HDMI cables are all the same, right?

Frankly, to a large extent that happens to be true. Almost all HDMI cables can do the job of transmitting data perfectly well and the picture quality from a cheap cable is almost always exactly the same as from a bad. Priced at just £9.68 for two this set cannot be viewed as an expensive one but you do get rather more for your money than with most of the rivals in this price range.

In the attractive mid-range box were the two cables, two angled plug adapters, and two fabric hook and eye cable ties. No User Guide or product information sheet was included as all you need to know is printed on the box.

A few things make this set stand out from the rest. Firstly, the inclusion of angle adapters which would otherwise cost several pounds each to buy, secondly, the build quality which really is to premium level, and thirdly the ability to include ethernet network data through the standard HDMI interface. Let us look in more detail at these features.

The angle plug adapters fit onto the end of the HDMI cable and allow it to be used where space may be restricted behind the TV or another device it is connected to. With a heavy duty cable such as this that is an important feature as the cable cannot be bent and twisted easily into confined spaces. Of course, the cables will work perfectly well without the adapters and the adapters can be used with any HDMI cable. You would probably struggle to buy two well-made angle adapters separately for the price of this cable set.

Build quality for the six-foot cables and adapters is certainly top notch. The cables are braided, thick, robust and built to last and for some this may even be a disadvantage which is no doubt why the adapters were included in the pack. These look like premium build items which are what they are.

I have never used ethernet over HDMI myself, and although I have heard of it I have never yet knowingly encountered any device that supports it, although no doubt they are out there. So this is a feature I am not too interested in. It also supports audio as a separate channel to a/v receivers removing the need of a separate cable. I thought they all did that already, but evidently not.

This is a budget-priced cable built to premium quality and including features not usually available in this price bracket. If you need new HDMI cables then this would be a great buy.

XDIAN Handmade Genuine Leather Card Holder Wallet


This attractive little card holder arrived simply but adequately packaged in a tissue paper sleeve within a sealed plastic bag. No paperwork or other items were included, which is a pity as a nice object like this might benefit from a more upmarket presentation.

The cardholder is 11.5cm x 8.5cm x 0.5cm in size with six credit card sized slots and two slip pockets, one either side, to hold folded bank notes. The wallet is made from genuine leather and has a quality look and feel to it. The wallet is slightly reinforced and will flex but not bend and offers decent protection to the cars and bills within. The cardholder is small and discreet and can easily be slipped within a larger wallet or bag to give easy access to the cards needed for everyday use.

Currently priced on Amazon at £3.99 this would make an excellent stocking filler or casual gift and with its subtle looks will work equally well for a man or woman.

More Info and Purchase

Oziral Running Belt


As a long term runner, I know the importance of finding a good quality running belt. This new belt from Oziral has to be perhaps the most luxurious one I have tried and has a real upmarket feel to it despite the £9.99 price tag.

The belt arrived packaged in a simple but decent quality plain presentation box within which the just the belt itself, with no labelling or documentation.

The belt feels superbly well made. It is soft and giving, made from elasticated silk like material. It is covered with soft anti-slip gel finish on the inside and is secured on the front by a single verticle zipper. The belt is non-adjustable but the non-slip material and elastication means it should fit any waist with the size banding. It has three pockets. The main pocket is fastened with a side pull centre zip and will accommodate phones up to 6.5″ in size and my own 6″ phone fitted with ease. Unlike some rivals, the main pocket is not rubberised inside and so the phone can be inserted and extracted without sticking. There are two additional pockets, one on each side of the main pocket. One is small-sized and suitable only for a key or credit card, the other is longer inside but with the same sized small unsecured opening flap and suitable for a headset, running gels or other small items.

The only problem I have found is that the sizing on my belt is way off. I ordered a size L (33″ to 36.6″)  and this should have fitted my 34″ waist well. The belt I received although clearly marked as L was nowhere near that size and I suspect the lucky owner of a 30″ waist would not find it too big. So when ordering I would advise selecting a size up from that marked.

That said, this is still one of the best running belts I have ever tested from a build quality and design viewpoint but not one suited for fatties like.

The Good
Great Build quality
Great price
Large Main Pocket
Two side pockets

The Bad
Not Adjustable
Sizing Way Off

More Info and Purchase

IREENUO USB Portable Dual Head Fan


I have tried quite a few budget-priced desktop fans but this twin-headed model is a first for me and it is rather better than it looks and certainly better than I expected it to be.

The fan arrived presented in a mid-market branded box containing the fan, USB cable, four foam pads, four double-sided sticky mounts and a well printed and easy to read User Guide.

The fan is quite large at 10.5 X 17.5 X 29cm but lightweight for the size at just 570g. This is due to the use of plastic for almost all the fan assembly and can be looked on as either an advantage or disadvantage according to your needs. The lightweight makes it easy to move and reposition makes it look and feel rather cheap, as does the rather dated appearance. However, the build quality is good and the fan seems robust and well made. The fan is rather large for use on a car dashboard but would be fine on that of a lorry, larger vehicle or desktop. It can also be desk or wall mounted, with double-sided sticky mounts included and wall mount slots on the underside.

The has two separately controlled heads, each can rotate almost completely around as well as up and down. Each fan has three speeds with an LED indicator for the selection on the control button. Between the control buttons for the fans is a separate button to turn both fans off together. Each fan can be separately positioned set to an individual speed. The device is USB powered and a short USB to micro-USB cable is included. It is a pity the dated and now hard to find micro USB interface was chosen rather than the latest USB-C or even micro-USB alternative. No car power adapter is included but most cars come with a suitable interface these days and it allows the fan to be more easily used on the desktop or home environment. A set of four foam pads are included which fit into the rear of each fan and can allow aromatherapy oils to be diffused from the unit.

The fan is almost silent in operation on the desktop, is more powerful than I expected and gives a pleasant breeze across the desk when set to lower power. When set to maximum it can be compared to a normal 10″ or 12″ office fan in output with about the same noise level.

This is a versatile, well made and very functional multi-use fan available at the time of writing for just £17.99 from Amazon. I doubt if you will find a better one for the price.

The Good
Good build quality
Master Off switch
Dual Three Speed Fans
Quiet operation
Great price
Wall/Surface Mounting
Aromatherapy oil diffuser option

The Bad
Plastic Construction
Dated Design

Lennov 2800W Food Grinding Mincing Machine



Despite being priced at a touch under £45 this new Meat Grinder is not a device that will find a home in many kitchens as the price of meat continues to soar and the switch to processed fast foods and eating out continues. In some ways that is a pity as this device is well made, well priced and easy to use.

The machine arrived in a commercial style box with the unit well protected within using compressed card shaped inserts. Aside from the unit itself in the box was a loading tray, mincing blade and assembly, three cutting plates, food-in pusher, Sausage Adaptor and a large but poorly illustrated User Guide. I append a scan of the User Guide to my unboxing video. It also comes with a Kibbe attachment which can be used to make biscuits of the traditional fluted German Spritzgebäck style. You will probably recognise the biscuits if you do not know the name.

 The body of the unit is lighter than I was expecting but seems well made with a red plastic body with stainless steel effect outlines. All the cutting surfaces and food facing components are made from stainless steel or easy clean metal.

Assembling and using the unit is easy enough. Push the large black button on the front of the unit and push the large metal Scroll Housing (with the metal screw assembly inside) in place and lock it tight. Unscrew the fixing ring at the front of the Scroll Housing – why they call it this I do not know – and place one of the three supplied cutting plates between the rotating blade and the fixing ring which can they be screwed closed. Attach the food tray on the top and plug the unit in. Cut the food in cubes and push into the top of the unit down the tube using the plastic tool supplied for this use. The device has two simple control panels on the side, the left-hand one has an On and R setting, the other On/Off/Reverse. To operate ensure both controls are set the same – On or R, if they are not set the same the unit will not work. This is designed to prevent accidental operation.

The device can be used to make mincemeat in various gauges of size and comes with a plastic sausage extruder which attaches to the front fixing ring.

Despite the powerful 2.8W motor, the device is not as loud as I was expecting and does not vibrate in use excessively. These days this is something of a specialised item perhaps rarely seen outside commercial kitchens and so to find one for this price was a surprise to me. For those that need this would be an excellent buy.

ECHTPower Remote Control 3 Mode Solar Light


This new solar garden lamp from ECHTPower has upped the game quite a bit compared to older rivals with features and options not usually found in garden lights but which perhaps few would need. This is all to the food as with a current Amazon price of £16.99 it is no dearer than most of it’s lesser rivals.

In the well designed and attractive product box was the light itself, a remote control with prefitted battery, wall mounting kit, and a well designed and easy to read two-page colour User Guide. I include a scan of the guide in my unboxing video.

The plastic-bodied lamp consists of a panel of 48 LEDs (24 cool white and 24 warm white) with a maximum output of 450 lumens with next to them a motion sensor, infrared sensor for the remote control and a status LED which doubles as a manual mode control button. On top is the large solar panel and at the rear, the slots for the two screws needed to wall mount the device.

Like most other similar lights this one offers three operating modes: dim/full power when motion detected, off/full power when motion detected, full power 3 hours then shift to Mode 2. In addition, this one also offers a seven-step switch between cool white (6000K) and warm white (2700K). Colour temperature can only be controlled using the supplied credit card sized remote control which can also turn the light off and on and switch between modes. The remote control is something of a bonus but might be handy when seeking to control a light mounted in a high or awkward position. Most users, I suspect, will just set the light to their preferred settings and then just leave it. I have mine set to cool white and Mode 1.

It works well for me. It comes on at dusk in the low setting (which is still easily bright enough to see you way around) and flips to full power as I walk into the garden. It is still working after midnight although I do not know if it lasts all night as at this time of year it is light before 6 am when I get up by which time it has turned itself off.

This is an excellent light, well priced, plenty of features and works well.

More Info and Purchase

Lennov Combination Key Lock Box



I have seen key safes before but this is the first portable model of this type that I have encountered. The idea of this, as with other key safes, is that it can be used by carers or other designated callers to give temporary access to keys or other small items from outside the home without disturbing the occupants. Using the keypad combination number the carer can open the key safe in which the house or room key is stored. They then return the key to the safe after use. The combination lock code can be reset easily if circumstances change. Most key safes are permanently affixed to the wall but this one, designed to look like an oversized padlock, can be fastened to a fence or some similar external wall fixture and can be moved and repositioned as needed.

Inside the plain white box – more attractive packaging would surely help with sales – were the key safe itself and a small but well-written User Guide, a scan of which I attach to the end of my unboxing video.

The lock seems robust and well made and capable of withstanding the weather when used outdoors as well as resisting casual attempts to open it by force.

The device is supplied with no combination lock number and can be opened by pressing the large CLEAR and OPEN buttons on the front of the unit whilst gently pulling the keypad panel towards you. This reveals the interior storage area which is large enough for several normal sized keys and some credit cards. To open the metal padlock hasp push up the small tab on the padlock leg assembly inside the compartment and pull the hasp open, the tab can be quite stiff and awkward to reach but hopefully, this is not a task that needs repeating too often. To set your desired combination lock number remove the white panel from the rear of the keypad panel and input your code of three numbers or more and turn the plastic screw 180 degrees to confirm it.  be sure to replace the rear white plate correctly before use. I would advise testing the combination before replacing the keypad panel.

Priced at £12.99 on Amazon this seems an inexpensive way of securing key access to your home or to allow carers to enter without bothering the patient within. The portable design makes it doubly handy and the reprogrammable combination lock makes it safe for long term use.

The Good
Good Build Quality
Good Price
Passcode can be reset easily

The Bad
Poor Packaging
Fiddly to open hasp