Giwil Waterproof Winter Cycling Gloves

 

For just £9.99 I was not really expecting too much but in fact, these new sports gloves from Giwil, a firm I have never heard of before, have proved surprisingly good.

They arrived simply packaged in a plain bag with no labelling or paperwork included, not that any was needed. Build quality seems fine with no hanging threads, poor seams or anything else that might make me think they will fail anytime soon.

The gloves are described as for cycling, running and general outdoor sports use. I would say that due to their warmth and thickness they would be best suited for biking use. As a runner, I would find them a bit too thick and padded for anything but the very coldest of days. But I think cycling is clearly what they were designed for. They are of medium thickness with a plush inner surface designed for maximum warmth and warm they certainly are. They have touch tips for use with phones and tablets and these work OK although the gloves are a little on the unwieldy side for delicate screen work but better to have it than not. The gloves are waterproof and have an enhanced silicone grip for the palm and inner fingers to give firmer handlebar control.

As regards sizing, I am a 5’11” male with normal sized hands and I chose size L which gave a snug but comfortable fit that I would choose again.

These gloves are well made, comfortable and very warm. They would be perfect for general winter sports or outdoor use and at a very reasonable price too.

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ONIKUMA Gaming Headset K1 Pro

Priced currently at £24.69 on Amazon this has to be judged as a budget item but in fact, you get quite a lot for your money here with the new gaming headset from ONIKUMA. I remember the earlier K1 headset and this one seems a decent if an unexciting update to it.

The headset arrived nicely presented in a mid-range display box. Inside the box was the headset itself, and a large and easy to read  User Guide which I include on the end of my unboxing video.

The headset is well made, robust and strong, and quite attractively designed compared to some gamer headsets I have tried – which is not saying much. It is well padded on both the earcups, which are of the over-ear type, and on the headband. It is lightweight, comfortable and easy to wear even for long gaming sessions. The headset does not support Bluetooth, as an increasing number do now, but does have a dual cable adapter to allow for separate mic/audio connections – green for headset, red for the microphone. The standard 3.5mm plug allows the headset to be used with mobile phones and other devices with combined microphone and audio socket. The earcups and microphone tip have bright blue LED’s when connected using the USB plug and in fact, this is the only purpose of the USB plug as USB audio is not supported and there is no built-in vibration engine. There is a large in-line control box with a thumbwheel to control the audio volume and an on/off switch for the microphone.

How does it sound?

The audio quality is really rather good and worthy of a higher priced device and an improvement over the earlier model. 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.

As headphones for general listening, this headset is excellent for the price. As a purely gaming headset, it less attractive. The mic has been improved but I would still prefer a clearer sound. It is worth saying again that the USB connection is to power the LED lights and not to allow for system-level interaction with a gaming console.

These are 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 keep looking. If you are looking for a budget headset for music, PC Gaming and general use then this would be a good buy.

The Good
Good sound
Great price
Good build quality
Comfortable to wear
LED Illumination
Audio/Mic adaptor
Adjustable mic position
Extra long 2.2m Braided cable

Passive noise reduction

The Bad
Microphone muffles audio

Not Suitable for some gaming consoles

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Alilimall Submersible Led Light

This simple but well made little lamp from Alilimall can light up your hot tub experience as well as finding other uses around the home.

In the mid-market product box was the light unit itself as well as a set of suction cup mounts, remote control and a small but informative user Guide. Everything feels well made and the hockey puck sized in particular has a quality feel to it. Nothing seems likely to break or fail anytime soon.

The light is 9cm in diameter and 4.5cm thick and is made from a tough transparent plastic. Inside the ten multicolour LEDs can be seen on the top which can be unscrewed from the base to reveal the compartment for three AA batteries. The base has a built-in magnetic mount. The top and bottom parts of the unit have silicone seals to prevent water ingress and when sealed the light is rated at IP68 water resistant, which it should be fine in the bath or shallow pool. The unit will stay in place and is designed not to float. The credit card sized remote control is none generic and is customed designed for this product. Also, it uses radio rather than a line of sight i/r and is more versatile in use and with a greater range.

The device can be mounted in a variety of ways: using the rubber suckers, magnetic mount, using the mounting hole in the base. It has a range of uses, in the bath, hot tub, garden pool, under flower displays or other glass objects or even as a stand alone light.

Using the device could not be simpler. Fit the batteries and screw the device tightly shut, a tight fit is crucial tom prevent water getting in so take the time to check joint is secure and tight. The remote control allows a range of seven colours and multiple lighting effects to be selected. Take note that the remote itself is not waterproof, so attempt to use it underwater! When the batteries get low the light defaults to read and it is time to replace them. You should get between twenty and thirty hours of lighting time from a set depending on the make.

For the Amazon price of £12.99, this is a well made, versatile and simple to use way to light up your bath or pool.

Use this checkout code for a further 5% reduction: I4NBN6VX

The Good
Good Build Quality
Good Price
Easy to Use
IPX68 Waterproof

Radio Remote

The Bad
No Batteries Included

No controls on the light itself

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WHOLEV 1080P Wifi Dash Cam

Currently available on Amazon at £45.99 and as prices are falling this has to be judged as a mid range cam. However, camera quality is going up as fast as prices are falling and so it needs to offer more than just a bargain price to be any good.

Inside the rather low-end box was the camera itself, long mini-USB car charging cable with hard-wired cigar lighter plug, short USB cable, suction cup mount, sticky mount and a User Guide. The User Guide is nicely designed compared to those usually supplied and well printed too as well as being quite comprehensive and actually useful although has a few translation issues. I attach a scanned copy to my unboxing video. Switch to full screen and pause as needed to read it.

Insurance fraud is on the rise 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. When the card is full the camera records over the oldest recording. A good camera will have a built-in G-Sensor which automatically records impacts and secures that file against overwriting.

The camera is quite small for the 3″ screen size and on my car can be hidden in front of the driving mirror. The camera attaches to the windscreen or dashboard with the supplied mounts and in my tests, this worked well. Like most cameras, this one has a built-in battery which is designed only to give short-term coverage should the car power supply fail in the event of a crash. For normal operation, it should always be connected to the car power port. The camera has a large screen which you need to access to configure the device, a chore but it only needs doing once.

The camera has a microphone which is useful in an incident if you have the presence of mind to observe and announce number plates or external events not captured by the camera. The dashcam has a G-sensor which will ensure that impacts or other events are not overwritten by other recordings on the card. The camera takes a micro SD card of up to 32GB to record onto and you must get a good quality high-speed card. Class 10 is best if a card is too slow the camera will not be able to write to it properly. Several looping time lengths are available and I suggest 3 minutes for best results. The G-Sensor trigger will lock and the flag the current video file for any impact it detects. The camera has an Emergency Lock button so you can manually flag the current file to prevent deletion.

The camera lacks a GPS sensor, a disadvantage for some users but not for me as I found watching my journey on the map is a novelty that soon wears off. Also, should your device fall into the hands of the police after a crash they will be able to note and use against you any previous speed infringements or driving errors caught by the GPS.

Video results are good for the price and it offers multiple resolution levels. At the maximum FHD resolution of 1296p@30fps, the picture is better than good. It can also work at 1080p which can also produce good results with a smaller file size. Other resolutions are available but are too small to be of use. The camera has a wider than normal 170° lens and has a WDR mode which can improve image quality by enhancing shadow and highlight details. The camera can connect via the supplied mini-USB cable to your PC to view files directly.

The camera offers a Parking Monitor using Motion detection which can act as a security feature when the vehicle is parked (this may depend on how your car power socket is configured) but the system latency means you may miss the trigger event and this could also be a nasty battery drain in some circumstances. Personally, I keep it turned off.

One novel feature of this camera is that it has an optional built-in Wifi hotspot. To use this, first, download the RoadCam app to your Android or iOs phone. Turn on the Wifi option from the camera settings and then using the system settings of your phone connect to the hot spot generated by the camera using the password 12345678. Open the app and then select the camera. You can view a live stream from the camera and record video and still images directly. You can also configure the camera settings. Personally, I doubt I will be using the app again, not because it does not work but I can configure the settings well enough using the camera screen and prefer to view the recordings on my PC. It would be a useful way of getting quick access to the camera memory when away from your computer, I suppose. Nice feature, glad to have it, but not really useful for me.

This is a budget-priced dashcam but provides all you need plus some extras besides. Video quality is excellent and for the current low price, this is an attractive buy.

The Good
Large 1728×1296 Video
Microphone
G-Sensor
PC interface
Metal Body
170° wide angle lens
Still image mode
WDR mode

Motion Detection

The Bad
No GPS option
No memory card supplied

Cheap Packaging

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TYCKA Stylish Walnut Wood Headset Stand

This stylish and attractive headphone stand from TYCKA looks good and really is almost entirely made from walnut wood and at the current Amazon price of £16.99 (plus a further 10% reduction at the time of writing) seems a pretty good buy.

The headset arrived in a fairly plain branded cardboard product box, a pity as a more upmarket presentation would add to the appeal of the item as a gift, inside of which was the disassembled stand protected in a custom foam pack and an Allen key. No instructions were included and none were needed.

The stand looks very attractive indeed with a walnut base and headphone rest subtly engraved with the TYCKA logo and the uplifting if rather ungrammatical ‘Seize Fascinating Moment’ motto. The supporting column is made from aluminium alloy and this screws directly into the headphone rest and into the base using a screw and can be tightened using the supplied Allen key.

Once assembled the stand seems secure and capable of securely holding any normally sized headphones. The underside of the bases has non slip pads to prevent the unit from moving around on glossy surfaces.

If you are in need of a strong and supportive headphone stand and enjoy the look and feel of natural wood then this might be just the one for you.

Bqeel Y1 Android 7.1 4K 1GB/8GB TV Box

Priced on Amazon at £39.99 this is a well-specified and nicely made entry-level Android TV with an attractive interface designed for ease of use.

Inside the box along with the unit itself was a UK power adaptor, medium sized remote control, HDMI cable, and a User Guide. The User Guide is better printed than most and easy to read but is very basic and tells you how to connect the device up and that is about it. I enclose a scanned copy of it on the end of my unboxing video, switch to full screen and pause as needed to read it.

Like most TV boxes this is essentially an Android phone stripped of the call making features and optimised for use as a media player. It comes with a few basic applications but is essentially a blank canvas allowing you to install any Android app you wish.

This is a well made and well-equipped box with a full range of ports. It has two USB ports, TF card slot, AV, SPDIF, Ethernet, HDMI, Power. There are a few high-end features to be found such as a Quad Core 64-bit ARM Cortex A53 CPU, Android 7.1, and 4K support. Many budget boxes lack an Ethernet LAN port but not so here although it of the slower 100MBS variety.

Setting the device up was pretty easy with all the essential apps pre-installed. The only real task is to connect to your home network and it has both wifi and Ethernet options available. If you are familiar with Android then this is very simple, non-Android users may find this more difficult but there is a walk setup through Wizard to help you. Once on the network, you should then login to your Google account, that way apps can be easily installed from the Google Play store, 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 full-sized remote control will suffice for most users. Many TV boxes in this price range now come with a separate remote keypad but that is not included here. However, a wireless keyboard and mouse can be installed using a USB port.

There has been a campaign recently in the media against TV boxes equipped with illegal copyright busting software, but no worries here as no such software is included. Of course, the user can install whatever software they wish onto the box. You can install BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Amazon Prime and a host of other catchup and streaming media players.

This unit comes with comes with the standard 1GB RAM and has 8GB storage, but this can be easily extended using external USB drives. It supports 2.4Ghz wifi but for superior results, it is always best to go for an Ethernet cable connection.I must also say that in use I have found very little difference between any TV boxes once Media playing and streaming software is correctly installed and configured. The interface here is fast and snappy in use with no noticeable latency or hangs when in use. Picture quality is excellent and the device can be personalised and adapted to your personal preferences as much as any other Android device.

This is an entry-level device but unless you need a 5Ghz wifi, Gigabit LAN or more built-in memory – and frankly, most normal users do not – it should be a fine addition to your TV.

The Good
Good build quality
Good Price
Android 7.1
SD card slot

Ethernet and Wifi connectivity

The Bad
Poor User Guide
Can be complicated to configure for non-Android users
No handset batteries supplied

No remote keyboard

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Conbrov WF98 960P Mini Wireless Camera by PORTOCAM

 

This really is the smallest camera I have ever tested and although it has some limitations for the current Amazon price of £49.99 (including the current promotional discount) it is a very attractive buy indeed for those needing a specialised security camera such as this.

In the attractive mid-market product box was the camera itself, USB to micro-USB charging cable, USB card reader, User Guide, and a range of clip-on, magnetic and sticky mounts. Build quality throughout seems first rate and this looks and feels like a high-quality piece of kit.

The camera at just 0.95″ square really is tiny. On the front is the lens and single  Night Vision LED, on one side is the micro-SD card slot, on the opposite side the Off/On switch and USB Charging/Power port. On the top are the Record/Reset and Wifi buttons. On the rear, the magnetic plate marked with the camera Logo. Inside there are red/blue LED’s for charging and a yellow LED to indicate Wifi mode. The camera can be powered by the internal rechargeable 220mAhj Li-battery or through the USB cable to a mains adapter or Powerbank. Expect to get about an hour of continuous battery use between charges by day and half that at night.

You can operate the camera manually by pressing the Record/Reset button once to turn on and again to turn off and the camera will automatically start operating in the default Motion Detection On mode. Most users may prefer to operate the camera remotely.

Remote operation can be done either through a Wifi Hotspot generated by the camera or using your home wifi network. In either case, you have to first connect your phone to the camera using the hot spot generated by the camera. First, download and install the ‘Mini Wifi Cam’ app. Turn the camera on and when the LED flashes yellow connect your camera to the network it generates using the wifi control panel on the phone (not at this stage using the app), then open the app and add the camera following the on-screen prompts. Once connected you can view and save live video from the camera and perform some other basic functions. I found that the connection and video quality was good for up to about ten feet and beyond that fell off considerably.

For best results, you should then connect the camera to your home wifi network. To do this when connected to the hotspot find the settings icon and from there the Wifi settings panel in which you select your wifi network and input the wifi password. When the camera is then rebooted it will then automatically reconnect to the home wifi and can be easily operated using the app. The app will allow you to set video quality levels, motion detection sensitivity and other options.

I found video quality to be variable from very good to very bad. Surprisingly I found I got the best results indoors using artificial light. The video was very sharp and in  HD with good colour balance. Night Vision was good within the limited range of the single LED and fell off markedly over distance. Outside I found there to be a pronounced Magenta cast (which can be removed in your editing software), sharp and clear but with a slow shutter speed, looking at frame rate display on the phone I could see that it was about 15fps at either standard(640×480) or HD (1280×960). There are options to select indoor/outdoor and Hz levels but these seem to make little difference. The camera has the option to record audio too and the quality was good and rather better than I was expecting.

I suspect that had I spent more time fine-tuning the camera settings and the positioning I would be able to get consistently excellent results. I know the camera is able to produce high-quality results but careful attention must be made to achieve it.

The camera is very small and can be easily hidden away for concealed use. It gave me better results when used indoors and indeed as the camera is not waterproof I suspect it is not really designed for outdoor use.

If you a small and discreet spy camera for indoor/outdoor use and are prepared to put the time and effort into getting the best results possible, then this could be what you are looking for and at a very attractive price too.

The Good
Good Build Quality
Excellent User Guide
Multiple Mounting Options
Multiple Operating Modes
Good Android App
Good Price
Email and app push  Alerts

Clips auto saved

The Bad
No Obvious Way to disable timestamp
Slow Shutter Speed
Low power Night Vision

Memory card not included

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