Vindany 300 LED Curtain Lights

I have tried plenty of curtain lights in the past and although they have all looked very pretty once in place they were a nightmare to set up, one and all, since they all used ultra-thin copper wire that only needed to be looked at to get into an impenetrable tangle. Less so here, and this set looks better too.

This lighting kit consists of ten 10 LED hanging strings, each string having 30 warm white LEDs. The set is USB or battery powered (three AA’s) with a button on the USB plug to scroll through the light options and power the unit off. A credit card size remote control is provided which allows the eight lighting modes and ten-level dimming to be selected or the unit switched on/off. Unlike cheaper rivals, this set has a thick anti-tangle main wire and good robust hooks to support the strings. A short and to the point User Guide is also provided.

These lights can be used outdoors and are rated IP65, which means they should be fine outdoors even in a wet UK winter. That said, I would think it would be wiser to run them from batteries or a power bank when outdoors.

Setting the lights up is far easy than with the copper wire rivals but by no means exasperation free. The thicker support wire does make the job far easier as it does the job of taking the kit down again and folding it up for storage. Here is a tip: the best way to erect or take the lights down is to do it slowly and carefully, string by string, winding each string around your fingers into a loop and securing it with a bag tie. Any other way will only lead to madness, confusion and sorrow without end.

Once up the glowing, warm white lights really do look fantastic and a step up from the simple copper wired twinklers, too good to save just for Christmas!

For the £11.98 price, this is a great buy.

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BENMA Glass Solar Lanterns – 2 Pack

This very attractive pair of solar lanterns arrived very well packaged indeed, as they need to be being made almost entirely from crystal glass. I bought mine from Amazon in Germany, which has free shipping to the UK for Prime members, and they arrived here in perfect order.

Each lantern has a clever pattern of light-diffusing panels which makes for spectacular effects in the dark in the right location. The lanterns come with a rustic style string from which to suspend them and a removable plastic lid with the solar panel on the top and the single extra bright LED and power Off/On switch on the underside.

I found the lanterns looked best when either on the ground on a plain surface or just a few feet off the ground to get the best light-diffusing effect. The built-in light sensor will turn the unit on at dusk and off again at first light, Eight to twelve hours of sunlight should give around eight to ten hours of illumination. Like with many solar panels be sure to keep the switch to the on position at all times when in use it will not charge when set to off.

This is a delightful and unusual set of solar lights and at the price of less than £20, rather a good buy

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PIHEN HDMI Video Capture Card

Often video capture cards come with built-in problems but not so for me with this new card from PIHEN. I just followed the user guide and it all worked a treat for me.

Priced currently at £69.99 this capture card is not an inexpensive item but it is far less costly than many of the better-known rivals. Of course, that is no saving if the product is no use but in fact, I was very pleased with this one.

In the rather basic product box the capture device itself, a USB 3 to USB 3 cable, a USB to USB-C adapter, and a well written and nicely printed User Guide. The Capture Card itself is made from brushed aluminium alloy, with on one side two HDMI ports and on the other USB 3, two 3.5mm audio ports and a status LED. Build quality feels fine and externally there is nothing that can break or fall off.

The point of this device is to stream video from any HDMI source at up to 4K to a PC or other capture device using a USB 3 interface at a maximum speed of 1080p@60fps. Note that the device converts the video and does not render it and this needs to be done by the capture device. If the processing power on the capture device is not sufficient there will be stuttering, dropouts and other issues in the recorded file.

For testing purposes, I connected my Roku 3 streamer to the capture card and the card to my Windows 10 PC. I used AMCap v9.23 software. Remember to select the right audio and video sources both with the software and the computer Operating System. It should work equally well with other software, including that suggested in the User Guide, and with any HDMI streaming device. I followed all the instructions in the User Guide and, yes, it worked the first time. I also tried it with VLC media player, which offers many more recording options, but it did not work so well, probably due to fiddling too much with the many options available. No drivers were needed on my Windows 10 PC and it worked straight from the box.

Remember that the quality of the final recorded file will in large part depend on the capability of your computer to render the video.

This is an excellent device that worked well for me and with far fewer problems configuring it than I expected.

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Aogled Natural Daylight Lamp JSK-40 31

This new 10000 Lux Daylight Lamp from Aogled can be used in SAD treatment therapy, as a general-purpose light about the house, as a photo or video light or indeed anywhere where precise light output is needed.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a recognised and well-documented type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. With SAD, symptoms start in the autumn and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Treatment for SAD may include light therapy (phototherapy), medications and psychotherapy.

This is where this light comes in.

In the box are the lamp, UK power lead and a large and well-written User Guide. The lamp has three touch controls on the front panel for brightness, colour temperature and a timer. There is an adjustable kickstand on the back. Build quality is fine, everything seems well made and robust and with nothing looking likely to fail anytime soon.

The idea is that you sit in front of the lamp for set periods with the lamp set to either 6000k simulated daylight or at any setting you prefer for general use. The light can be switched from daylight, to normal or to warm white at 5 brightness levels and there is a built-in timer to control the operating time. The unit has a fully adjustable kickstand which slots into the body when not in use to adjust the positioning angle of the lamp. The well-sized and well-marked buttons make operating the unit a breeze. The large, well written and easy to read User Guide advises on the optimum distance to sit from the lamp and for operating times needed for most effective use.

The unit is mains powered and comes with a UK power supply with a hard-wired power cord somewhat shorter than I would have liked. It is a pity there is no built-in battery or remote control to enhance ease of use, but no matter, all the key features needed are found here.

If you find yourself depressed and down at heel during the winter months maybe this £39.99 lamp may be just what you need.

The Good
Good Build Quality
Good price
Easy to Operate
Good User Guide

The Bad
No Carry Case
No Remote Control

Music: YouTube Audio Library: Slynk: X Ray Vision

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HOOBAY LED Recessed Ceiling Spotlight Set

This six-piece downlighter set from HOOBAY is well made, robust, and easy to install and belies the low price of £26.99.

The kit arrived in a well labeled and nicely designed product box with all the important information about the contents clearly given. Inside were the six separately bagged downlights each with two core cable attached hard wired to a super easy to use wiring connector. A small but nicely printed and well-designed User Guide is included.

Build quality could really not get better as each of the 7w 630 lumens LED lights are made of resin and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (whatever that is) and feels like a quality piece of high-end kit. The IP44 water-resistant lights are good and bright and should be able to cope with high ceilings and large floor spaces. The 6000k cool white non dimmable lights are warm white and are good and bright at 630 lumens each with a beam angle of 160 °. One major selling point for me as they are designed to work directly with UK mains power with no transformer needed.

To fit each unit a circular hole of 80mm-95mm diameter must be made to allow the 75mm light rear panel to pass through and ensure you have a working depth of at least 40mm on the other side. The light unit is itself 37mm thick with an external diameter of 107mm, so the more working space the better. After connecting and testing the wiring to each light the unit can just be carefully pushed through the holes with the metal retaining clips expanding to hold it in place.

This a superior product that is well made, very functional, and nicely presented. When properly fitted it should give years of service for a very reasonable price.

The Good
Great Build Quality
Easy Wiring
Great price
IP44 Water Resistant
No Transformer Needed
Bright, Cool White

The Bad
Not Dimmable

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Victure WE1200 dual Band WiFi Booster

This new dual-band wifi signal booster from Victure, as with all products in the Victure range, is nicely presented, easy to use and works well. There are plenty of rivals out there, some cheaper and some dearer, but this one is well priced at £30.59 and gets the job done with a minimum of fuss and bother.

In the box is just the range extender itself together with a well written and easy to read User Guide.

The point of a device such as this is to boost the range of your wifi network either to extend the range or to target it to a black spot or area of poor reception. To do this you have to position the range extender midway between the router and the area you need to cover, do not place it actually within the black spot or too close to the end of the current wifi network. It needs to boost and extend an existing good signal, not struggle to detect a poor one.

This device works on both the older 2.4Ghz band and the newer, faster but less powerful 5Ghz band and can boost either signal. The booster can be used either as a wifi extender or as an Access Point to give a wireless connection to an existing wired network.

Setting the device up as a range extender can be done either by pressing the WPS buttons on the extender and allowing them to connect automatically or using a phone or computer to set up manually. I show how to do this in my unboxing video but put simply, just plug in the range extender and wait for the front LED to flash red and connect to the wifi network it generates and then just follow the instruction on the page which should automatically pop up. If you need to configure it entirely manually, let the network start and connect to by going to 192.168.10.1 with your web browser.

To connect to it as an access point, connect the device to your router or modem using an ethernet cable and proceed as before. You will be presented with a web page asking you if you wish to configure the device as a range extender or Access Point.

When accessing the web portal using your browser a wide range of detailed settings can be configured and the network performance monitored. However, most users will never need that and hopefully once configured that first time there will be no need to worry about it again.

Performance seems fine and the device does the job well. Frankly, I have found most network extenders of this sort to be pretty much of a muchness and this one performs just as well as any of them but offers an ease of setup and well-designed web interface which many lesser rivals do not.

This is a decent quality range extender, well made, works well, versatile and easy to use with not much not to like.

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PowerLead Wireless Mobile Game Controller

Priced at just £20.99 this new mobile game controller from Powerlead makes gaming on the smartphone an easier and more enjoyable experience. With a Bluetooth connection, it will work with any Android 6 or higher phone and any iPhone running iOS between v 11.3 and 13.4.

In the branded mid-market box can be found the controller, detachable phone clamp, charging cable and a well written and informative User Guide. The phone clamp can be easily unclipped to allow easier use with a tablet or other larger devices. All the usual buttons, D-Pad and joystick are here and work smoothly and well. Build quality seems fine with nothing looking likely to fail anytime soon.

Bluetooth pairing with my Android 10 phone was quick and easy with auto-pairing working well subsequently. Charging the built-in 380 mAh Lithium Battery takes an hour or so and after that up to ten hours of gaming can be had. No dedicated charging cable is needed as it uses a standard micro-USB port.

The device will work straight from the box with many games and other game-specific key mappings made using the downloadable ‘ShootingPlus V3″ app. When starting a new game I just test all the buttons to see which ones work and what they do.

All the controls fall naturally to the fingers and when gaming with headphones on the experience is an immersive one. When gaming is done the unit will switch off after five minutes of inactivity.

This is a great way to improve the mobile gaming experience and at a price that will not break the bank.

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Victure VD300 Video Doorbell (Wired Version)

This newly updated budget-priced alternative to the Big Name video doorbells offers all the features you need: good quality 1080p video, live streaming, two-way audio, motion detection etc. It serves perfectly well as a video intercom and home security camera.

Inside the low key but the attractive box is a wall mounting kit, hardwiring kit, 16gb micro-SD card, charging cable, two 18650 rechargeable batteries, and a well written and easy to read User Guide. Build quality seems fine and the unit is rated as IP65 waterproof, which means it should be fine in all UK weather. All you need to set it up is here in the box and you should be able to get it up and working in just a few minutes.

Configuring the system is easy enough using either of the two methods offered by the CloudEdge app which has to be registered with an email address before use. It is a pity it does use the same app used by the rest of the Victure video security camera range. When configuring it make sure your phone is connected to a 2.4ghz network and is using the Doorbell hotspot method make sure that your phone has not defaulted back to the home network. Also, during my tests with this method I found that the doorbell had already connected in the background to my home wifi before the connection wizard had completed, so check for this if you have a problem. When connected correctly you will get a steady blue light on the doorbell status LED ring.

The doorbell can be powered either by the two supplied 18650 rechargeable batteries or using a mains adapter kit. The battery option is the quickest and easiest but does mean you will have to rely on your phone for alerts rather than your existing wired ringer.

The quality of both the video and audio is excellent and the delay between ringing the doorbell and the chime ringing is low with an alert message popping up on your phone screen almost as fast. The app records all events and will record pictures and images both to the app itself, the optional cloud storage or to the supplied 16gb micro-SD card inside the unit. You can also have a two-way conversation with no need to press a Talk button. The only real criticism I have is the lack of integration with Alexa, Google Home and IFTTT.

This new version of the Victure doorbell has a few minor tweaks to the hardware and software, is less expensive than previous versions and comes with a hardwiring kit, previously an add-on buy, but it omits the external ringer and UK power adapter included previously.

Currently riced at just £72.24, this is a compelling alternative to the more costly Big Name market leaders.

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HANPURE USB Party Lights 3 pack

I was not really sure just what this product was until it arrived and I was very pleasantly surprised when it did.

In the box were three smaller boxes each containing one USB party light and adapters for USB-C, Micro-USB and Lightning sockets. No user guide or other paperwork was included and none needed. Build quality seems fine and far better than the £11.99 price would suggest.

Just plug the lights into any available USB port – including that on your phone – and the light will start immediately, scrolling through 7 light modes with patterns triggered by sound. So far as I know there is no way to manually select individual modes.

Remember to set your Android phone to OTG mode before plugging in the light. The method of doing so may vary according to which version of Android you have, my video shows me enabling it on my Android 10 phone.

The lights are far brighter and the patterns far more dramatic than I was expecting and just one is bright enough to light up a small to medium-sized room. These lights are far more than the throwaway novelty I was expecting. They would be great fun for use at parties or festivals when plugged directly in your phone and are small and neat enough to be used almost anywhere at home.

This set of three USB powered mini party lights is a great buy for the price and worth the price alone for the three sets of USB adapters included in the pack.

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HYLOGY Pulse Oximeter MD-H10

Now reduced in price this premium Pulse Oximeter from Hylogy is very similar to others in the Hylogy range and indeed to almost every other Pulse Oximeter available and works just as well. The differences I could see between this and the cheaper rivals are the slightly larger body and screen size, multicolour screen, the inclusion of a carry case, and a better build quality giving a more high-end feel.

It sports a bright and easy to read LED display and gives you an almost instant reading of your SpO2 levels – the oxygen saturation level of your blood – as well as your pulse on a bright and easy to read LED screen together with alerts for abnormal readings.

In the box are the Oximeter itself, lanyard, carry case, User Guide and two AAA batteries.

The easy to read colour screen shows the spo2 reading, numeric real-time pulse, throbbing heartbeat icon, pulse waveform graph, pulse bar graph, and the current battery level. To the right of the screen is the single control button. Press the button to turn the oximeter on and begin reading, press and hold to mute the beep sound, which beeps during reading and louder when an abnormal reading is taken. The device turns itself off 8 seconds after the finger is removed.

Using it could not be simpler. Turn it on and insert your forefinger, nail side up and press the button by the screen. The oximeter beeps and then display your spo2 and pulse readings in real-time. Should either reading be abnormal then an alert will sound.

So what does it do?

It works by passing a beam of red and infrared light through a pulsating capillary bed in the fingertip below the nail. The ratio of red to infrared blood light transmitted gives a measure of the oxygen saturation of the blood. The oximeter detects the pulse and then subtracts the intensity of colour detected when the pulse is absent. The remaining intensity of colour represents only the oxygenated red blood. This is displayed on the electronic screen as a percentage of oxygen saturation in the blood.

The purpose of pulse oximetry is to check how well your heart is pumping oxygen through your body. It may be used to monitor the health of individuals with any type of condition that can affect blood oxygen levels. Normal Peripheral oxygen saturation readings should lie in the 85-100 range and the device will alert you if the reading is out of that range, although the device can be configured for custom alert levels.

I have no way of checking the accuracy of the results but equally have no reason to doubt them and found the readings to be as I expected and consistent.

The device is well made and has an attractive professional look to it as well as being both the fastest and easiest to use oximeter I have yet tried. The £19.99 price is less than many rivals and that together with the attractive design and the presentation makes it a very decent buy.

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