Closemate Mens Ankle Athletic Socks – 5 Pair Pack

A good deal of care and attention has clearly gone into both the manufacture and presentation of this 5-pack of trainer socks. For £11.99 you get 5 pairs of socks of subtly varying design, each individually wrapped and presented in a reusable branded ziplock bag. Included too is a well printed and actually rather useful washing and care guide, which I attach to the end of this video.

They are described as being for men, I suppose due to the size, but of course, taller women might find them just as comfortable as men. They are also listed as sportswear but are soft and comfortable enough for general use by anyone that prefers the low-cut design.

As a runner myself I appreciate good sporting socks although I have to say these are thicker and less elasticated than the running socks I am accustomed to. They are probably better suited to winter runs than summer although they do have wicking to prevent moisture build-up. One handy feature is the small heel tab which makes getting the foot into the shoe rather easier.

The socks are certainly comfortable, warmer than regular sports socks and feel well made with reinforced toes and heels. Hopefully, they will last longer than most of the other sports socks I have used. Made of a cotton/polyester/spandex blend they can be machine washed and tumble dried, but avoid high heat settings.

Despite the low price these are a cut above the average sporting socks and are presented well enough to make them suitable for gifting. Recommended.

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APEMAN C550A Dual Lens Dash Cam

Apeman are perhaps better known for the excellent range of Action Cameras but this new Dash Cam maintains their reputation for quality and at £39.99 is perhaps the lowest priced dual-lens model I have yet tried.

Insurance fraud grows daily and one way of protecting yourself from driving-related scams is to install a dashcam. Dashcams such as this one are positioned discreetly pointing forwards through the front window and record all your driving activity. The dashcam turns on automatically when the car is started and off again a short time after the engine is turned off. It records continuously in short recordings onto a memory card that seamlessly dovetails together when played back. When the card is full the camera records over the oldest recording. A good camera should have a G-Sensor that will automatically flag any recording containing a possible impact and not record over it.

In the box are the front camera, rear camera, fixing kits for each, a mounting tool and a well written and easy to read User Guide. Build quality seems fine, as would be expected from Apeman, with nothing looking likely to fall off or pack in anytime soon. The User Guide is one of the best I have seen: well written, nicely printed and a decent size.

Unlike with many more expensive rivals, there was no SD card and the user must supply their own. This was a pity as everything else was included and the camera will not work without it.

Unlike with most dashcams, this system is supplied with a second small waterproof camera that is attached by cable to the front camera and can be positioned in the back window or above the rear licence plate to continuously record activity behind the car in addition to the forward video recorded by the main camera. The rear camera is connected by a 6M cable to a socket on the main camera. The video from the rear cam can be viewed on and/or recorded by the front camera. The front camera lens has a wider than normal 170° angle of view. The video from both cameras is recorded automatically with a picture in picture or split-screen viewing option available.

Setting it up was not too hard and the menu could be navigated on the bright 2.0-inch screen easily but you should only need to configure it once. Fixing the camera behind the mirror on my Toyota Aygo was easy enough and the cables were easily long enough for both cameras. Fitting the second camera was more of a chore as the cable has to be wound through the car from front to back but once done there should be no need to adjust it again. The rear camera is optional as the main camera will work perfectly well without it.

The device uses a microSD card up to 32GB but makes sure you use a good quality class 10 card from a known manufacturer, Many people blame video failings on the camera when the cause is a cheap or low-end memory card. It is a pity no suitable card was included in the box.

The image quality was excellent for a camera in this price range although in low light conditions the image quality dropped slightly. I include some driving footage on my unboxing video but keep in mind that the uploaded video is compressed greatly so it can serve only to show the brightness and clarity of the video rather than the resolution.

This is a budget-priced dashcam but offers all the features you will need. All you do need is reliable auto On/Off, a decent quality front-facing HD camera with a G-Sensor. Don’t complain about the lack of GPS antenna because although it can be fun at first to trace your route on the map remember that in the event of an incident the police may review all the files on the card and use what they find against you. You can add an Apeman antenna for £13.99 if you feel you need it. It has a microphone which can be useful if you are quick-witted enough to read aloud the numbers of the cars involved. It has parking mode (Motion Detection) but I have never found this to be of much use in any camera due to the delay before recording starts. The only worthwhile feature lacking for me is that of second dual write TF card, handy so you always have a copy of the card handed to the police.

This is a decent quality but well-priced dashcam which should meet all your needs. It is attractive and discreet in appearance and capable of giving good quality results. It has several high-end specialised features not needed for normal use. The price is great given the feature set and the addition of the second camera.

The Good
Great price
Good build quality
Microphone
Parking Mode
Picture in Picture screen
WDR option
GPS Compatible

The Bad
No GPS module
No USB-C
No memory card included
No HDMI port

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AIMASON Wireless Doorbell

This simple one ringer doorbell is priced at just £8.99 and for that, you receive all you will need for a normal sized home or office. In the box are the doorbell, ringer, adhesive pad and screw mounts for the ringer, and a well written and easy to read User Guide.

Build quality seems fine. Everything is made of plastic but feels well well made and robust. Nothing seems flimsy or liable to fail anytime soon. The bell push is IP55 waterproof, which means it is fine even in all but the heaviest rain but does not immerse it in water or train water jets on it. The bell push has a proper clicky easy to see and feel button. The doorbell uses a non-standard 12V/23A battery of a type I have seen before but that is not always easy to find. Remember to take note of the battery model before searching for a replacement. The ringer unit has an integral UK plug and again seems well made and robust. On the side are  Up/Down and Volume buttons to select which of the 55 ringer sounds you want. The tradition Ding-Dong default is still the best in my opinion. On the front of the ringer are bright blue LEDs that illuminate when ringing, handy for the hard of hearing. The LED’s are bright but not too much so, as some rivals are. The ringer unit is not waterproof so don’t be tempted to use it on an outdoor socket. What is the included mini screwdriver used for? It is to prise open the bell push box to access the battery although found using a slightly larger one was easier.

Mounting it was very simple as could be using the double-sided sticky mount. If you plan to mount onto an uneven surface then pre-cut screw holes are available and a screw kit provided. The range is the more than adequate for most situations at up to 300M being claimed and I have no reason to doubt this. The unit is already paired but it can be done again if necessary if the pairing is lost. To select a ringer tone just press a volume button on the receiver to scroll through the 55 available tones. To set the volume just press the volume button to select which of the five volume levels you want.

This simple and easy to fit little doorbell should be perfect for a small house or flat. The bargain price this harder still to resist.

The Good
300M range
Great price
Good build quality
Easy to configure
Excellent User Guide
Battery pre-installed

The Bad
Non-standard battery

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Nooie OutDoor Camera IPC200

There was a time when outdoor security cameras were big, bulky, hard to set up and with grainy images, low resolution and out of often out of focus. Those days have gone and the latest cameras are like this one, small, discreet, easy to set up with high-quality video. Gone too are the high prices, and except for high-end big-name market leaders prices have fallen as much as quality has risen. This camera is small, discreet and very stylish and has the sort of looks and presentation that used to only come from Silicon Valley startups. Although listed as an Outdoor Camera it is small and neat enough to fit in many indoor locations.

It has a rather basic looking silk white plastic finish but nevertheless, the build quality seems good. On the front is the lens with Night Vision LEDs, a multi-coloured LED to show Wifi and power status and the microphone opening. On the rear is the power in port and a grommet protected recess holding the micro-SD card slot and reset button. A UK plug USB adapter is included but it will work with any standard USB socket. Sadly, there is no Ethernet port and so wifi is the only way to connect the camera to your network. A ball and socket mount is permanently attached with a wall bracket mounting kit supplied.

The first thing to do is to download and install the Nooie Cam app for Android or iOS, I tested using the Android app. You have to register the app before use but doing so is free and you can use a disposable email address to do so. Take note to ensure the phone used to configure the camera is connected to a 2.4Ghz network, not 5Ghz. After installing and registering the app and plugging in the camera follow the in-app instructions to add a new camera. After inputting your home wifi details the app generates a QR code which the camera reads to configure it for your network. After a while – sometimes several minutes – the camera will connect to your home wifi network and you can control it through the app. The app can be used to control multiple cameras across the nooie range. Unlike with older cameras, there is no web-based interface so you cannot connect directly to the camera using your web browser.

This model has a clean 1080P image quality which is clearly not the upscaled 720p of some lesser rivals. Video quality is one of the best I found for this price bracket. Unlike with older budget security cameras, this one boasts an i/r cut filter which when not needed removes the night time infrared filter to ensure good colour fidelity daytime images. It supports two-way audio which means it serves well as a general-purpose communications Monitor.

h the lack of audio in/out ports means external hardware cannot be used to improve the rather tinny audio quality. The camera is rated IP66 weatherproof which means it should be fine with anything short of water immersion.

It has motion and audio detection alerts with object tracking and it can capture images and send real-time alerts to the phone app as it records pictures and video to the micro SD card. If you use an SD card (none is provided) make sure you use a Class 10 card – the card must be able to cope with the high-speed data stream from the camera otherwise the results will be jittery and poor. Unlike many lesser rivals, a card as large as 128gb can be used. There is also the option to save images automatically to the cloud but that is an inexpensive paid service.

This is a high-quality security camera capable of excellent results. The £34.99 price is brilliant for the features on offer and allows me to overlook the lack of web-based User Interface and lack of an Ethernet port.

The Good
Stylish design
Great price
Night Vision
Motion detection alarm
In-app real-time push alerts
Two-way audio
SD card slot

The Bad
No 5Ghz wifi support
No audio output port
No audio in port
No Ethernet Port
No Web Interface

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EKSA E900 Gaming Headset

This new gaming headset from EKSA put the emphasis where it should be – on audio quality and wearability. The headset lacks novelties and gimmicks and goes back to basics with a standard audio jack and no irritating lights or vibration engines.

In the box can be found the headset, plug-in mic with a detachable pop filter, Audio cable splitter, an attractive and well made soft carry bag, User Guide and some promotional materials. Build quality seems fine and although the headset is quite lightweight nothing seems likely to fail anytime soon. That said, watch out for the thin wire that feeds each earcup.

The headset is nicely made, seems robust and strong, and quite attractively designed compared to some gamer headsets I have tried – which is not saying much. It is nicely padded with on both the earcups, which are of the over-ear type and on the headband. It is comfortable and easy to wear even for long gaming sessions. The headset has a traditional 3.5mm plug but an adapter is included to split the signal when separate audio in and audio out feeds are needed. The large and easy to use In-Line Control Box has a microphone mute switch along with a thumbwheel to control the audio volume.

What about the sound?
The audio quality is actually rather good and worthy of the slightly higher price of this unit. There is plenty of bass, not so much as to be overpowering, with the mid and higher frequencies being clear and well defined without being too sharp or abrasive. When both gaming and listening to music it is becomes a very immersive and enjoyable experience. From a pure gaming viewpoint the lack of direct talkback through the console is a drawback but the fine sound quality and ease of use for general music playing more than makes up for it.

The compact microphone stalk is very flexible and can be easily folded out of the way or unplugged. The mic is sometimes muffled in use but fine for talkback use.

This is a large and well-made set of headphones described as being for gamers but really they are fine for general purpose listening with a full and rich sound not often found at this price. If you are a serious gamer, particularly a console user then my advice would be to walk away. If you are looking for a budget headset for music, PC Gaming and general use then this would be a decent buy at £29.99.

The Good
Good sound
Great price
Good build quality
Comfortable to wear
Detachable Mic
Audio/Mic Splitter
Adjustable mic position
Passive noise reduction

The Bad
Vulnerable Exterior Headset Wire
Microphone Slightly Muffled
USB Adapter Needed For some gaming consoles

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Abida Non-Slip Yoga Socks

For just £14.99 you receive three pairs of well made and comfortable Yoga socks.

What are Yoga Socks?
Well, Socks to do Yoga in, of course, but being somewhere between a slipper and sock they are also perfect for lightweight wear around the house and light indoor exercise, but don’t try and play Rugby in them or dig the garden. They look elegant and not cheap and nasty as might be expected for the price.

Made from 95% recycled cotton with added nylon and spandex for elasticity these socks are hand or machine washable and come in a range of muted colours. Build quality seems fine with a non-slip silica gel mottled sole, elasticised straps and an overall stretchiness that will fit most sizes. For what they are they seem well made and not likely to wear out too soon if properly cared for (remember what I said about digging the garden).

If you need a pair of lightweight indoor slippers or something to wear for your Yoga sessions then, for the price, I doubt you will do better.

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APEMAN ID75 1080P Baby Monitor WiFi Camera

Although having a fairly traditional PTZ cam appearance, in fact, this new budget camera from APEMAN has the latest updated technology within. Listed as a Baby Monitor, it can be used as a general-purpose IP security camera.

It has a silk finished and rather lightweight black body but nevertheless, the build quality seems good. On the front is the lens, the microphone opening. Night Vision Sensor and on the bottom the micro-SD card slot – scroll the lens up to access it. On the rear is the recessed micro-USB power in port, status LED and easy access reset button. A UK plug USB adapter is included but it will work with any standard USB socket. Sadly, there is no Ethernet port and so wifi is the only way to connect the camera to your network. On the base is the screw mount for the wall/ceiling mount.

The first thing to do is to download and install the Tuya Smart app for Android or iOS, I tested using the Android app. You have to register the app before use but doing so is free and you can use a disposable email address to do so. Take note to ensure the phone used to configure the camera is connected to a 2.4Ghz network, not 5Ghz. After installing and registering the app and plugging in the camera follow the in-app instructions to add a new camera. After inputting your home wifi details the app generates a QR code which the camera reads to configure it for your network. After a few seconds, the camera will connect to your home wifi network and you can control it through the app or with Google Home and Alexa. The app can be used to control multiple cameras and is simple and intuitive to use. Unlike with older cameras, there is no web-based interface so you cannot connect directly to the camera using your web browser. I found the camera will also work with the Smart Life app but the camera seems not to be recognised by Alexa this way. In general, I have to say the app offers a very full range of options and settings for the camera and is easy and intuitive to use.

This model has 1080P @25fps image quality which is clearly not the upscaled 720p of some lesser rivals. Video quality is one of the best I found for this price bracket. Unlike with older budget security cameras, this one boasts an i/r cut filter which when not needed removes the night time infrared filter to ensure good colour fidelity daytime images. It supports two-way audio which means it serves well as a Baby Monitor although the lack of audio in/out ports means external hardware cannot be used to improve the rather tinny audio quality.

It has motion and audio detection alerts with object tracking and it can capture images and send real-time alerts to the phone app as it records pictures and video to the phone, micro SD card or cloud. If you use an SD card (none is provided) make sure you use a Class 10 card – the card must be able to cope with the high-speed data stream from the camera otherwise the results will be jittery and poor. Unlike most cameras, this one can take cards up to 64Gb in size. There is also the option to save images automatically to the cloud but which is an inexpensive optional paid service. There is no option to link it to Amazon Alexa or Google Home.

This is a high-quality security camera capable of excellent results. The £22.49 price is brilliant for the features on offer and allows me to overlook the few things it does lack.

The Good
Stylish design
Great price
Night Vision
Motion detection alarm
Great App
In-app real-time push alerts
Two-way audio
SD card slot
Standard micro-USB power interface
Works Alexa/Google

The Bad
No 5Ghz wifi support
No audio output port
No audio in port
No Ethernet port
No Web Interface

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