USAMS USB Type C Sync & Charge Compact Cable

 

I am getting fed up with trailing cables going everywhere and getting in the way. I wanted a data transfer cable that can be easily and quickly;y stored away and capable of dispensing just the amount of cabler I need when transferring files from my USB-C equipped OnePlus phone to my PC. This new cable from Usams suits the job for me.

The Cable arrived nicely presented in an attractive windowed display box describing the contents on both the front and back as a ‘Type-C Stotage Cable’. Don’t let that put you off as the cable itself is first rate. Inside the box is just the cable and case, no instructions or further information is included and none are needed.

The cable itself is just one metre in length, fine for desktop use, and is housed in a rather stylish and well-made 50mm diameter aluminum hub. On the underside of the hub the two cable ends are housed, one USB, the other USB-C. The cable ends extend together, just pull them gently to the length you want and they will lock in position. Pull again and release and they will automatically retract to the hub. Make sure to always pull the two ends together, pulling just one plug will not work. The cable itself is of standard thickness and not heavy duty but being protected by the hub it does not need to be.

In use, the cable works a treat and I have used for charging and data transfer and it works just as well as I expected, the same as any other data cable. The retractable format means I have only the cable length I need on display, the excess remaining inside the hub

The current Amazon price of £7.99 means this is no dearer than a normal decent quality cable. If you need a retractable format USB-C cable then I suggest you look no further.

The Good
Good Build Quality
Great Price
Metal hub

The Bad
Standard strength cable
1M Maximum Length
Box Printing Errors

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WXY Solar Powered 7W 150LM 2600mA Portable Solar Lamp

This is no ordinary lightbulb. It is the same size and shape as a regular LED bulb but in fact, it is battery powered, comes with a solar charger and can even serve as a Power Bank.

The bulb arrived securely packaged in a plain brown box, a more attractive branded box would surely help with sales, inside of which was the bulb itself, hanging hook adapter, the Solar panel, short USB charging cable and a User Guide. Build quality seems excellent with noting looking like it is liable to break or fail anytime soon.

The bulb itself, at first sight, resembles a normal LED bulb but on the side, it has two USB slots: a standard size port for power Out and a micro-USB port to charge the bulb. The hanging hook adapter has a robust metal hook together with an E27 screw adapter into which the bulb attaches and a simple and easy to find clicky button on the hook end to turn the bulb on and off. The supplied solar panel comes with a 3m cable with a micro-USB plug to connect to the bulb for charging. Of course, the bulb does not need to be connected to the panel to work as the bulb is powered by an internal 2600mAh battery.

After an initial charge of fours hours, I found that a good day of UK summer sun would keep the battery topped up after a couple of hours of illumination. The internal battery of the bulb can also be used as a Power Bank to charge other devices. This does indeed work but since the output is just 5v/0.5A, charging will be a slow business.

The 7w bulb outputs 150lm at around 8000° K which means it is a good and bright and so cool white light. It could easily pass as a normal household bulb. That said, do not be tempted to connect to an E27 240w light fixture in the home as bad things will happen.

This would be an excellent addition to a camping or field trip. The bulb can be easily attached to the tent frame for use with the solar panel outside for daytime charging.
You can even use it as an emergency charger for a phone. The only real criticism is the lack of a carry case – like all bulbs it is fairly delicate – and the limited Power Bank output. The current discounted Amazon price of just £23.99 more than makes up for these limitations.

The Good
Great Price
Good Build Quality
Bright 7w light
Battery powered
Power Bank Feature
Dual Charging Modes

The Bad
Poor User Guide
Unattractive Packaging
Power Bank Feature limited
No Carry Case

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AceWest UK Plug Power Meter AC 230V~250V 13A

This new Power Meter from AceWest arrived simply but adequately packaged in a plain white box. This is fine but does reduce the appeal of the item as a gift, although perhaps this is not the sort of item often given as a present.

Inside the box was the Power Meter itself together with a comprehensive User Guide which might have been improved and made easier to read with a more attractive layout and design.

The purpose of this device is to give you a real-time and cumulative reading of the power usage of devices plugged into it. It will work with devices that draw up to 13A of current, which should cover almost all domestic devices. You can install power meters that record the whole house power usage by connecting to the Consumer Unit/Fusebox but they cannot show the power consumed by individual devices. This portable meter can be moved from socket to socket to test the power used by any household device with a plug.

The Meter itself is rather larger than I was expecting at just over 6″ in height but this allows it to fit the large and easy to read 2.36″x1.85″ non-backlit LCD display screen. Build quality seems fine. The meter is robust and well made and seems built to last. On the front is the large LCD screen with beneath it large and easy to find proper clicky buttons for Function, Cost, Up and Down. There is also a small reset button (nice to see one that is easy to access for a change) and below the button set the single UK three pin pass-through socket. The Meter uses a single 3.6w rechargeable battery which the User Guide seems to imply is replaceable but I can see no way to do this without disassembling the device.

You can just plug a device into the meter to at once see how much power it is using but to get the most from the meter you need to program it with your current electricity tariff which then allows the meter to show you how much in money the connected device is costing you to run. It has a memory function to preserve the tariff and other data recorded so it can be repositioned if needed. It has seven operating modes selected by the Function button show the connected time, Voltage, Wattage, Cost, the Maximum power used, the minimum power used, Frequency in various combinations. I suspect most users will stick to the first two modes which show real-time and cumulative power consumption and cost.

It can be a little tricky to configure it and to make sense of the different modes but it is worth the effort once completed. The Amazon price of just £13.98 is great considering the amount of information this device can display and the high-quality construction.

The Good
Great Price
Good Build Quality
Large LCD screen
Comprehensive features

The Bad
Not Backlit
User Guide confusing
Needs to be configured for best use
Downmarket packaging

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victool 2 IN 1 Can Opener Set

 

This attractive and well-designed can opener set from victool arrived simply but securely packaged in a plain cardboard box. A more posh box would have presented the set better and made it more attractive as a gift but of course, it is the contents that count.

Inside the box was the can opener itself and a cleverly designed device to open twist to open jars. No paperwork or instructions were included and none are necessary.

The can opener itself is large at 8.7″ in length and robust and well made. It is constructed from stainless steel with a brushed metal silk finish. It has black edging to the arms and has oversized hanging hooks on the end of each. The gearing is large and silky smooth in operation and very little strength is needed to open even the thickest can. The crank handle is again large but has rounded edges that will not cut into the hands when being operated. The can opener also features an extension on the end that can be used to open old style beer or coke bottles together with a projection that can be used to prise open tin lids.

Also included in the kit is a cleverly engineered piece of kit designed to open screw top containers. The device is built on similar large and robust lines as the can opener and features a large and easy to grip plastic turning handle with rounded hand friendly edges. Rotate the handle to open the jaws of the unit fully and place it on top of the recalcitrant container. Turn the handle until the jaws firmly grip the lid, take firm hold of the container and turn the handle firmly and the top will pop off. It works for me every time and I have yet to find a top it cannot get off.

This is a well made and cleverly designed set and should sit well in any kitchen. The current Amazon price of £10.99 makes it doubly attractive.

The Good
Three in one functionality
Great build quality
Attractive design
Great Price
Jar opener undefeated in my kitchen
Can opener Hanging Hooks

The Bad
Bulky
No Jar opener hanging hook

More info and Purchase

Miusikit Pet Grooming Stainless Steel Scissors Set

Priced at just £14.99 on Amazon, this is a first class pet grooming kit for which I would have been happy to pay much more. Although it is pretty much par for the course I still don’t know how they do it for the price.

The kit arrived factory sealed in a clear plastic bag. Inside was the leather scissors case, 7.9″ cutting scissor, 6.8″ Thinning scissor, 7.7″ Curved scissor, and a Grooming Comb. There was no sign of the oil mentioned in the Amazon listing but there were two large hair grips which are also not mentioned.

Build quality seems first rate. The leather case has pockets for the scissors and a flap that folds across to protect the comb. It is secured with a wraparound metal zip. The case is rather more crudely made than the rest of the kit but is robust and capable of withstanding plenty of wear and tears. The scissors are all made from stainless steel with blue highlighted hinges and finger grips. The scissors and comb really do seem to me to be of the highest quality and not only look good but also seem built to last. The two hair grips are again well made and of a size large enough to cope with large amounts of bunched. They may have been added to the kit late in the day as there are no storage loops inside the case for them and getting them into the case takes some time at first.

Using the kit was problem free for me. The scissors sit well in the hand and fluid and easy to use. They are arrived good and sharp and made short work of the long hair of the dog I was grooming. The thinning shears did a good job of even heavily matted hair. I did not need to use the grips but I confident that for a long hair dog they will be fine.

This is an excellent grooming kit and at the current price is a bargain indeed.

The Good
Great price
Good Build Quality
Two Hair grips included
Robust case

The Bad
Listed oil not included
The case is slightly small for the full kit

More info and purchase

Fantaseal Octopus Robust Mini Tripod

 

Priced at just £9.99 this mini i-tripod from Fantaseal can hardly be considered expensive but yet there are even cheaper rivals available but within this budget price range you still get what you pay for and this little device certainly outshines the cheaper rivals.

With a lightweight 8″ device of this price, you are not going to get Manfrotto build quality but you do get a device that with careful management can put your camera or lighting unit in otherwise inaccessible places.

The tripod arrived with no User Guide or external packaging other than a simple plastic bag but no instructions are needed and the tripod is robust enough to need no other protection. The package contains the tripod with quick release screw mounting plate and a standard GoPro style camera mount.

This tripod is very lightweight at just 120g and features twelve step fully bendable non-extendable legs and a ball socket head with tension screw locking. It has an easy to use and very versatile quick release mechanism which I have not found on lesser rivals and this does work surprisingly well. The head unit features a standard 3/8″ screw mount and should fit any standard camera or phone mount.

The tripod works best when the legs are fully splayed out to give stability with the angle of view for the fitted device controlled through the ball and socket head unit. The legs can also wrap around pillars, poles or fences to put the camera in otherwise inaccessible places. This device is designed to work with a phone, tablet or small lighting unit. I mainly use it with an accessory lighting panel and with this, it works well and allows it to be to locate the panel on the same plane as the subject device without the need of a floor standing lighting stand. It is a lightweight device and so do not try and put full-size DSLR camera on there.

This little tripod is small and lightweight enough to be able to add it to your camera bag or pocket without adding weight or bulk. The budget price is slightly dearer than some rivals but at less than £10 will not break the bank unlike some others this is a well made and versatile addition to your camera kit.

The Good
Great Price
Fully flexible positioning
Easy to carry/store

The Bad
Lightweight build quality
Cheaper rivals available

More info and Purchase

YMing 72 Bulb 8 Mode Warm White Vine-shape Fairy Lights

 

This new and unusual set of Indoor/Outdoor fairy lights from YMing arrived packaged in a robust but attractive box with the light set, set of spare bulbs and a simple one-page User Guide within.

Build quality seems first rate. The is basically a single 2.5M long heavy duty black cable with 72 bright warm white LEDs of three different sizes set into it with a UK plug control box on the end. The cable has several spurs coming off it like branches on a tree to spread the lighting effect. The cable and branches are semi-rigid and can be folded and shaped as desired. The lighting set draws 3.6W in total with a working length of 7.5M (5m cable and 2.5m of bulbs). The light string is rated IP44 which means it can be used outdoors in most weather conditions – normal rain is OK but not water immersion or sustained water jets. My version has just a simple On/Off mode but other versions are available with multiple lighting patterns controlled by a button on the power unit.

It comes with a lengthy 5m power cord which means that it need not be located too near to a power socket, handy when using outdoors. The LED lights are all the same power but in three sizes, – 2.4cm,1.9cm and 1.4cm, 24 of each. I was pleased too that spares bulbs were included, three for each size.

The bulbs are easy to fit outdoors or inside as the semi-rigid cable allows them to be moulded around branches or other items, so no pins or string is needed to keep them in place. The heavy-duty construction makes me hopeful for their long-term use. Once in place, the bulbs really do look good, particularly outside, where the bright and warm light brings the nighttime garden to life.

This is a good quality and well-made set of LED Fairy Lights, perhaps best suited for outdoor use but which can be used with good effect indoors in the right location. The current price of £11.99 is not cheap compared to lesser rivals but you do get what you pay for here.

The Good
Good build quality
IP44 water resistant
Bright display
Attractive warm white
Spare bulbs included

The Bad
Cheaper rivals available
Too bright for some indoor situations

More info and purchase