Tack N Hack Unisex Farm Mucker Boots

I keep buying walking boots. I use them mainly for dog walking for distances of up to about six miles daily. I bought cheap boots, I have bought expensive boots and I have bought cheap boots but they all seem to start letting in water after about three months. Yes, I always keep then clean and coated in dubbing or protective polish. I do not want to buy yet another pair and so I decided to buy a pair of rubber boots specifically for walking in the rain and mud. The other boots I will keep for summer use.

The boots were delivered promptly and arrived in good condition in a plastic bag within a shipping bag. There was no product box or information sheet enclosed.

These boots from Tack N Hack are a sort of hybrid. They are made of moulded rubber but with a vinyl suede looking top section which flaps open with velcro seal to allow the foot easy access. I would guess it will just wipe down but it looks a bit less impervious to mud and water than the rubber lower section. Inside the boot is a soft warm lining that can be pulled out for cleaning or to be replaced with heavy duty socks as required.

The boots are comfortable to wear and the size nine I ordered was a perfect fit. There is more movement inside the boot than you would find with walking boots but less so than with wellies. Your feet do not feel quite so encased as when wearing laced up walking boots but they grip the foot well enough to allow normal walking. I would be happy walking a few miles in these or perhaps not much further. Unlike with wellies they certainly keep the feet warm as well as dry. Some users have complained of chafing but this I have not noticed yet.

For the £18.47 I paid these are certainly a great buy. They are warm, comfortable and fully waterproof and I am hoping they will stay that way. The packaging leaves something to be desired which limits their appeal as a gift but otherwise, they are an excellent buy.

The Good
Waterproof
Comfortable
Great price
Removeable lining

The Bad
Poor packaging
Many similar-priced rivals

More info and purchase

Beelink S1 Windows 10 Multi Media Desktop mini-PC

I have used other mini-PCs before but they have all been budget priced, low specced units designed for use as TV boxes or for simple web browsing and word processing. Be assured this is not one of those. Rather than the low-end Atom processor this one runs a quad-core Intel Apollo Lake Celeron N3450 CPU with 4 GB of RAM, dual band wifi, Gigabit Ethernet, USB-C, expansion bay, and has full legal Windows 10 Home pre-installed. This no i7 but it is much more than just a TV Box and is capable of processor intensive computing tasks spread over two displays

In the attractive mid-market product box was the mini PC itself, a power supply with UK plug, 80mm HDMI cable, 20mm HDMI cable, mounting bracket and two nicely printed and well-written User Guides. 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 both VGA and HDMI outputs which can be used together or separately. Sadly, there is no Displayport 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: two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, USB-C, HDMI, VGA, Gigabit Ethernet, audio in/out, TF card, 5Ghz/2.4Ghz wifi, Bluetooth 4. It has an easy access expansion port capable of housing an additional SSD (a 64GB SSD is already fitted) or a 2.5″ hard drive.

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 mounting bracket for this purpose. However, it is capable of much more than that and is more than capable of being used 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, for example, unless you have plenty of time to spare. Other users may wish to replace Windows with Linux for even faster operation.

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

The Good
Good price
USB-C
Gigabit LAN
Dual band wifi
Powerful Intel Celeron N3450 CPU
Fanless

The Bad
No Displayport output
Runs slightly warm

More info and purchase

TECKEPIC H36 Mini UFO Drone

Priced at just £16.29 this has to be one of the most enjoyable drones I have ever used and is a fantastic buy for not much money.

My experience with drones has not been a good one. Firstly, let me say I have a short little attention span and tend to grow bored and annoyed with anything I cannot instantly use straight from the box. Also, I tend to worry when I see expensive and delicate devices banging into walls, falling from a great height, or flying off randomly into the distance.

This low price, robust build quality, coherent instructions, and prop guards reassures me on almost all the above points. This little drone is easy to use, can withstand knocks and if it does pack in then at least it has not cost much.

In the attractive mid-market product box was the mini-drone itself, control unit, User Guide, rechargeable battery, USB battery charger, four spare propeller blades. Build quality is good for the price. The drone seems as tough and robust as you can expect for the size and price and capable of taking a few knocks. The controller feels lightweight and cheaply made but works perfectly well with nothing feeling like it might pack in soon. The User Guide is one of the best I have seen for any drone. It is large, well illustrated in colour, written in good understandable English, although it is cheaply printed. I enclose a scan of it in my unboxing guide.

A little drone like this can only be used either indoors or on absolutely wind-free weather outdoors. The controls are the same as on most others I have used and are easy enough to get the hang of. Due to the added weight of the prop guards, you will only get about four minutes of flight time but that will be OK for training purposes as I would expect most users to move on to more expensive models when they get the taste for drone flying. The rechargeable battery is a standard one, I think, and replacements can be found online.

This would be a great first drone to see if you like using them or as a gift for a child. The lightweight and prop guards make it more child-friendly than larger and more expensive rivals. For the price, this is a great fun buy.

The Good
Great price
Robust build quality
Easy to use
Excellent User Guide
Nice packaging

The Bad
Short flight time
No camera
No controller batteries included
Controller looks and feels cheap

More info and purchase

geo Minim Electricity Energy Monitor

I have had a few similar Electricity Energy Monitors in the past, including ones from Efergy and LinsysRF, and they have all stopped working after a while and I either by then I had lost the User Guide or they just refused to work. Having just switched to a new tariff I thought it would be a good idea to get a new power meter.

This device consists of a colour LCD monitor with UK/EU power supply, CT sensor with four AA batteries preinstalled, transmitter and a well printed and easy to read colour User Guide. I include a scan of the User Guide in my unboxing video, switch to full screen and pause to read it.

Setting it up is easy enough and well explained in the User Guide. Attach the CT sensor to the mains cable going into your home electric meter, the sensor will clip over the red cable. The other end plugs into any of the three sockets in the transmitter. (The other two sockets are used for certain non-standard power supply units). Remove the tab covering the AA battery terminal on the transmitter and the red LED will indicate it is working. After assembling the plug for the monitor power supply, connect it and plug it into the display monitor. By pressing the central button on the monitor you can enter the settings menu and from there set the day, energy tariff, monthly budget target etc using the left and right buttons. You can set the backlight to be always on, off, or on a timer.

The meter will display the real-time electricity usage either in pounds,kWh, or in CO2. You can also track how close you are to remaining within your budget for the current month. Battery, signal strength and current temperature are also displayed. You can scroll the display to show the day before, current week, current month. Data is not displayed for earlier periods and cannot be exported to other devices or online. Another more expensive model is available from Geo that has these advanced features.

The unit is well priced at just £32.95, works well and is easy to configure and use.

The Good
Easy to read display
Good price
Easy to configure
Good User Guide

The Bad
No way to export data

More info and purchase

MaxiMuscle Promax Lean High Protein Bar, Chocolate Salted Caramel, 55 g, Pack of 12

I1 have to say I was very impressed by these protein bars or at least the Chocolate Salted Caramel flavour which I received. I have eaten protein bars in the past when I was a more active runner than I am now and found many of them pretty nasty. I can remember forcing them down from a sense of duty.

The bars are a reasonable size for 55g weight and each of the twelve bars in the box contains 20g of protein, 12.8-13.5g of Carbohydrates, 1.6g of sugar and under 200 calories. The bars are also fine for vegetarians although not vegans. They are Informed-Sport Accredited, for what that means.

The flavour and consistency I found to be very pleasant indeed and it was certainly no chore to eat a bar. I found the bar quite filling and afterwards I did find the edge taken off my appetite.

From a nutritional stance, I suspect there is little these have that cannot be found in rival products and I would not claim they are better than the rivals. However, at £21.49 for a box of twelve, they are certainly very competitively priced. I doubt if there are many others that can rival these for taste and flavour. I will be ordering some more and maybe that will be enough to get me out running again!

Rapoo 8000 2.4GHz Wireless Desktop Combo Set

I already use a wireless keyboard and mouse set for everyday use with my desktop PC. My current set comes from Logitech, has a full size extended keyboard and a full sized single button mouse that sits in the hand well and is easy to use.

In the attractive product were the keyboard, mouse, User Guide, USB dongle (stored inside the mouse battery compartment) and batteries. I was pleased to find the batteries as so many items ship without them. At least this product will work straight from the box. Build quality is lightweight but acceptable. The 77 key water-resistant keyboard has two fold-out legs on the underside along with the battery compartment for a single AA battery. There are no caps lock or other LEDs and no off/on switch. The mouse has an off/on switch, a storage port for the USB dongle and also runs off a single AA battery. Battery life of up to one year is claimed for both units.

No setup required other than extracting the USB dongle from the mouse battery compartment and plugging it into the computer and fitting the batteries to the keyboard and mouse. The computer will immediately recognise the Rappoo set and you can begin using them at once.

I found the keyboard to be a bit lightweight with the keys very tightly positioned. Keyboard travel was OK but not good, this is a keyboard for short-term use and not one to write a novel on. The mouse even with the battery inserted felt a bit lightweight but was accurate enough and smooth in operation.

This wireless keyboard set from Rapoo is reasonably well made and works pretty well but I would not like to use every day as my main keyboard and mouse. For occasional use it is fine or for use with an Android TV or games consul, but not for sustained use. At £22.99 it is not the cheapest I have seen and better made and full-sized keyboard sets are available for this price from a range of suppliers. That said, this is still a decent enough keyboard set that works well with no glaring faults or issues.

The Good
Batteries supplied
Nice packaging
Water resistant
Multimedia keys
Compact size
Long battery life claimed

 

The Bad
Expensive
Lightweight build quality
77 keys only
No status LEDs
Mouse feels lightweight
No keyboard Off/On key

More info and purchase

Aidina Handheld Electric Milk Frother

For a small kitchen gadget with a limited use and with a price of just £9.99 you probably can’t expect too much but in fact, I was very pleasantly surprised by this little milk frother from Aidina.

Made from stainless steel throughout rather than the plastic I was expecting the build quality cannot be faulted. This looks and feels like a professional piece of kitchen equipment. It is powered by three AAA batteries and even the battery housing, so often flimsily made in cheap items, seems well made and robust. There is just one control, a simple Off/On button on the end of the unit and this controls the 19000RPM motor driving the frothing head. Previous milk frothers I have used have a single whisking head to froth the milk but this one has two although I cannot really say that this makes it function better. The head is on the end of a stalk about five inches in length which can be easily detached from the body of the device for cleaning and storage. The motor is very powerful and the frothing action is very pronounced so much so that care needs to be taken to prevent spillage. This leads to my only significant criticism of the item – it is a pity there is no speed control so that the frothing action can be more easily controlled.

For the price, this is a great buy and if you like the milk in your coffee frothy, then look no further.

The Good
Great price
Good build quality
Double ended
Easy to clean
Powerful 19000RPM motor

The Bad
No speed control
No storage bag
No batteries included

More info and purchase