I have tried other wireless car chargers before but this one is more than just a charger. It also offers a fully automated app-based car location service.
The charger arrived presented in an attractive mid-market box that helps make the product eminently suitable as a gift. Inside the box was the charger itself together with a rather short USB-micro USB cable, airvent adapter, dashboard mount and a two well printed and easy to read user Guides, one for the charger and the other for the car location app.
Build quality seems fine if rather lightweight. The charger has a matt black finish with steel effect highlighting. The two mount adapters attach to the rear of the charger with a ball and socket joint. The air mount adapter can be adjusted to suit varying grill types and the dashboard mount comes with a prefitted sticky pad. No old-style cigar lighter interface is included but then almost all modern cars now come with USB ports. It should work safely with any phone as it has electronic and short-circuit protection.
Having mounted the device using it could not be easier. As with all wireless chargers just put the phone into the mount and touching the charging pad and it will work automatically. In fact, this one is easier to use than desktop chargers because the phone is held in place and positioned exactly over the charging coil by three retractable and adjustable arms that grip it tightly and securely. It should be noted that the arms can be adjusted to suit phones of different lengths as well as width, unlike with some lesser rivals. This adjustable length feature means that even new 18:9 format phones should fit safely into it. The secure mount coupled with the ball and socket joint on the rear means the phone can be quickly and safely rotated from portrait to landscape modes with no fear of it falling out.
The selling point of this device and the feature that lifts it above the herd is the car location feature. The charger has a built-in Bluetooth beacon and after installing the free iPark app the beacon will connect to your phone and automatically tell the iPark app to remember the current GPS location. When you leave the car and go out of Bluetooth range the app can be used to show you where you last parked and guide you back to it. The app also allows you to take a photo of the precise location and append that to the map.
I found that the device worked well both in the car and when tested on my desktop. The choice of mounts should make it suitable for any vehicle and the standard charging protocol should mean it will work with any wireless charging equipped device.
The unit is currently available on Amazon for £23.99 and at that price is a great buy for the convenience and versatility of in-car wireless charging as well as the security of the car location service.
Good Build Quality
Easy to Use
Good User Guide
Excellent Car Finder App
Power cable too short
No cigar lighter interface
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A 7.1 Channel sound card for £0.42? A piece of junk, right. Yes, right, at least from my experience.
I saw this on Amazon for the remarkable price of just £0.42 including shipping from China and I thought I would give it a try just for fun. It gets three and a half stars on Amazon with eighty-five reviews so some people are clearly happy with it.
The first thought that comes to mind is how can they ship it from China for that price never mind actually manufacturer it? It turns out that due to trade agreement Chinese suppliers receive VAT exemption as well as virtually free shipping. This article explains it.
So what of the sound card? It arrived safely enough after a few weeks in a reinforced jiffy bag. Inside was just the sound card itself, no box, instructions or paperwork. No sign too of the promised ‘Xear 3D Sound simulation software’.
The device is a USB plug-in sized 11 x 10 x 1.3 cm. It has two colour coded 3.5mm jack ports, one for audio out and the other for a microphone. On the front are the mic and audio out Off/On buttons, volume up and down buttons together with LEDs for power and microphone status.
When I plugged it in the LED lit up and the device appeared to be working. Audio from it was appalling, muffled distorted and clipped. The sound was far worse than using the built-in Windows 10 sound card. After some minutes experimenting with it I then immediately binned it. Actually, that may have been a mistake as following some online research it seems that the device needs the correct drivers and software to work properly. Search for ‘Cmedia CM108 drivers’ and/or ‘Xear 3D’ and with this software installed the unit works well. Of course, I can’t attest to that myself as I no longer have the little unit to try it with!
If you have 42p burning a hole in your pocket and don’t mind some online research then maybe this could be for you.
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We have two dogs, Poppy and Blenheim, both hardcore pooing machines when out on their walk. They think nothing of going half a dozen times each when out and about. So it is that our household goes through vast quantities of poo bags and so it is that sourcing decent quality bags at a reasonable price is a not unimportant thing.
What do we want from our poo bags? Strong: the horrors of a burst or split poo bag are best left to the imagination. Capacious: Blenheim is a big boy with a hearty appetite, need I say more? Scented: no need to expand more on that topic. Tie Handles: crucial to keep the contents in place and to keep the fingers as far away from that which lies within as possible. Price: with two dogs in tow that have devoted their lives to both eating and pooing the less expensive the bags the better.
These bags from Ecohound are well priced at £12.95 for 500. Smaller quantity boxes are available but work out more expensive per bag. They come folded rather than on rolls, which is a good or bad thing according to your preference. They are a thick enough and a decent size at 38cmx 17cm with large and easy to tie handles. They are also eco-friendly, we are told, and so will dissolve into the earth over time. They are unscented, which is a pity, but you cannot have everything.
If you are in the market for poo bags, and how many dog owners are not, then these are a rather good buy.
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I hate buying boots. No matter what I pay for them and even with careful use and loving care and attention together with plentiful dubbin, they all start to let what in after a couple of months and then after that the sole will start to come off. No matter if I pay £20 or £200 they always go the same way.
So when it came time to buy yet another pair (I am sick of wearing plastic bags inside my boots!) I did not want to pay too much and looked around for a pair that seemed to lay emphasis on their waterproof qualities. This pair from Northwest Territory seemed to fit the bill and at £37.99 were not too dear.
The boots arrived in an impressive if somewhat battered box but the boots within were fine and survived the journey intact.
Although a range of colours is on offer I selected ‘Black Hunter 2’ (what happened to Black Hunter 1?) and they have a matt black finish with mesh effect inserts. The soles are heavy duty, deeply ridged for grip and have a high side outlined in grey. The uppers reach to just above the ankle and have a rear pull strap through laces can be threaded. The supplied laces are quite thin and are not long enough for me. Without looping around the back they are long enough to tie a simple double bow only. I would have preferred heavier laces at least a foot longer.
The boots are very lightweight and comfortable to wear and for me needed no breaking in. It is very early days yet but they do seem pretty waterproof and walking through a few modest puddles does not seem to phase them. They seem to be well made and of good quality and I am cautiously optimistic about how long they will last. If they start to pack in too soon I will update this review accordingly.
Heavy Duty soles
Laces too short
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I don’t usually review budget priced regular non-Bluetooth headphones as they seldom have anything of interest about them but this new headset from OneAudio caught my eye and also my ears and so thought I would give them a go.
The headset arrived packaged in a simple but attractive box which reflected the price of the headset more than the quality. Inside the box aside from the headset itself was a large and well-written User Guide together with a USB-C to 3.5mm mini-jack audio adapter This is the first time I have seen such an adapter bundled with a budget headset and it reflects the trend of modern phones to abandon the headset jack in favour of USB-C. The User Guide I reproduce at the end of my unboxing video.
The headset is lightweight and since this is listed in the product Amazon description it is seen as being a feature rather than a failing. According to the same product page, the headset weighs in at just 150gm and whatever the actual weight they certainly are one of the lightest full-size headsets I have tried. The body feels a bit flimsy but well made with no visible wires, weak joints or poor stitching in the padding, which is soft and comfortable if not over generous. Time will tell and if something fails in the future I will update the review accordingly.
The headset comes with a hard-wired 1.2M braided cable, which feels strong and robust. The headset features a large and easy to use in-line control box with a built-in omnidirectional microphone. The box has a slider for the audio volume together with a button to play/pause music and answer/refuse incoming calls.
The main feature of any headset is the audio quality and bearing in mind that this is a budget device I was very happy with the sound. The headset claims a 20-20KHz frequency range with 40mm drivers. There is a respectable amount of bass and it is clear, smooth and undistorted. Mid tones are clean and detailed and very easy to listen to. The sound is rather flat but comfortable and never abrasive or sibilant to my ears. The sound is OK, not bad but nothing to write home about. I made and received test calls using the built-in microphone and both sides of the conversation seemed reasonably clear and loud.
This a well-made set of headphones, lightweight and comfortable to wear with decent sound quality and at a price that cannot be bettered. It lacks a case and a few high-end features but at this price, they cannot be expected. Currently priced at just £21.99 this headset would be a great for use as a backup, for general listening or as the first set for a youngster.
Excellent sound quality
Good build quality
Good User Guide
No Airline adapter
No carry case
Limited earcup movement
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Keeping the kids amused in the car has always been a problem for parents. This new car organiser from SURDOCA may help to solve this issue and at the current Amazon price of £14.99 will not break the bank doing so.
This is a 17.3″ by 22.5″ multi-pocket organiser made from Oxford Material that is suspended from the back of a front seat which can hold things needed to keep the family amused when on the road. Unlike some lesser rivals, this one does not just hang free but is held tightly to the seat back by no less than adjustable three straps each secured by a large positive acting clip. The organiser has ten pockets of varying sizes, some with zipped or press stud closing lips. There are two water bottle sized openings and one with a clear front designed to hold iPads or similar devices of up to 10.5″. Should accidents occur then the organiser can be easily wiped down or in the worst cases machine washed.
The organiser arrived very simply but securely packaged in a plastic shipping bag. Whilst this does the job it is a pity more effort could not have been made to present the product better. A well designed colourful package could surely boost sales, look better on the shelves and make the item a more appealing as a gift.
Fitting the organiser could not be more simple. There are three straps, all adjustable with large finger-friendly clips. The top one loops over the seat headrest, the next is at the halfway point and the final strap is on the bottom. With all three in place, the organiser can help completely flush to the rear of the car set which protects the contents better and stops it flapping around in an annoying way. All the pockets are well sized and easy to access. The bottle pockets are elasticated and hold a normal 600ml plastic bottle very secure, the other pockets seem similarly robust and secure. There is a windowed top pocket designed hold an iPad which can be viewed quite well through the perspex frontage. Next to the iPad pocket are pockets suitable to hold a Power Bank to keep the tablet running.
This is a simple solution to a perennial problem and hopefully can make your next long family car journey more enjoyable and stress-free. There are plenty of rival products available and they are all pretty much the same. This one is well made and gets the job done at a perfectly reasonable price and there is no reason not to recommend it.
zipped document pocket
Many similar rivals
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Priced on Amazon at just £19.99 discounted from £39.99 this set of garden lights seems at first sight quite an attractive buy. But is it any good?
The set arrived in an attractive product box and looks pretty much the same as the more costly garden centre kits. Inside are the 10 lights, each packed in three sections: the light housing/Solar panel, spike and stand. No instructions are included other than those printed on the box and none are needed as assembling and operating the lights is pretty self-evident.
Each light consists of a removable clear plastic LED housing with a single LED light inside and a solar panel on top, plastic ground spike, and a stainless steel tube into which the LED housing is attached on one end and the ground spike on the other. The joints are only finger tight and the lights can be quickly and easily disassembled for storage. The only control is the simple Off/On turret switch inside the light housing, just twist and remove the cover to access it.
The lights seem reasonably well made and all the lights in my kit function fine and arrived already partially charged. The stainless steel tube should not rust and if the IP65 rating is correct then there should be no problem with water getting in. nevertheless, the lights have a fairly lightweight build quality so I would suggest positioning them away from anywhere where they may get banged about and storing them inside during the dark winter months. That said, they come with a full eighteen-month warranty which shows the manufacturer has confidence in their durability.
To operate each lamp, simply turn on the light switch, assemble the lamp and position it where maximum direct sunlight can reach the solar panel. They should give six to eight hours of LED light following about six hours of sunlight. The lights are rated as being IP65 water resistant, which means they should be OK in the rain.
These lamps are not designed to provide full garden illumination but rather as point lights to line a pathway or emphasise a garden feature. The single LED in each lamp provides a bright, cool white point of light and looks great highlighting a pathway. The lights work perfectly well without the spike and support tube and so can be positioned in small alcoves or in a rockery where a taller light could not fit.
For the price, this set could be a versatile and well-made addition to any garden or outside space.
Easy to install
Great for pathway lighting
Limited light output
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