CMONPAW Dog Harness and Lead Set

Poppy’s chest harness had been getting a bit tight on her for some time as she has put on a bit of weight as she gets older, so it was time to get a new harness. I have tried a few but sizing can be a problem, so I needed to be sure I got one that would fit and this one offered a range of sizing options.

The harness came with an extra-long heavy duty lead and both the lead and harness seem well made, tough, and robust. Although I was careful to measure Poppy before ordering the appropriate size the harness is still rather loose around the neck although it fits here well enough around the chest and feels good and secure. No problems with the build quality, the harness is well made and robust but less bulky and constrictive than some I have seen and seems to do the job well enough. When she is in it she cannot choke herself like she used to with a normal collar, all the strain goes on to her chest and although she can still pull just as hard if not harder than before, she cannot hurt herself. The lead is also very impressive and is thick and strong, with a reinforced and padded grip. An unexpected bonus was the inclusion of a poo bag dispenser clipped to the lead complete with a store of bags.

As time goes on I will adjust the harness more to find the right balance between safety and comfort, too loose and she may escape, too tight and it will be uncomfortable. The harness is easy enough to adjust with buckles for the neck and chest straps. The buckles are lockable, just slide the button to the side to lock and the other way to release, hopefully, this will reduce the possibility of the buckle coming undone when climbing styles or lifting her up. On the safety front, I should also add that there are reflective strips built in to aid nightime walkers and a small mesh harness pocket which can be used for a name tag or contact card.

Priced at £24.76, this set is not cheap but it is perhaps the best I have tried with design, build quality and presentation all better than I expected. You do get a lot for your money and at the end of the day, quality is always worth paying more for.

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Roundhause R’lax Electric Neck and Back Massager

There seem to be plenty of these Shiatsu pillow massagers on the market these days and most of them very similar and at just £32.99 this one is by no means the cheapest. Is it worth the money?

The massager was supplied in an attractive mid-market product box, . Inside the box aside from the massager itself was a UK power supply, car adaptor, and a well printed and easy to read User Guide. I include a copy of the User Guide in my unboxing video.

The device consists of a large and quite heavy four roller mechanism contained in a robust mesh and leather look removable skin. Unlike some more expensive rivals, it lacks the two slings that stretch out either side into which the arms are placed to hold the roller tight to the shoulder and so with this device you have control the massage intensity by simply pushing back onto it. It has a single large control button: On/Off, massage roller direction, heat On/Off. The switch assembly seems well made and has a good positive action although there are no status LEDs. There is also a bright array of red LED’s which light up around the rollers when it is in use and heating selected. On the rear of the unit is an elasticated strap which holds the unit in position on the neck support of your seat. This is a problem as in the home I suspect few of us have suitable high necked chairs but in the car it should work well. In general, the build quality seems very good and the equal of the similar devices from more expensive rivals. It is a pity it is not supplied with a storage bag and the product box is too lightweight for this.

In use it is easy enough, you just rest it on your shoulders, switch on and hold it in place using the rear belt or with the hands. As well as the neck and shoulders it can also be used on the back or indeed any part of the body. It can be quite uncomfortable at times and feels like having two cricket balls pushed into your back but no doubt it is beneficial. It should be noted that the device is by no means lightweight and a person particularly weak or frail could find this problematic. The rollers have a very powerful action which can be controlled only by varying the tension it is held in place or by pressing backwards onto it. The direction of the roller travel can be changed via the control button. The heat action is pleasant and quite pronounced but again cannot be varied other than by turning it off. It will turn itself off after about 15 minutes of continuous use. It comes with a UK power supply but the cable length is far too short and long enough only for use when positioned immediately next to a socket. It is also, bizarrely, provided with a car adaptor for those people needing a massage when travelling. The massage effect is very powerful and once again at least equal to that of the rivals I have tried.

This is a good device, works well and is nicely presented. It is no better (but no worse) than the many rivals available and is priced around the middle of the range. If you need a massager of this type then this would be as good a buy as any.

The Good
Good build quality
Attractive design
Effective massage
Auto-off feature

The Bad
May be too heavy for some users
Short power cable
No storage bag
Single power setting
Single heat setting

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RODE Wireless GO Wireless Microphone System

This wireless microphone system from Rode has become pretty much the go-to system for YouTubers and others seeking a medium price wireless mic set up.

In the box are the receiver, transmitter/mic, TRS cable, 2 USB-C Charging cables, 2 pop filters, a soft carry pouch and a quick start guide. Build quality all seems first rate and clearly built to professional standards. I would have preferred to have a larger carry pouch and a more comprehensive user guide

The transmitter and receiver are pre-paired and will work straight from the box although there is a button for manual pairing if needed. The receiver has a built-in microphone but has a 3.5mm socket for an external mic. The receiver has a DB with three preset attenuation levels for the mic output, although the default setting works fine for me. The receiver also has a small but bright LCD screen that shows audio input (with clipping warning), signal strength, and battery status for both devices. It is perfectly laid out and easy to read at a glance.

Audio quality is excellent. Background noise is almost non existent and the audio signal from the internal mic is excellent too, although perhaps a bit thinner than my choice of wired lav mic (K&F Concept Rechargeable Lapel Microphone). I have tested the Rode against a £65 budget rival, the KIMAFUN 2.4G Wireless Microphone System, and found the background noise from the cheaper system to be much higher although the difference is harder to hear when a music track is used.

The transmitter has a standard 3.5mm port to allow an external mic to be used if required, although I do not usually bother. The transmitter clips onto the clothing but is more obtrusive and unwieldy than a conventional lav mic, another reason why some users prefer an external microphone. It has a line of sight range of up to 70m but this can be greatly reduced when objects get in the way or even if the user turns around even when just a few feet away. When the signal is good I have never noticed any dropouts or reduction in audio quality

Battery life is good, a two hour charge will give up to seven hours of use with a clear and easy to see battery status indicator for both units on the receiver screen. I was pleased to see that the latest USB-C standard has been adopted for charging.

This is an excellent system that works perfectly straight from the box with very decent audio quality and minimal system noise. Pricing seems to vary, I paid £135 on Amazon but I have seen it priced as much as £159 there. There are budget rivals but I have yet to find one better and no doubt there are superior high priced systems but they are not an option for me.

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SKYWAY Blue Light Blocking illuminated Reading Glasses

These new glasses from Skyway are something of a bargain. In the past, I have reviewed illuminated reading glasses and Blue Light Blocking glasses but this pair combines both features for just £14.99.

In the plain black presentation box are the glasses themselves, charging cable, cleaning cloth and a soft carry case. Build quality is excellent, the lightweight glasses are tough and robust rather than stylish and the carry case is well made with a spring shut mouth. The glasses and lenses are made from plastic but feel well made and robust enough for prolonged everyday use. To the side of each lens by the hinge is an LED light with behind it a power switch and micro-USB charging port.

Although the lenses are plastic they seem fine to me, with no light loss, no sign of any distortion or aberrations and easy to clean.

Perhaps the main feature of the glasses are the built-in LED lights on each side. The lights, designed to aid with close up work, are separately powered and controlled, each having its own rechargeable battery, micro-USB charging port and power switch incorporated into each arm. The glasses are supplied with an unusual Y cable featuring a standard USB plug on one end and two micro-USB plugs on the other. Should the special cable be lost then of course two normal USB cables can be used. Coloured status LEDs confirm the battery status when plugged in.

The other main selling is the blue light reduction feature.
Artificial lighting, televisions, computers, tablets and smartphones all emit 400–480 nm blue light which can lead to headaches, eye fatigue and can interfere with natural sleep patterns. These glasses block blue light centred at the 410UV point and have the secondary effect of making other colours appear more natural and vibrant. The effect of this is not immediately apparent when first wearing them but the reduced eye strain should be noticed over time.

Cynics out there may wonder if these glasses really do work and so for doubters out there, I have tested them with a blue light kit. This consists of a small blue light emitting torch and a blue light sensitive card. Shine the torch directly onto the card and it at once darkens, when the card clears shine the torch through the glasses lens and the card does not darken, or at least to nowhere near the same degree

Using the glasses is as simple and easy as you might suppose, looking and feeling exactly the same as normal glasses. The glasses are lightweight and comfortable to wear for protracted periods, rather a tight fit, but |I like that. The light switches although small are easy to access when worn with no need to remove the glasses to do so. The illumination from the two LEDs is good and bright but rather tightly focused, a wider light spread would be better for me.

This is a clever and well-made product, nicely presented and available at a very reasonable price.

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Alupper Salt and Pepper Grinder Set

This salt and pepper grinder set from Alupper is of a generic design widely available online under a range of names and prices but otherwise unidentifiable from each other. This particular version is not the cheapest I have seen and arrived poorly presented in a plain white box with no user guide or paperwork of any kind.

The two identical grinders are themselves fine. The build quality is excellent and the devices seem well made and very functional. Each unit has a robust glass base which is unscrewed from the stainless steel top to allow the salt, pepper ort other spice to be inserted. This reveals the grinding mechanism inside the top which can be adjusted to vary the coarseness of the grind.

To use the grinder, simply remove the lid from the top section, upend it and twist the top to allow the ground spice to fall onto the food.

This is an attractive condiment set that works well in the kitchen and is attractive enough for use at the dining table. Priced here at £10.99 exact same set is widely available under different names and prices, so shop around to find the best buy.

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BoYata Hight Adjustable Laptop Stand

Laptop stands tend to fall into two categories, folding stands designed for travel use and more robust unity designed for static use. File this one into type two.

This well made and rather upmarket laptop stand from BoYata is certainly built to last. Made from a heavy-gauge Aluminium alloy it should give stylish support to any laptop between 11-18″.

In the attractive box was the disassembled stand, together with a single page user guide and an Allen key, used to put together the stand.

The stand has a padded shelve with forward facing retaining lip to position the laptop on and soft anti-slip pads on the base. The base is well weighted and even when the laptop is at full elevation it feels stable and secure. Adjusting the height is simply done using a knob on the rear of the stand riser. It can be set anywhere between 9.9 – 18.1 cm and has no preset notches. To maintain the stability of the stand the angle of rake cannot be adjusted and the laptop cannot be tilted forwards or back.

Priced at £29.99, this is not a cheap item, but it has a build quality and premier feel that the cheaper rivals certainly lack. You get what you pay for here.

The Good
Robust Build Quality
Stylish Design
Stable at Full Height

The Bad
Needs Assembly
Not Inexpensive

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Urecity Retro Leather Cosmetic Case

This rather posh cosmetics case from Urecity is not inexpensive at £74.88 for the 10″ model reviewed here but is only £8 more for the 15″ version. At this price, I would expect something out of the ordinary bearing in mind the large number of budget rivals. Is this upmarket case worth the money?

The case arrived in a branded but rather plain heavy-duty box inside of which was a hessian style bag containing the case and a larger and very well printed guide to operating the combination lock.

The case itself certainly does have a quality feel to it lacking in cheaper rivals. It is hand made and with an old fashioned craftsman-like ambience from reinforced leather with solid brass fittings and a large and easy to operate combination lock. My version is in black but a range of other colours is available.

Opening the case reveals the interior which has a large mirror mounted inside the lid, a removable three compartment tray at the top with the below it the main storage area. Along one side of the interior is a full-length elasticated pouch but otherwise, the space is empty and suitable for storing larger objects. The whole interior including the tray is attractively lined with a soft cotton and polyester blend material.

A useful guide to using the combination lock is included but in fact, this is perfectly easy to do. The default password is 0000 and unless you have valuable items inside it is best to keep it in that setting. To set your own combination number, with the lock open simply slide right and hold the brass button, enter your new number and release to set it.

The large handle is made from reinforced PU leather with brass mounts. The corners are reinforced with leather patches hand-stitched and held in place with brass rivets.

The case is both beautiful and strong and well capable of holding a valuable cosmetic kit securely and with style. It is not cheap, either in price or design, but if you want the best you will have to pay for it.

If you travel on the Orient Express, expect to see a case like this.

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MELOPHY Automatic Curling Iron

Priced at £45.99 this new automatic curling iron from MELOPHY is not inexpensive but it has a weighty and upmarket feel to it lacking in cheaper rivals.

In the box are the device itself, hair grip and a well printed and easy to read user guide. Build quality is first rate and this has the feel of a professional level item built for serious use.

The curler has a robust plastic body with a rotating heated curling wand with an anti-scald cap inside the front aperture. The power cable interface with the device offers full 360° cable rotation so the unit can be adjusted to any position in use. At the lower end of the handgrip part of the unit is the power button, long press to turn on or off and short press to select the desired operating temperature, four LEDs above it show the current temperature which can be set between 60℃-220℃. At the top are the two curl rotation buttons, press to select clockwise or anti-clockwise rotation for the curling wand. The unit beeps to confirm a change of status and when the optimum curling time for each temperature has been reached, and whirrs faintly as the wand rotates.

The hair curling process releases negative irons, apparently, and this reduces static and improves the curling process. Also, the unit has a keratin coating which reduces friction and reduces catching and pulling of the hair. I had no idea it was such a scientific process!

Safety is always a worry when working with personal care devices but this one has smart sensors to prevent hair tangles, wand overheating and handset overheating. To release hair when a tangle is detected simply press the rotation button for the opposite direction to the tangle. The unit will also automatically switch off after 45 minutes of use.

Not being a hairdresser myself I cannot comment on how well the device actually works but I can testify to the build quality, design and functionality, all of which seem excellent to me.

I would be happy to purchase this item as a gift and it seems a good buy to me.

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Alupper Bluetooth Selfie Stick Tripod

At £15.99 this is by no means the cheapest selfie stick I have tried but it is reasonably well made and nicely presented.

In the attractive and well-designed box is the Selfie Stick, Bluetooth remote, a screw mount adapter and a small but easy to read user guide. Construction is good but lightweight with the handle and grip made from ABS plastic and the extension rod from a very thin stainless steel. The Bluetooth control button unit slots into the handle and can easily be removed for separate use and to replace the CR1632 battery. The phone clamp folds flush to the body of the unit but take care when doing so as it is vulnerable when left unfolded. Two grips fold up on the clamp to hold the phone and allow the clamp to be opened to grip the phone which then rotates fully up and down and in rotation. Build quality seems fine with nothing looking likely to break, fail or fall off if handled properly.

Using the remote is a simple as you would expect. Set your phone to Pairing Mode, long-press the Selfie Stick button and search for Bluetooth device “Selfie” and pair to it. You can now use the button to remotely control take photos and videos. The button will automatically turn off after ten minutes without use. The seven-stage stainless steel rod extends from 9.5” – 47.2”″ for selfie use with the three legs folding out from the handle to form a base when used in Tripod Mode. Tip: pull the metal stick down to give added stability when in tripod mode, although I found the phone will still wobble around a bit.

This is a good little device, similar to a vast number of others, and no better or worse than they are. If you need a lightweight selfie stick with a Bluetooth shutter release this is not a bad buy.

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ESDDI PLV-R432 18 inch Ring Light

I have tested plenty of small size ring lights before but although they work OK they all lack the professional feel of this 18″ lighting kit from ESDDI.

In the box is everything you need to get the light up and running with your phone. Aside from the light unit itself, there is an extended length power cable with UK plug, lighting stand, phone mount, gooseneck extension mount, carry bag, and a user guide. Build quality is excellent and to the usual ESDDI high standard.

The light unit itself has an external diameter of 45.8 cm and an inner diameter of 31.8 cm, which is large enough to accommodate a full-size DSLR, camcorder or phone in an upright position. The base of the lamp has a standard adjustable mount prefitted in and easily slots in place on top of the light stand. The lamp can be angled forwards or back up to 270 degrees with the gooseneck accessory mount able to give still more.
The lamp has a cold shoe mount on the lower side between the two buttons and another on the top of the unit. There are two metal screw mounts on the rear of the unit. Also on the rear is the large On/Off button and two rotary controls, one for 10-100% stepless dimming and the other for stepless control temperature between 3000K-6500K.

The metal three-stage light stand has large release knobs and extends to a maximum of 1.82M from just 48 cm when collapsed.

In use, the lighting unit is a delight. It is quick and easy to adjust with large rotary pots and a bright and even 4800 lumens display from the 432 LEDs. The light stand, although well made and robust, will wobble when extended, this is no big problem when just the light is mounted but if a full-sized camera is in place you will need to give it time to stop moving. For critical use with a heavy camera, a weightier and more stable tripod would be needed. No screw mount is included and so you will need to provide your own to use it with a camera positioned inside the ring.

The kit is designed to be portable and it will all pack neatly away into the supplied robust carry bag although some additional bubble wrap may be needed to protect the delicate light unit.

Available at £87.99 this is a very good price for a professional level piece of kit.

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