/4 to 3/4 inch ) in size and this range is etched into the side of the device for future reference.

The device is well made and robust and fine for a small workshop or home use although it might not be up to sustained heavy duty industrial use. It is certainly good enough for what I need and will be a welcome addition to my toolbox.

It does not come with any instructions – none are needed – or any storage case, although the product box is made from heavy-duty cardboard and might suffice.

This is a handy, versatile and well made little tool and priced at just £12.99 will certainly not break the bank.

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PARIGO Rechargeable LED Glove Lights

Perhaps they have been around for ages but these glove lights are certainly new to me and impressed me very much as a clever, useful and with hindsight rather an obvious idea.

The gloves are not true gloves but are a thumb and forefinger stall with a tiny LED light on each digit designed to illuminate and make easier small, fiddly and intricate tasks. They will be a boon to engineers, electricians or anyone that needs to work in dark or confined spaces without having to manipulate a torch or headlight.

In the box were the right and left gloves, two short USB charging cables, a soft carry bag and a short but well-written user guide. Build quality is all lightweight, as to be expected but feels well made and robust enough for extended careful use.

Each glove has a large fish shaped battery compartment with cables leading to cool white LEDs in the finger and thumb. The battery housing holds a grommet protected charging port and was pleased to see that the latest USB-C cable charging has been used, a faster and easier to use standard than old style plugs. The battery and LED assembly can be removed from each glove to allow for washing and then replaced afterwards. This can be a little tricky at first but gets easier each time. Remember to push the battery housing inside the glove at first and then twist it and pull it through the opening, do not try to pull it straight from the glove. My video shows how to do it.

This is a cleverly designed and well made product that if you have a use for it will soon become a part of your daily working life. Not bad for just £14.99

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