OMARS Type C USB Hub with RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, VGA, 2 USB 3.0

This is an attractive and stylish professional level product well that matches nicely with the 2016 and later MacBook Pro versions. At the current price of £53.99, reduced we are told from £79.99, it is still not cheap but far cheaper than Apple store rivals. In the attractive mid market box along with the hub itself was a well printed and easy to read User Guide, which I reproduce at the end of my unboxing video and a semi rigid carry case.

Build quality seems first rate and the aluminium body is so light I thought at first it was made of plastic but a quick examination showed this was not the case. It has the following ports: two USB 3, one USB-C, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, VGA I was pleased to see that the Ethernet connection is for a high speed Gigabit LAN and that it has a USB-C passthrough output so other devices can be piggy backed. The power in cable is hardwired and so should disaster strike the cable then the device itself will be for the bin. It is a pity a detachable USB-C cable could not be used in place of it. The carry case supplied is well made, strong and robust and equal in quality to the hub itself.

It was disappointing to see that the maximum power output from the USB 3 hubs is just 0.9A. The output from the USB-C port is only 2A so charging an external phone is possible at normal rates but pass-through charging a Macbook which requires 5A an impossibility. However, it does offer data throughput on both USB ports and video out from the VGA or HDMI ports with 4K available through HDMI. When I tried it the video was clean and stutter free and moving the hub around did not lose the connection.

It has a few drawbacks but nevertheless it is an excellent quality, highly versatile hub that would be a welcome addition to any new MacBook or MacBook Pro user or indeed any device supporting the new USB-C port.

The Good
High end build quality
USB 3 support
USB-C charging port
Gigabit LAN port 2A
Good quality Carry case

The Bad
Hard wired input cable
USB 3.0 0.9A maximum power output
USB-C 2A maximum output
No USB-C data output
No dual monitor support

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Yoleo Portable Mini Blender Mix and Go with 4 Bottles

I have seen quite a few Mix and Go type min-Blenders but this is the first I have seen with four bottles included.

The item arrived packaged in a plain cardboard box and although everything was carefully packed and well protested an attractive product box would make it more attractive as a gift. Inside the box was the blender, two 600ml bottles,two 33ml bottles, four drinking caps, the blending head and a short user guide. The User Guide although large and very easy to read and I enclose a scan of it in my unboxing video.

The build quality seems fine although lightweight, as you would expect for the price. I would have preferred it has the bottles been made of glass but since they are labelled as being for sports use perhaps the lighter weight plastic is better. The 300w motor is more powerful than I expected and easily converted a bowl of ice cubes to snow in my test.

Using the device could not be simpler. Just add the ingredients to the bottle, screw the blender head onto the bottle, fit the bottle to the blender and rotate the bottle clockwise to engage the blending motor and push the switch. The non slip base prevents the unit from sliding around but it is best to keep hold of it just in case. Turn the bottle the other way when done and remove from the blender. Swap the blending head for the bottle drinking head and there you are. Very quick and easy and no awkward blender to was. The bottle can be washed out quickly and easily and the blending head can be rinsed under the tap.

I was very happy indeed with the results which have been blended very well each time I used it. It will even deal with frozen fruit and other hard ingredients with the 300w motor being powerful enough to cope with the relatively small amounts needed for the even the large bottles.

This would be perfect for a person living alone or for athletes needing a quick and easy way to make smoothies, this is a unit ideally suited for a single person or even a single person with a friend since two bottles are provided.

I must say that this little blender although not perfect is very much better than I was expecting for the money, which at just £29.95,has to be a great buy.

The Good
Great price
Attractive design
Powerful motor

The Bad
Poor packaging

 

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Jayfi X1 Bluetooth Headphones,

This new pair of Bluetooth in-ear headphones from Jayfi arrived attractively packaged in an upmarket and stylish box robust enough to use for long term storage of the headset. Inside the box along with the headset was a short USB to micro-USB charging cable, two additional earbud sets of different sizes, two additional sets of wings, a soft carry bag and a User Guide. I include a scan of the User Guide in my unboxing video

Build quality seems excellent. The headset earpieces are a bit larger than the norm and seem very well made and clearly much thought has gone into their design. The earbuds sit comfortably in the ear and the soft wings hold the headset firmly in place which makes it ideal for running. The connecting cable has a rubberised feel to it and is thicker and stronger than others I have tried. The in-line control box has raised buttons which are easy to find and identify by feel. The User Guide is well printed, and easy to read in the unlikely event anybody wishes to do so. The two earbuds are magnetic and can be secured together around the neck when not in use.

Turning now to the sound, I would say it is one of the best I have tried for a in-ear headset in this price range. The bass is very audible and quite punchy. Mid range tones are clear and detailed without being sharp or abrasive and the overall sound is pleasant and easy to listen to. I would have liked more bass but that is a commodity hard to find in these sorts of headsets. However, this headset is described as being for sporting use and for that purpose the sound is more than good enough. It supports the new AptX codec which is great although not the codec is not yet widely supported by phones or other similar devices.

Setting the headset up was easy enough thanks to the excellent User Guide which unlike most was in good English, well printed and easy to read and aided by the status prompts to confirm connection and power . It was easy to pair to my Android phone and once paired the connection seems stable, free from drop outs and automatically reconnected after rebooting. This headset is able to pair to two devices and auto connect to either as required.

I made received a call on the headset and both sides of the conversation found it clear and audible. The pause/play button can be used to end or transfers calls in progress.

This is a good sports headset of above average quality with good build quality, stylish design and good sound quality. Currently priced at £26.99 these are not the cheapest on the market but you would be hard pressed to find a better set for less.

The Good
Great price
Good build quality
APTX codec support
Bluetooth 4.1
Clear and detailed sound
Excellent User Guide
Secure and comfortable fit
Grommet protected charging port

The Bad
No hard carry case

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Senwow 1080P Dash Cam T105

Insurance fraud grows daily 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 dovetail together when played back. When the card is full the camera records over the oldest recording. Having a mass of short video recording files it to make it easier to find the one you need to examine. The camera should have a G-Sensor that will automatically flag any recording containing a possible impact and not record over it.

Dashcam prices seem to be in freefall and whereas at one time you were not able to get a good quality car dashcam for under £150 now prices start at less than £30 and this camera, priced at £51 is no more than mid range. But is it any good.?

Presented in an eco friendly plain box aside from the camera there was a car power adaptor, suction cup and mount, long USB power cable, short USB charging cable, User Guide. Also included and already fitted was a 32GB SD card with a standard sized USB adaptor. The camera body is made from metal, as are the buttons, and all seems well made and robust. The User Guide was nicely printed in colour and well written but brief. I include a copy on the end of my unboxing video, switch to fullscreen and pause as needed to read it.

The camera has a built in Night Vision LED. Personally, I find these worse than useless as they can cause flare from the widscreen at night. Turn it off. On the good side the camera comes with a micro-SD card preinstalled and the included 32GB card should be fine for what you need and in fact 32GB is the largest card size it will support. If you need to change it then make sure you use a good quality class 10 card from a known manufacturer, Many people blame video failings on the camera when it in fact the cause is a cheap or low end memory card.

Fixing the camera in the suction cup mount to the windscreen by the mirror on my little Toyota Aygo was easy enough and the cable was easily long enough. This camera is quite large and although this means it is easier to spot from the outside and may need to be removed when not in use it does mean the controls are quite easy to use and the screen is a good size. You may be able to hide it behind the mirror on your vehicle. Configuring the device is easy enough due to the larger than average screen and once done should not need to be repeated.

Image quality is crucial for dashcams as it is important to be able to clearly identify number plates and other details in a recorded incident. 1080P at 30fps is the minimum to consider these days for a dashcam and this camera supports this. The camera has the all important G-Sensor which auto saves and protects video files in which it detects a sudden stop or impact. The angle of view of the camera is 170 degrees and this wider than found with most cameras.

I found the image quality to be one excellent for a camera in this price range although in low light conditions the image quality dropped somewhat. I include some sample video just to give you a rough idea but remember it will have been heavily compressed for display here.

This is a mid priced dashcam but offers all the features you will need. All you actually need is a reliable auto On/Off, a decent quality HD camera with a G-Sensor. Don’t complain about the lack of GPS because although it can be fun at first to trace your route on the screen map remember that in the event of an incident the police may review all the files on the card and use previous driving speeding errors detected by the GPS against you. It does have a microphone which can be useful in the event of an incident if you are quick witted enough to read aloud the numbers of the cars involved. It has parking mode, with a vibration sensor to record footage if the car is disturbed when parked up, but I have yet to find decent parking protection as usually due to latency of the system which means by the time the video starts recording the cause of the incident is long gone. It has a Video Lock button which allows you to prevent the overwriting of the current video even if the G-Sensor has not been triggered. It also has a quick access photo mode to allow taking still pictures.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 an excellent dashcam which will meet all your needs. It is well made, attractive in appearance and capable of giving excellent quality results. It has several high end features not needed for normal use but nice to have anyway. The price is excellent given the quality of the video.

The Good
Great price
Good build quality
Good image quality
Microphone
Still picture mode
HDMI port
Parking Mode
Memory card supplied
External adaptor for memory card

The Bad
No GPS included
Low light video could be better

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YKS Android 6.0 Amlogic S905X Quad Core 1G + 8G Smart Android TV

There is currently a good deal of publicity about some Android TV boxes that contain software thast may be used for illegal Although there is nothing illegal about this new budget TV box from YKS nevertheless who knows how long this and other may be available. Now may be the time to buy.

Inside the box was the device itself, a UK power adaptor with 1.5m cable, medium sized remote control, HDMI cable, and a User Guide. The User Guide shows you just how to connect the device to the internet and configure the TV screen. I enclose a scanned copy of it on the end of my unboxing video. Switch to full screen and pause to read it.

Like most TV boxes, it is essentially an Android phone without the mobile phone capabilities and optimised for use with an HDMI TV as a media player for USB, home network and internet streamed files. A range of built in software is included for this purpose.

A good range of ports are available for playing local files and additional equipment. It features two USB, HDMI, Ethernet, power in, SPDIF, AV and an TF card slot. The included medium sized remote control is well made and is of the generic type usually bundled with TV Boxes It has the snappy Amlogic S905X Quad-core Cortex-A53 CPU, which is perfectly powerful enough for a TV box. This box runs Android 6.0 which is a relatively new version of the operating system bvearing in mind that many budget boxes still run Android 4.4.

The only real setting up task is to connect to your home network and it has both wifi and Ethernet options available to do this. If you are familiar with Android then this is very simple, non Android users may find this more difficult. Once on the network to get the best from this device you should login to your Google account, that way apps can be easily installed via your computer from the Google Play website, Gmail and YouTube will be auto configured at the same time.

Thanks to the USB ports third party memory sticks, keyboards and mice can be used to make navigating the User Interface faster and easier, although the built in pop-up keyboard and remote control will suffice. The supplied handset is fine but some users may wish to invest in a USB dongle wireless keypad to give the full range of keys and a built in mini touchpad. This can also be done over Bluetooth but I find that a dedicated dongle/keypad works best.

This is a reasonably well specified entry level Android TV box. It comes with 1GB of RAM , the usual size ,and the almost standard 8GB of storage. The box has standard speed Ethernet and 2.4Ghz wifi but misses out on the faster and less crowded 5Ghz band and high speed Gigabit LAN. That said, I must also say that in use I have found very little difference between any TV boxes once they are up and running.

This one works very well, has an attractive and well laid out on screen interface and an easy to navigate menu system. It seems stable and reliable in use. As with all TV Boxes experienced users may prefer to reset and update the supplied software and install their own preferred options and plugins.

I don’t really look on this device as a rival to easy access user friendly streamers like the Roku or the Amazon Fire TV as this device offers so much more but at the price of being difficult to fully configure as well as being more clunky and long winded to operate. Some of the supplied apps use plug-in type configurations which are volatile in nature and tend to cease working without notice and need to be replaced or updated, A search on Youtube will find a host of guides to getting the best from this or any Android TV box.

This is a decent quality entry level TV streamer but as with all Android TVs there is a learning curve to get the best from it. Priced at just £31.99 this is certainly a budget priced device but with enough features to make it a worthwhile buy.

The Good
Android 6.0
Two USB ports
Many essential apps pre installed
Good build quality
All necessary cables supplied
TF card slot

The Bad
Can be complicated configure for non Android users
No handset batteries supplied
No 5Ghz wifi
No Gigabit LAN

More info and purchase

Blackview R6 Lite 5.5 Inch Android 7.0 3G Dual SIM smartphone

The first thing to remember when considering this phone is the price. How they can produce a decent quality phone for just £64.99 is beyond me. Keep the price in mind when considering any limitations it may have.

The phone arrived attractively presented in a simple but classy white box. Inside was the phone itself, a rather short USB to micro-USB charging cable, a UK power adaptor, a transparent gel case, a screen protector, a User Guide and a what I take to be stubby screen stylus.
No headphones are included, which is strange since headphones are needed for the built in FM radio to function.

The phone looks attractive enough with a brushed aluminium appearance and what looks like a steel frame into which the side volume rocker and power button is set. On the back is the 8M camera, on the front the 2M selfie cam and Menu, Home and Back buttons. On the bottom can be found the micro-USB port and microphone. Removing the back reveal the two SIM ports and the micro-USB card slot (maximum 32GB). Unlike with some phones access to the cards ports was easy and swapping and changing SIM and TF cards was simple and quick. The large Li-Po 3000 mAh is non removable.

The 5.5″ 540 x 960 IPS screen is OK but by no means the best I have used but is fine for most uses. Switching between apps and screens was faster and snappier than I was expecting from the Mediatek MT6580A chipset and
Quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7 CPU with just 1GB of RAM. Clearly the screen is where corners have had to be cut. This is also true of the two cameras, with the rear being 8Mp and the front selfie cam just 2MP and yielding results that are sharp and well focused but a bit insipid and washed out compared to those on high end rivals. I include some samples in my unboxing videos but keep in mind they have been heavily compressed when uploaded.

One of the most impressive things about the phone is the adoption of the Android 7 operating system which I was pleased to see has not been heavily modified and is in fact pretty close to being pure Google. I was also pleased to see the an OTA upgrade was available when I turned the device on but this just updated some of the non Google elements and did not upgrade the core operating system. Still, the fact that an upgrade was available is a good sign and shows that Blackview care about their products.

The main drawbacks of this phone are the lack of 4G, NFC, 5Ghx wifi and the failure to adaopt the new USC-C connectivity standard. The best features are the snappy UI, Android 7, easy access dual SIMs, and the fantastic price.

The Good
Great price
OTA upgrades
Android 7
Dual SIM cards
Snappy and quick responding

The Bad
No 4G
No headphones
Mediocre camera
Poor screen
No USB-C
32GB maximum micro USB card
No 5Ghz ac wifi
No NFC

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Tacklife CT01 Classic Cable Tester RJ11 RJ45 Line Finder Wire Tracker

I have seen this same device marketed under several names but this one has a few advantages not the least of which is it being slightly cheaper than the rivals I have seen..

Simply but securely packaged in a simple and plain cardboard box was the emitter, receiver, RJ11 Clip Adaptor Cable, RJ45 to RJ45 Cable, Earphones, and a soft storage case. Standard 9V batteries were supplied too. Also included was a well written User Guide although it is rather small and hard to read. I include a scan of it in my unboxing video.

The purpose of this device is to test the status and functionality of network, phone and other cables. It can check if a cable carries a live voltage and emit one down the cable for testing purposes. If you have a bunch of cables and do not know which of them are live then this device will tell you. It supports the standard RJ11 phone interface and the standard Ethernet RJ45 up to a cable range of 3000 meters emitted range. If a line is open, shorted, or wrongly connected this unit can detect it. When used with telephone cables it can determine the signal state: ringing, off-hook etc. It can also ping the line to check for returns. It can also check the voltage in batteries and other electrical device to determine their status.

Build quality seems excellent. Both the Receiver and Sender devices are robust, well built and tough enough for on site use. One handy feature is the inclusion of a earbud set so that audible alerts can be detected even in a noisy working environment.

It is an easy tool to work with and tough enough to withstand all the home and building site has to throw at it. The current Amazon price of £23.97 make it a very attractive buy indeed.

The Good
Great price
Good build quality
Well written User Guide
Batteries supplied
Soft case supplied

The Bad
More robust case would have been better

More info and purchase