Dericam W3 1080p Webcam

This is an excellent quality, budget-priced webcam that offers all the features you need for basic desktop and Skype use.

The camera arrived in a plain, simple and surprisingly small product box. Inside was the camera itself, optional lens cover, microphone, and a well printed and easy to read User Guide. Build quality seems fine with nothing looking likely to fail anytime soon.

The full User Guide is longer than I expected but includes setup details for older Windows versions unneeded for most users. For what I wanted from the camera it could not have been more simple. I plugged the camera into my Windows 10 PC and it was instantly recognised with no drivers or software needed. The Windows Camera app allowed me to configure it, with some reduced resolution options available, although the default settings were fine for me.

The camera itself is small and lightweight, with an optional sticky-backed physical cover for the lens. The versatile mount can be used to position the camera securely to the top of the computer monitor, as a self-supporting desktop stand, or using the screw hole to any standard tripod mount. When on a tripod the camera can be rotated through 90 degrees using the camera mount and slid from side to side. The screw mount is metal and so will not degrade over time if regularly used for tripod mounting. The hard-wired USB cable appears to be the standard 2M in length but it is a pity it is not longer. There are no physical controls to vary focus or exposure but they can be changed using the software.

Both video and audio quality are fine for the price point. Video is clear and sharp at all resolutions, all at 30fp/s. Audio quality is OK too from the internal microphone but may need some tweaking for best results, although most serious user will use an external microphone. Manual focus and exposure control are possible but this has to be done through the software being used.

If you want a decent quality webcam for Skype or other streaming purposes then you would have to go a long way to find a better one than this for the price. There are plenty of cheaper rivals available but I suspect few offer the high-quality video of this one.

The Good
Good price
Good Build Quality
Plug and Play
Good video Quality
Rotatable Mount
Optional Lens Cover
Good User Guide

The Bad
No Manual Focus Dial
Hard Wired Cable
Cable rather Short
30fps Only

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KIMAFUN Wireless Microphone System

This is perhaps the easiest to use wireless mic system I have ever used and at £42.49 one of the most economic considering what you get for your money. The easy to use kit is aimed at YouTubers and smartphone users and gives all you need to start using it right there in the box.

In the box are a headset Mic, clip-on Lavalier mic, transmitter with belt clip, receiver, 4 pop filters (2 are prefitted), plug adapter, Y cable splitter, dual charging cable and a well written and easy to read User Guide. No batteries are needed as the transmitter and receiver are both rechargeables. Build quality seems fine with nothing looking likely to fail or break.

Using the device could not be simpler. After charging the transmitter and receiver, pair the two together by turning the switch on both two the ON position. The blue LED on each device will flash briefly and then remain on when paired,m a process which takes no more than a second or two. Plug the receiver into the mic or mic/headset port of your camera or phone and your microphone into the transmitter. A three-hour charge should give you at least six hours of sustained use. You can use either of the supplied mics or any other suitable microphone. You may need to adjust the volume control on the transmitter for best results, this is important but allows you to use a wide range of mics. The system should work with almost any camera, computer or stage show setup and an adapter is provided for 6.35mm large-format jack sockets. Keep in mind to check your hardware does not need more than 15w of power, so it will not work with small Bluetooth speakers, for example.

The sound quality was fine and I detected no drop-outs or interference but I did find it important to set the volume control on the transmitter correctly to avoid clipping when set too high or background noise when too low. That aside, this device could not be easier to use and once set up it can just be plugged in and used with no further configuration each time.

If you are a YouTuber, filmmaker, produce presentations or stage shows, this might well be just what you need.

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Mpow 40W SoundHot B4 SoundBar

 

 

This SoundBar is designed more for computer use than for the home theatre, although it will work with any Bluetooth, 3.5mm jack, or USB audio input. The stying of the unit too is perhaps designed with the computer in mind with large top-panel controls and a bright blue volume control status light. It looks good position below my PC with the main controls large and easy to get to.

In the box were the SoundBar, micro-USB charging cable, audio cable and a well written and easy to read User Guide. Build quality seems fine, the device seems very robust with nothing to much to break or fail.

The front of the device is plain with nothing visible other than the speakers dimly behind grill covering the whole front panel. On the rear is a bay with USB port , TF Card slot, 3.5mm audio in, charging status LED and a standard micro-USB power in port. I was pleased to see that a standard USB cable can be used, a pleasing change from rivals using a non-standard and hard to replace cord. On top are large, easy-access controls chrome effect buttons for mode selection (USB, TF Card, Aux, Bluetooth), track selection and play/pause/Calls. The small microphone hole is here too. There is also a large silver knurled rotary knob to turn the device on/off and adjust the volume. This knob has a pleasing if rather bright blue recessed status light which flashes to indicate Bluetooth pairing.

The unit claims a 40W output and for the size, it packs quite a punch but with bass response limited by the size of the device at 73 x 63 x 451 mm reflected too in the weight of just 09Kg. For the size, it must be said the sound output is pretty impressive.

For me, the main feature is the use of Bluetooth 5 technology, the first time I have tried it in a soundbar. Bluetooth 5 is a big step forward and gives easier pairing, reduced lag, greater range and a more stable connection. Certainly, I found pairing could not be easier and with none of the usual latency found with older Bluetooth devices.

For the £39.99 price (at the time of writing with a further £10 Amazon discount) this is a very decent addition to you home computer office setup.

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Mersoco Bluetooth Suitcase Turntable M435

This very attractive and nicely designed new record player from Mersoco can be used as a stand-alone way of revisiting your old discs using the built-in speakers or with an existing audio system connected either through the standard 3.5mm headphone jack or using the rear stereo RCA Phono ports. The unit comes with RCA and audio cables supplied along with a UK plug power supply and a well written and easy to read User Guide. The body of the device is well made, stylish and robust, although the turntable itself feels a bit lightweight.

The damped turntable has a decent quality belt drive inside and a soft touch tonearm mechanism on the outside. It supports 7, 10, and 12″ discs at 33, 45 and 78 speeds. Unusually for a retro player it also supports Bluetooth audio in, so you can play music from your phone or tablet on it. Annoyingly, there is no Bluetooth Out, so external BlueTooth speakers cannot be used. Although there is a blanked off USB port on the rear unlike with some more costly rivals this player does not export digitised audio.

It has built-in speakers and although the sound is loud, bright and well defined it does lack bass.. The integral speakers are fine for monitoring use or when top audio quality is not needed. For serious listening, external speakers or a HiFi system can be attached. When connected to a good quality external system the sound quality is perfectly fine . The device does look good, with a 1950’s retro feel to it and can play almost any form of record thrown at it, including shellac 78’s, old jukebox 45’s missing the centre spindle and more modern 12″ 45rpm singles.

For the £33.99 this is an excellent buy and an inexpensive way of breathing new life into an old record collection.

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DARMAI Electric Can Opener

 

This deceptively simple device makes opening cans a simple one-handed operation. It takes a little get used to at first but once you get the hang of it nothing could be simpler.

In the plain and unbranded box along with the can opener was a useful three page User Guide, well written and easy to read.

Using the device is perfectly simple. Just place the unit on top of the can and press it inwards until you feel it touch the can lip. Then press and hold the large button until the motor starts and the cutting blade engages. The device will then rotate around the can until it is fully open and the motor turns off automatically. The lid is retained magnetically to the opener to prevent it falling into the can. Should a dented or non-standard can cause the device to stall, or if the batteries fail in mid operation then use the small button on the underside of the unit to engage reverse mode or turn the quick release screw by the blade to release manually.

Priced at £16.99, this would be a great buy for general household use and particularly for the elderly, infirm or anyone that finds using an old-style can opener a problem.

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Tintec LED Illuminated Magnifying Glass

This handy little device will be a boon to anyone working with small hard to see items or with poor eyesight needing a boost. This lens set allows you to get a clearer view and to work hands-free.

The set consists of the lens with built-in LED lights, handle, crocodile grip flexible mount, charging cable, lens protection bag, cleaning cloth and User Guide. Build quality seems fine throughout with nothing looking likely to break or fail anytime soon. It is a pity no case for the complete set was included but the soft bag will protect the lens and perhaps the handle too.

Optically the lens seems fine with no distortion when viewed at directly although with the expected distortion when viewed obliquely from an angle. When used with the illumination from the six LEDs placed around the lens lighting is bright but not overpowering and with a good, even well-focused medium cool light spread.

Charging time is around six hours for the integral 180mAh Lithium battery and can be done using the supplied cable to any USB outlet. The status LED next to the port changes from red to green when charging is complete.

Priced at £21.99 just well made and cleverly designed lens set seems a very decent buy.

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Neewer 38-60cm Wall Mounting Boom

I needed an overhead mount for a ring light to reduce space in my already cluttered office and a simple wall mount such as this seemed the best solution. The first boom arm I bought, which was from a rival company, proved to be useless as the arm wobbled slightly on the base and so it was sent back. No such problems with this one from Neewer.

The boom arm is made almost entirely from metal with stainless steel used for the screw and bracket assembles although the large locking grips are made from plastic. The boom arm comes with a universal adapter to allow for different fittings to be attached. Also included is a set of screws and wallplugs which I found to be nowhere near strong enough to support the unit. The bracket is attractively designed and well made with no sign of wobble at the base or slipping at the end bracket. There is a small pass-through mount on the base for cables.

Fitting the unit was not quite so easy as I expected. I was mounting it to my office wall, which modern stud mounted type. The supplied screws and wall plugs were not suitable and nowhere near up to the task but possibly might have been suitable if used with a brick or stone wall. I bought some specialised metal plugs which opened out into the space behind the thin wall and then screwed in place to hold the bracket firmly.

Once in place, the boom arm seems good and firm with everything firm and stable with the ring light showing no sign of working loose. It holds my 18″ ring light OK with a GoPro type camera in place but I would not want to mount anything heavier up there and would think twice before extending the arm beyond the minimum length.

This is a decent quality professional piece of kit and aside from the rather feeble screw set is a good buy for £15.59.

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