4 x 70mm Castor Cups by love your wood

I needed something to elevate some of the furniture in our conservatory by just a few millimetres so that our robotic vacuum cleaner could pass underneath and I had hoped that a set of these items might do the trick. Sadly that was not the case as the boost was not quite enough to do the job, However, I was quite impressed by the design and build quality of these carpet protectors which do seem to offer some real padding and protection.

Each unit consists of a plastic base with a thick felt pad on top. They seem pretty well made and substantial in build quality. I am not sure they would be suitable for a hard floor surface as they might slide around somewhat but to protect a thick and expensive carpet they seem fine.

The price here at just £2.20 for four seems good for the quality of the item and large 70mm base means that even pretty hefty chair legs should fit.

I would be happy to recommend them.

MaxTronic 300ML Essential Oil Diffuser Humidifier

 

This new aromatherapy diffuser from MaxTronic arrived packaged in a low key if slightly battered product box protecting the device perfectly well with no money wasted on annoying and hard to open blister packs or garish presentation. Inside the box was the diffuser itself, a power supply with a UK plug, a plastic measuring jug and a well written and easy to read User Guide (which I include on the end of my unboxing video).

It is simple and obvious how to operate the device. Detach the the body of the unit from the base, fill the unit with water to the indicated mark on the tank, add a few drops of your favourite essential oil, replace the top, plug in and switch on. There are just two buttons only. The right hand button controls the misting period and there are four modes of use: continuous misting, six hours of misting, three hours on, one hour on. Press and hold button to control the misting level – one beep for High and two for Low. The left hand button controls the light, one press turns it on and begins a 15 second cycles through the seven colours, press again to dim the light off, a third press will switch the light off. It can be used with the light or diffuser running alone. The spout can be rotated to determine the direction of the misting jet. In normal use the device will run for about six hours of misting before turning itself off. Should it run dry before then the misting process will automatically switch off to prevent over heating.

The diffuser is attractive and unobtrusive in appearance and should sit well in a home, office or clinical environment, the lighting is subtle and the misting process is pleasant and can lift or give atmosphere to the room. With a 300ml tank capacity it is about mid way in size and operating time compared to other units I have tried. Be aware that due to the nature of the misting process some water may be precipitated around the device so do not locate it close to sensitive objects. This diffuser emits a large amount of mist, more so than most of the others I have tried, which is a good or bad thing according to your outlook.

Of the several diffusers I have experimented with this is one of the best as it simple to use, looks good and works well. It is a little less expensive than some which can only be for the good. The device is well made and seems robust and durable. It has a good running time between refills and produces plenty of mist.. The price is good and it has attractive and understated good looks. For the current price of £29.99 it is a very worthwhile buy.

The Good
Good build quality
Attractive packaging
UK plug
Good User Guide
Safety auto off feature
Seven light colours

The Bad
No sample oil
Some adjacent water precipitation

More info and purchase

Sourcingbay GPS Real-time Vehicle tracker TK103A

This excellent vehicle GPS tracker from Sourcingbay is a real bargain at less than £30 as it can function not only as a GPS vehicle tracker but also as a complete remote controlled vehicle security system. The bulky User Guide and large wiring loom can be a bit off putting for non technical users but if all you need is a real time tracker then installing it can be done quickly and easily.

Inside the attractive and surprisingly small product box were the main unit itself, a GPS antenna, a mobile phone network antenna, a wiring loom, a 40 amp power relay box, a microphone with cable, a rather lengthy User Guide and a product promotion slip. The User Guide looks impressive at first sight and is nicely designed but proves to be poorly translated and hard to read.

The heart of the system is the GPS tracker unit itself, a small box about four inches by two. On one end are the GPS and phone antenna connections, SIM card slot, SD card slot, microphone input and mini-USB port. On the other side are the battery On/Off switch, LED, Cable loom connector, G-Sensor port (G-Sensor not included)

If the complete system is installed not only can you track the location of your vehicle in real time, you can also monitor conversations taking place inside the car, monitor the speed, receive door opening and fuel level alerts, geofencing alerts, remotely sound the horn and turn the ignition off. With a G-Sensor fitted (not included) it can also send alert should the vehicle crash or receive an impact. It comes with a small wired panic button which will send the current location to up to five phones.

This is all done by phoning the tracker (you hear an engaged tone) which will then text you back with a clickable Google Maps link, Latitude/Longitude, and the status of the features it is currently monitoring. You have to configure the device using SMS messages. This can be done using software which for some reason was not included with this kit but may be available online. The unit can be configured to respond to up to five phones with password protected SMS commands.

To fully wire the device up is a time consuming and complex business and frankly is best done by a garage or those accustomed to vehicle wiring jobs. However, if all you are interested in is monitoring the location of your vehicle and are not interested in the vehicle control features – disabling the car, status triggers etc – then wiring it is easy enough.

To wire it just for use a location monitor then connect the GPS and phone antennas and connect the red cable from the wiring loom to the vehicle Positive battery terminal or internal power supply and the black cable to the negative. Just tape up and ignore the other wires. The Panic button will still work and the microphone can still be connected. You will then need to follow carefully follow the instructions in the User Guide to register your phone number to the system via GPS to allow remote monitoring. It takes quite a while to make the initial GPS lock but once working it seems reliable enough. You will need to mount two antennas inside the vehicle as well as the microphone and panic switch (if needed) and find a suitable power supply to connect to. To fully wire the system up is a whole other thing.

It is a pity no software was included to make setting the device up easier and I cannot understand why this was not included. Also, this system runs all the time even when the car ignition is turned off and so may drain the battery if the car is parked up for a long time. The long term current drain is not insignificant can could be an issue on vehicles not used for some time.

That said, the price, build quality and feature set more than make up for the drawbacks and make this a fantastic buy for those prepared to make the effort to install it.

The Good
Great price
Good build quality
Battery back up
Panic switch to 5 phones
Remote disable vehicle
Real time Audio monitoring
Real time location monitoring
Various vehicle status alerts
The Bad
No software included
No G Sensor included
Continuous current drain
Poor User Guide
Configuring system through SMS is non intuitive
Some wires may be wrong size for current needed
Long time to get GPS lock

MindKoo GT88 Bluetooth touch screen Smart Watch with HRM

Currently I use a Motorola Moto 360 G2 smart watch but I wanted to get something less expensive and to use a backup and so decided on this one due to the low price and advanced features set.

First thing to make clear as this is NOT an Android Wear compatible and neither is it an Apple Watch and it matches these devices neither in features or price. This is a budget device but in fact is from the cheapo poorly made device I feared it might be.

In the simple but attractive box you will find the watch itself, USB proprietary charging cable, mini screwdriver, 4 tiny screws, User Guide. The User Guide is poorly translated, small and hard to read but I enclose a scan of it to my unboxing video. Switch to full screen and pause as required to read it.

This watch can be used either as a stand alone phone and smartwatch using an internal nano SIM card or as an add on to your smart phone interacting with it to display alerts and other information onto the watch screen using a Bluetooth connection. It has a built in 2MB camera, microphone, speaker, can take an internal micro SD card up to 16GB, and a micro SIM card. It offers several health tracking features including a step counter, sleep monitor, sedentary reminder and Heart Rate Monitor. You have a choice of watch faces and User Interface themes. You can play music or video either directly from files stored on the watch or via Bluetooth from your phone. When using the watch with the phone the ‘Fundo Wear’ app has to be installed to the phone to control the watch, interface with it and log the health tracking data. I tested it with the Android version of the app. The watch is rated at a surprisingly good IP57 which means it can be immersed in water briefly up to meter, which I have no intentions of testing but it does mean it should be OK in the rain.

Fitting the optional nano SIM card and microSD card is done by removing the watch back plate and carefully lifting up the battery. This is a fiddly task but only needs doing once and indeed not at all if you do not need to make calls or play music directly from the watch. A set of spare screws and a screwdriver are thoughtfully provided for this.
Take note that the internal SIM card must have 3G support and 3G or 4G only cards will not work. This means the internal SIM will not work on the UK 3 network but of course the phone 3G/4G features will still function.

Pairing with the Bluetooth connection of my Android phone was easy enough and after this I was able to sync my contacts book and other items. I was then able to make and receive phone calls and play music controlled from the watch and receive SMS notifications and notifications from apps such as twitter, Facebook etc.

The watch has surprisingly powerful speaker and I was able to use it to make a phone call more successfully then I expected but for really this feature is best saved for emergencies only as you look and feel a fool when using it.
The 240×240 2MB camera is no better than you might expect and again is not of much practical use. The watch can be used to control the phone camera and maybe one day I may find a use for this too. A more practical use is the lost phone feature which can be used to locate the mislaid phone using Bluetooth.

The watch has a magnetic charging mount similar to that used on more expensive rivals and whilst this is great it means care must be taken not to lose the small non standard charging cable. The phone takes about two hours to charge and it seems that gives about two days of normal use and up to a week on standby.

I was very pleasantly surprised by this watch. For the price I was not expecting much but in fact the watch looks good with a quality feel to it and seems pretty robust. Of course it does not support the full range of Android Wear or Apple features but does do all the basics pretty well. Most notifications are supported as well as music playing and phone call support. The camera is not much use and neither is the internal SIM but both do function after a fashion.
The app is a bit buggy and not made to Google or Apple standards but most users will not need it much.

For the price this is a great buy and if you want a connected watch but don’t fancy paying £250 for it then this would be a great buy.

The Good
Great Build quality
Magnetic charging mount
Lost phone feature
Range of notifications supported
Good bright display
Good battery life
Internal SIM
Internal SD card

The Bad
Proprietary charging cable
Confusing and poorly designed User Guide
Poor quality camera
Poor quality Android app
No 3G or 4G internal SIM support

 

More info and purchase

SADES SA903 Wired USB Surround Sound Gaming Headset

This new gaming headset from SADES arrived nicely packaged in an attractive mid range display box. Inside the box was the headset itself, a driver CD and a large, well printed and easy to read although poorly translated User Guide which I include on the end of my unboxing video. It is well padded on both the earcups, which are of the over ear type, and on the headband. It is comfortable and easy to wear even for long gaming sessions. The headset does not support Bluetooth, as an increasing number do now, and also lacks a three way split cable to allow for USB and separate mic/audio connections. Also, there is no vibration motor, this headset is strictly audio only. This headset is designed for PC use only and there is no dedication for the X-Box or other gaming consoles. The two earcups will illuminate with blue LED’s when connected.There is a large and easy to operation inline control box hard wired to the extra long braided cable and this gives access to the uses track and volume controls.What does it sound like?The sound really is excellent and worthy of a higher priced device. There is plenty of bass, not not so much as to be overpowering, with the mid and higher frequencies being clear and well defined without being too sharp or abrasive. With the headphones on both when gaming and listening to music it is becomes a very immersive experience indeed. The surround sound option adds greatly to the audio quality but the headset will work perfectly well without it. From a purely gaming viewpoint the lack of direct talk-back through the console is a drawback but the fine sound quality and ease of use for general music playing more than makes up for it. The enclosed CD as well as the required drivers also contains a useful EQ application designed to interface with the headset and is well worth using. The folding mic is rather muffled in use and not really suited for gaming talk-back use but OK for phone calls.

As headphones for general listening this headset is excellent for the price. As a gaming headset it falls down somewhat as regards features rather than audio quality.

These are a large and well made set of headphones described as being for gamers but really they are are fine for general purpose listening with a full and rich sound not often found at this price. If you are a serious gamer, particularly a console user then my advice would be to walk away. If you are looking for a budget headset for music, PC Gaming and general use then this would be a good buy. As a gaming headset I would give it no more than three stars, as a GP headset then maybe five taking into account the low price.

The Good
Great sound
Great price
in line controls
Comfortable to wear
Surround sounc
Excellent User Guide
LED Illumination
Good audio software package

The Bad
Poorly translated User Guide
No dedicated setup for gaming console
No carry case
No separate Mic/Audio cables
No carry case
No Vibration feature

More info and purchase

TrackR bravo – Bluetooth Tracking Device. Generation 2.

This is my second TrackR device, I also have the Tracker Wallet, and in a burst of initial enthusiasm I ordered the one, the TRackR Bravo. I have tried cheapo imported rivals in the past but none were any good. TrackR are one of the market leaders in this field and I hoped and still do that their device may stand the test of time.

The card arrived in a simple blister pack together with a sticky mount pad, a rather feeble keyring connector and a rather poorly printed User Guide, which I append to my unboxing video. The device is made from metal and seems pretty robust and well made. It has an attractive and upscale silk finish and has a small recessed button with an integral LED a slot along the top to allow for attaching to a cord or key ring and if you feel along the edges you can find the slots to release the battery housing, which takes a single CR2016 battery. Replacement batteries can be found on Amazon for about £1 each although a spare is included in the pack. I found it fitted nicely into my wallet without taking up to much space and attached pretty securely to my keyring without using the supplied ring..

First thing to do is to download the TrackR app which I installed on my Android phone although of course an iOS version is also available. The app is nicely designed and easy enough to use and after opening a TrackR account I was prompted to register my TrackR device with the app using Bluetooth. This worked first time and I was then able to configure various options such as separation alerts to ring on the phone and/or TrackR when the Bluetooth link is lost. The app shows a map with last known position of your TrackR. You can add other TrackR devices and rename them all as you swap them around.

You can select any audio file on your phone to use as the phone separation alert but the alert tone from the device itself is a feeble electronic whine almost impossible to hear if there is any background noise. This is a nuisance as a feature of the device is the ability to locate it by Bluetooth if it is lost when still connected by Bluetooth to the phone. Press a button in the phone app and the TrackR alert sound will go off. You will probably not be able to hear from about six feet or so. The app also has a on screen meter supposedly showing how far away the device is and the theory is you can walk around watching the phone screen and listening for the alert tone to find the TrackR. Well, Good luck with that. You can also do it the other way around by pressing the TrackR button to set the phone audible alert off and that works well. There is now also a TrackR Amazon Echo skill that allows you to ask Alexa where your phone is and this works well too although it does not use the TrackR itself to do this.

You can turn off alerts are to be made when the phone is in Silent Mode and most usefully configure the app not to make these separation alerts when on any of the WiFi networks you regularly use. This is handy to prevent the thing going off every time you go into the back garden. You can enable the ‘Crowd GPS’ feature. The idea is that should you lose the device the TrackR will be detectedy other passing TrackRs which will send a message to TrackR HQ and then update the position of the lost TrackR on your app. That is the theory but I suspect it works rather better in Southern California than in Rotherham due to the limited number of TrackR users outside of the USA.

So how well does it work?

I found the separation alerts to be pretty much useless as there were far too many errors. Many times I left the house with the alert set up and the alert did not sound although the tracker app screen showed the device was still at home. Other times when out and about the alert would sound even though the TrackR was in my pocket next toi the phone. I have turned it off.

This is NOT a GPS device and can only give out the location of the Trackr when connected to your phone. When so configured in theory the phone will make a loud audible alert when the Bluetooth link is lost and remember that position. If you lose the TrackR then the app will show where it was when the link was lost not necessarily where it is now. This worked well and does seem reliable and accurate.

The TrackR is well made and the app is well written. In general separation are too unreliable to use but the system will accurately show where your missing TrackR was last located. The audible alerts from the TrackR are pretty much useless but it does work well to locate a lost phone.

I like the device enough to have ordered some other TrackR units, they have various models available, and will see how they do in the long term. None of the devices in the range are expensive and so I think this and they are worth taking a chance with.

The Good
Good price
Excellent app
Good build quality
Works well to find mislaid objects
Alexa skill
Shows last known location of missing TrackR
Spare battery supplied

The Bad
Poor audible alert
‘Crowd GPS’ not good in the UK yet
Separation alerts unreliable

More info and purchase

Votones Child friendly Bluetooth headset

 

Currently priced at a shade under £20 this striking looking budget headset from Votones arrived attractively packaged in a small and attractively designed display box clearly aimed at the youth market. Inside the box aside from the headset itself were a standard mini-jack to mini-jack audio cable, a short USB to micro USB charging cable, a User Guide and guarantee slip. No carry bag was included, which was a pity.

The headset is a bright shade of pink with white inlay and certainly grabs the eye. The build quality feels a bit lightweight and flimsy but then that is reflected in the price. The ear-cup padding is decent if not luxurious as is that for the headband but unlike with many budget headsets there are no visible trailing wires leading to the earcups. That aside, the construction quality seems OK to me with no sign of the padding on the band working loose, poor stitching, or weak joints – all elements that have failed on similar headsets I have owned in the past. Time will tell and if something fails in the future I will update the review accordingly.

Perhaps the main selling point of this headset is that it is limited to 85db to protect sensitive young ears and this alone makes the headset an attractive buy. Remarkably for the price it features a buiult in FM radio and a TF card slot and will also work in wired mode using the supplied audio cable. I was also pleased to see a separate Off/On switch, a pleasant change from the annoying MFB long press. The controls are well marked and easy to find by touch, another plus. Aside from the usual track and volume controls there is also a Mode button which scrolls through the various operating modes: Bluetooth, Wired, FM Radio, TF card, Hands Free Calling. There is also an EQ button which scrolls through several sound settings but I found this not particularly effective.

Setting the headset up was quick and easy thanks to the voice guided prompts. The headset automatically goes into pairing mode when first turned on. Just look for VOTONES VT701 on your phone’s Bluetooth settings page and pair in the usual way.

As always the most important feature of any headset is the audio quality, and bearing in mind that this is a budget device I was fairly happy with the sound. There is a decent amount of bass and it is clear, smooth and undistorted. Mid tones are clear and detailed and very easy to listen to. The sound is rather flat but comfortable and never abrasive or sibilant, at least to my ears. The sound is OK, not bad but nothing to write home about.

This a decent set of headphones, lightweight and comfortable to wear with decent sound quality and at a price that cannot be bettered. I would have been happy to have paid more for a more robust build quality but you cannot have everything. These would be a great for use as a backup or as a first set for a youngster.

The Good
Great price
Volume limited to 85db
Good build quality
Wired mode
Folding design
Microphone
FM Radio
TF card
Attractive design
Voice guided prompts

The Bad
Lightweight build quality
No carry bag

More info and purchase