Rocketbook Everlast Smart Reusable Note Book Mini

 

Sized A6, this is the smallest of three notebooks in the Everlast range from Rocketbook and is a 48 page  ring bound notebook that can be written on with any pen from the Pilot FriXion range and then wiped clean with a damp cloth. The polyester composite paper looks and feels like normal glossy paper and can be used exactly as any other notebook.

However, that is only half the product, the other half being a free smartphone app that can scan the finished page and upload it to a range of online repositories including Google Docs, Dropbox, iCloud, Evernote, Email, OneNote, Box, OneDrive, etc. The files can be uploaded in either PDF or JPG formats individually, automatically,  in batches, with the option to OCR the files.

The softbound notebook arrived attractively and cleverly packaged in a resealable storage bag with all the key product information printed on it. Inside as well as the notebook was a  Pilot FriXion pen,  a good quality microfibre wipe-down cloth and a well written and nicely printed User Guide. Everything feels robust and well made and the whole package has a quality and upmarket feel to it. That said, I would have preferred fully rigid end boards rather than the semi-rigid covers used here. Replacement pens are freely available online.

Using enough is easy enough. Just take some notes using the supplied pen, follow the walkthrough instruction within the Rocket Book  app to frame, scan and send the image first selecting the location, file type, batch or single file,  auto or manual operation.  At first, this takes a while but after a while, this can be done very quickly using saved options and when in batch mode multiple pages can be sent per minute. The app saves a record of all operations and all the scanned images can be recalled on screen and resent if needed.   After scanning the notebook page can be wiped clean with a dampened (not wet) cloth or a full notebook can be wiped by placing it in the microwave with a glass of water.

This is a clever and well thought out product which although is not new in itself – there are other wipe down notebooks available and no shortage of scanning apps – it does present a well designed and easy to use package that at just £15.95 will not break the bank.

The Good
Good Build Quality
Attractive Design
Premium feel
Easy to use
Notebook works with or without the App

Pen works with any paper type

The Bad

Notebook Covers feel flimsy

All-Green 10 Litre Compostable Kitchen Bin Liners, 50 Bags

As we are all encouraged to recycle or rubbish and compost our garden and kitchen vegetable waste so more and more of us are using small kitchen bins to store waste before taking it to the compost bin in the garden. These bins can get a bit gunged up and horrible and so bin liners are essential, particularly ones like these that can be composted along with their contents. This pack of 50 10Ltr bags is available from Amazon for £6.79 with free prime shipping and they are pretty much the least expensive I have seen.

I received two packs of 25 bags supplied in a basic shipping bag, no paperwork or other items were included or required.

The bags have that peculiar greasy texture common to other recycling bags and they seem very lightweight and flimsy. Although I have had no issues with them nevertheless I have taken care not to overfill them or put them under strain. This is doubly important as these bags have no handles or tie flaps so when transporting them to the compost bin you need something to hold them by.

These bags do a reasonable job but I have no doubt there are better ones available although perhaps at a higher price.

The Good
Good Price
Fully Compostable

No Excess Packaging

The Bad
Flimsy
No Carry Handles
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Music:  YouTube Audio Library: Silent Partner: Ticker

Nestling Walkie Talkie HK-688 3 Pack

This set of three walkie talkie radios is marketed as being for children and priced as such at just £23.99. 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 three radios, three wrist straps, three belt clips and a small but nicely printed User guide. No headset, batteries or charger were included. Build quality seems fine and although light in weight the units do seem well made and robust.

Each unit has a stun antenna on top, a small monochrome backlit LCD panel, a Press To Talk (PTT) on one side and a grommet protected headset and power-in port bay on the other. On the front below the LCD panel are a small range of control buttons with below them a large speaker grill. On the rear is the battery bay with a removable hatch revealing four AAA batteries (not included). On the top next to the stub antenna is a LED light which can be turned on from the front panel and serves as a torch and location finder aid when the set is used at night.

Operating the set is easy enough and in fact, my set worked straight from the box with no configuration needed other inserting the batteries. Using the front panel keys you can change and select one of twenty-two channels, adjust the speaker volume, select and change one of ten ringtones, select PTT button or voice activated modes. From here you can also select auto scan mode in which the handset will look for active frequencies and auto select it when one is found.  Each handset can be used to talk either or both of the others together or separately. For most purposes in or around the home just make sure the handsets are set to the same channel and that is all you need. Press the Call/Lock button on the right side to make the other handsets ring to indicate you wish to talk. There is a warning tone for low battery status as well as a tiny on-screen display. The  LCD screen works OK and does its’ job but it is hard to see but then in normal use, you rarely need to consult it.

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 rechargeable batteries or charger (the unit can be used with standard AAA or rechargeables), and no headset.

The range is said to be up to three miles over a line of sight flat surface with as little as 300M 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 decent quality little transceiver kit, works well and is easy to use. Build quality seems fine for the price with the only corners cut being in the lack of non-essential accessories. This is marketed as a toy but in fact, can be very much more than that.

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

PTT/Voice Options

The Bad
No Rechargeable Batteries
No Charging Cable
No Protective Cases
No Headset

Not Waterproof

Beelink BT3-X Windows 10 Mini PC

At one-time budget priced mini-PC’s, in general, were underpowered, under specified and suitable mainly for use as   TV streaming boxes, often with no legal operating system installed. Beelink mini-PC’s have proved the exception with all the ones I have tried having proved to be perfectly usable desktop PC’s. This one is no exception and rather than the usual low-end processor,  runs an Intel Apollo Lake Celeron J3355 Processor with 4 GB of RAM, 64GB of onboard SSD storage, dual-band wifi, Gigabit Ethernet, and has fully legal 64bit Windows 10 Home pre-installed.  Whilst this no i7, it is much more than just a TV Box and is fully capable of most desktop computing tasks with support for two displays.

In the attractive mid-market product box was the 0,51 lb, 4.53 x 4.01x 1.77″ mini PC itself, a power supply with UK plug, 80mm HDMI cable, 20mm HDMI cable, VESA mounting bracket kit, and a nicely printed and well-written if rather a basic User Guide. I include a scan of the User Guide at the end of my unboxing video. Switch to full screen and pause as needed to read it.

There is no more setup required than with any other new computer. Connect the power supply and the monitor cable to your monitor and switch on. The device has twin HDMI outputs which can be used together or separately. Sadly, there is no Displayport or VGA socket. You will then be presented with the standard Windows 10 setup screen which walks you through getting the computer up and running. You will need to connect either a normal keyboard and mouse or a wireless mini keyboard with USB dongle as I did. Windows recognised the dongle at once and so all setup could be done wirelessly. Once configured you can then activate and update Windows 10 to the latest build and security version. A fully legal licensed version of Window 10 Home is pre-installed and no licence needs to be purchased.

The computer has a good range of ports and connectivity for the size and price: four USB 3.0,  two HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, audio in/out, micro SD card, 5Ghz/2.4Ghz wifi, Bluetooth 4.2. There are no USB-C, or legacy micro-USB or VGA ports and no Bluetooth 5. The 64GB SSD can be expanded with the addition of an internal 2.5″ SATA HDD/ SSD up to 2TB for with the included internal interface.

Many people will wish to use this as a home theatre media player and there are a host of applications to support this. The PC is silent in operation as it needs no fan and is easily small enough to blend in with other set-top box devices behind the TV and even comes with a VESA mounting bracket for this purpose. However, it is able to do much more than that and is perfectly suitable for use as a general purpose desktop computer capable of handling all but the most demanding tasks. Don’t try and use it for rendering 4K video files or high-end gaming, but for word processing, YouTube and general web browsing it is first rate. Some users may wish to replace Windows with Linux for even faster operation. Beelink produces other higher priced small footprint PCs for those that need a more powerful machine with more expansion options and indeed there is a high-end version of this machine with an Intel Core i3-5005U Processor, 8GB of RAM and a256GB SSD available for double the price of this one.

This is an excellent mini PC and is fine for use as a dedicated single purpose device or as a powerful general-purpose PC suitable for all but the most high-end tasks.

The Good
Good price
Gigabit LAN
Dual HDMI Ports
Dual band wifi
Intel Apollo Lake Celeron Processor
Fanless

Expandable SSD/HD internal Drives

The Bad
No Displayport or VGA  output
No USB-C

No Bluetooth 5

Ankway Electric Wine Bottle Opener

This clever and well-made wine bottle opener, perhaps electric corkscrew might be a better name, arrived nicely presented in an attractive mid-market product box inside of which was the device itself, a foil cutter, and an easy to read and well-written User Guide. Build quality seems excellent, the bottle opener is well made and robust with noting looking likely to fail anytime soon.

The device is quite large and consists of a metal tubular control panel and battery compartment (four AA’s, not included) with the below it the corkscrew protected by a clear acrylic sheath. It has two buttons, one to withdraw the cork from the bottle, the other to retrieve the cork from the device. The foil cutter is equally well made and is a small handheld unit held over the top of the bottle to cut the bottle seal as it is rotated.

Using the device is simple enough. Place the top of the bottle into the base of the unit with the corkscrew resting on the top of the cork. Press the top button and the screw enter the cork and pulls it up into the main body of the unit. It is important to hold the bottle firmly to prevent it rotating as this is done and also to ensure the device is accurately aligned to ensure the cork is pulled cleanly out. I found the best way is to place the bottle on a firm surface, position the corkscrew correctly with the left hand and press down as the top button is depressed whilst holding the bottle with the right hand. To extract the cork from the device, press the lower button and carefully take hold of the cork as it emerges from the device and let it unscrew itself.  There is a slight whirr from the motor when it is in operation but this is neither loud or grating.

The bottle opener has an attractive and upmarket design and that coupled with the soft blue light from the acrylic base and the lack of noise make it very acceptable for use at the dining table.

I am not quite sure how often I will use it myself as I am happy enough using more traditional methods to open a wine bottle, but if I needed to open multiple bottles or began to use this on a regular basis I might well change my mind. It is certainly easy to operate and works very well and looks good in the kitchen or on the dining table.

The current Amazon price of just £13.99 makes this a very decent buy indeed.

More Info and Purchase

HD HARUDONE Mini Camera Fan

This unusual item is a fan with a built-in LED torch designed to resemble an oversized old style camera and which can be used slung from the neck or positioned on a flat surface using the enclosed stand. I can imagine this being popular in China but it is not an item I have seen for sale elsewhere here in the UK.

In the simple but nicely designed product box was the fan itself, a short USB charging cable, a desk stand, two aromatherapy oil pads, a neck strap, and a User Guide. Build quality of everything is lightweight but well made and the User Guide is well printed and easy to read.

The 12.6×8.6x4cm 163.64 fan has an internal non-removable 1800mAh battery which is charged using the supplied USB to micro-USB cable although no power adapter is included.  Looking at the device on the top there are two buttons, one for the fan and the other for the LED light, also on the top is an air outlet for the fan to deliver air upwards into the face when the fan is worn around the neck. On the front are the main air outlet and fan guard which incorporates a holder for an aromatherapy oil pad of which two are supplied, and the single flashlight LED. On the front also is a small battery status LED. On either side are neckstrap lanyard slots.

Using the device is simple enough. Short press the fan button to scroll through the three fan levels, which will give between two and nine hours of use depending on the selection. Short pressing the flash button will emit a short flash of light together with a camera shutter sound, long press the button to turn the flashlight on continuously.  The centre disc of the front air outlet can be removed to allow an aromatherapy effect to be achieved by placing one of the supplied pads soaked in oil into the aperture. Also included is a   kickstand which can be mounted on the rear of the camera for desk use.

This unusual personal fan was very clearly made for the domestic Chinese market and it is certainly not the sort of thing I can have seen on sale in the UK before. That said, it works well enough and for the low price of £14.99 might make a nice stocking filler gift for a youngster.

Nestling Bluetooth Sports Headphones

For just £10.99 I was not expecting very much from this new Bluetooth headset from Nestling. But in fact, I have to say this is probably the best budget-priced Bluetooth in-ear headset I have ever used.

The headset arrived in a small but attractive product box containing the headset, short micro-USB charging cable, cable clip,  one set of wings. No carry bag or information sheet was included, which was a pity, although such instructions as are needed can be found on the box. Build quality seems fine with the headset as well made and robust as any other I have tried of this type.

The headset consists of two Apple style earbuds with a short anti-tangle cable connecting them.  One side, about five inches below the earbud, is the control box which is quite substantial with three large but annoyingly flush fit buttons. The headset comes with just one set of silicon wings, a pity more could not be included, and cable clip to stop the cable and box flapping about.

Pairing to my phone as nice and easy with audio prompts to confirm pairing and connection and with the headset connecting automatically when powered on.

With the wings in place, I found the earbuds to be a very secure and wobble-free fit but when I tried them without the wings they fell out almost at once.  The control box works well with a short press of the +/-  buttons to change volume and a long press to jump tracks. The centre button turns the headset Off/On, pauses playback and accepts or rejects calls. This headset does not have the option to invoke Siri or Google Home assistants, but who needs that.

The main selling point for this headset has to be the audio quality. I was not expecting much from them, £10 headsets are not usually much good, but the sound here really is excellent with masses of strong punchy bass, clear and detailed mid tones and screech free highlights.

This a well made and robust budget priced Bluetooth Headset with a sound quality far above the price bracket.

The Good
Great price
Great Sound
Good Build Quality
Good Battery Life

Voice Prompts

The Bad
Poor Fir Without Wings
Only 1 Wing Set
No Bluetooth 5
No Carry Case
No AptX

No Personal Assistant