Aoleca 1080P Full HD Wireless Home Security Camera Aoleca-826X

IP cameras of all types are falling rapidly in price. The £100 camera of a year ago can now be found for less than £50. At the same time design and build quality are rising too. Currently priced at £59.99 this camera is not inexpensive but it does has some features the cheaper rivals lack

This new IP camera from Aoleca arrived well packaged in a medium sized mid market looking box. Inside was the camera itself, a wall/ceiling bracket, USB power cable with UK adaptor, together with simple but easy to read User Guide. The build quality seems first rate throughout and although the camera is quite large it is well made and looks impressive if rather old school.

On the front of the camera is the camera lens and the single large infrared LED, the motion detector PIR and microphone, together with indicators for Ethernet or Wifi connection status On the rear of the unit are the micro-SD card slot (64GB max), Reset button, 5v micro-USB power in port and standard speed Ethernet RJ45 connector. On the side is the built in speaker. Unlike with many of the Foscam clones that this resembles there is no interface for an external alarm system and no external antenna connection. The lack of antenna makes the unit look smaller and more discreet.

One selling point of the camera is the 5v micro USB power source which not only removes the need for a bulky mains adaptor but means it can be powered from any USB port and even, I would suppose from a Power bank, which would in effect give it a battery power option.

Configuring the camera is very easy – at least when you have used similar P2P audio setups before. Download the MIPC iOs or Android app to your phone and connect the camera to your router with the Ethernet cable provided. Using the app add the camera to it by scanning the code on the base of the camera. The app will then find the camera on your network and through the app you can then configure your home network’s wifi setting to the camera. You can then disconnect the camera and it will automatically connect to the wifi network. This can also be done without need of an Ethernet connection by making a P2P link to the camera but this is a more complicated process and best avoided if possible. A thirs way is to connect the camera to the network by Ethernet and using your computer web browser go the the address of the camera and log in with the password ‘admin’. This will give you access to the web control panel of the camera where a great many more options are available including setting up a wifi connection.

The app is very easy to use and the on board help file is clear and easy to use. The included User Guide (included on my video) is large sized, well printed and easy to follow.

Like most similar devices it has motion detection for security use and it records still or video to the app or to the built in microSD card. The motion detection works well and can be set to operate continuously or to a schedule. The video quality is good and is one of the best I have seen for a camera in this price bracket. Also good is the excellent 30fps full HD image quality and I enclose a sample image in my video.

I see many similarities to the traditional Foscam hardware here although this camera has improved upon the chunky old design dramatically. The app control of the device although is better realised and makes the camera easy to use and for those not familiar with networking, port forwarding and the other problems that beset old time IP cameras. I used the Android app and in fact I found it one of the easiest to use and most configurable of any IP cam apps I have tried.

The camera has an IR cut feature which means the filter which is used for night time infra red use is removed during daylight to preserve colour fidelity, a feature some cheap Foscam clones lack. It has two way audio which means it can work as an effective baby monitor as well as a security camera. In fact due to the lack of Email alerts or off site video storage this is in fact a better Baby Monitor than it is a security camera.

I found few issues with this camera. The lack of automatic off site video storage – you can only save to the open app or to the SD card – the need to register an account before getting full benefit from the app (although this is not needed when using web browser setup and SD card storage), no Motion detection zones and considerable latency at times in use. The latency is sporadic and seems to only effect the sending video to the app rather than instructions to the camera. My video, made with the camera attached by Ethernet to a wifi repeater on my home network and my phone attached by wifi, show an almost instant response from the camera to commands sent from the app but sometimes a delay of nearly twenty seconds before the video on the app was updated. This should not reduce the efficiency of the security features of the camera.

If you want a good quality rather old school security or baby monitor at a reasonable price then this would be a decent buy

The Good
USB port powered
iOs and Android apps
Two way audio
Good image quality
Good build quality
Pan and tilt control in app
In-app alerts
Night Vision
Motion detection
IR Cut filter
Easy to read User Guide
Micro SD card

The Bad
Dated design
Image refresh delay
Bulky when fitted to wall/ceiling mount
No 5Ghz network support
No SD card included
No FTP uploading’
No Email alerts
App needs to be registered

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Sourcingbay 3200 Lumens Home Cinema LED Projector BY58 by Jeasun

 

This new mid range LED projector from Jeasun arrived simply presented in a plain but heavy duty cardboard box. Inside the box aside from the projector itself was a full sized remote control handset, a power cable with UK plug, RCS video cable, HDMI cable, Lens cap, mounting screw set, two spare fuses, cleaning cloth and an English language User Guide.The kit was also supposed to include two accessory front feet but of these there was no sign, no matter as they are not really needed.

This is one of the largest (20mmx260mmx120mm) and at 2.55 Kg heaviest LED projectors I have used but this goes to reinforce the quality feel of the item. Build quality is clearly first rate, the plastic casing of the projector feels well made and robust. Nothing feels flimsy or about to fall off or break. The heavyweight power cable has a standard UK plug USB adaptor of the type used to charge mobile phones. The User Guide although smaller than I would like is unusually well written and illustrated and tells or you more or less all you need to know. The infra red remote control is full sized with proper physical clicky buttons rather than the credit card sized soft touch remotes often supplied. The main control buttons can also be found on the top of the projector itself. It has an above average range of ports and connections: 2x HDMI, 2xUSB, RCA in and out,Y,Pb,Pr, VGA and AV.

This projector supports some high features: Native Resolution :1280*768;fpi, Supported resolutions: up to 1366×768. Projection ratio: 16: 9 to 4: 3 , Contrast ratio is an impressive 3000:1, Brightness a remarkable 3200 Lumens, The Projection distance: 3.6 to 19.7ft (7.2ft Best) to give an image size of 32~200 inchs (100in Best). Keystone correction is manuall only and ±15°. These parameters exceed those of almost every other projector I have used.

The medium range price gets you some high end features but if you are after a projector for professional use then keep on looking. The light output is fine for home use but works best in a darkened or semi darkened room. The image quality is clear and sharp without fringing and it holds focus well. The colours are good but less saturated than you would find on a pro level projector. The native resolution will be enough for all HD and below image sources but not 4K. This means it will work with most current devices and the wide range of input ports supports this. The sound built in speaker output is Ok but for anything toher than small rooms an external speaker will be needed.

This unit is rather higher in price than most of the LED projectors entering the market. What does it offer that the cheaper ones do not? It has a higher than normal native resolution which means image quality should be and is better than from more basic devices. The build quality of this unit superior to that found on many cheaper models.

Those in search of a mid range projector with good image quality and with support for all the basic functions may find what they need here. For most home theatre owners this would be very well suited. If you want an auto focus unit with perfect colour fidelity for professional use reproducing documents and spreadsheets in a undarkened room and with a huge image then this one is not for you and expect to pay very much more to find it. This is a good quality device with excellent image quality and above average resolution but whilst it is priced below that of high end professional projectors at the current price of £188.99 it is by no means a budget device. Nevertheless the higher than normal image quality, feature set and build quality make it still a good buy for the price but be aware that there are cheaper but inferior options available.

The Good
Above average build quality
Excellent User Guide
Easy to use remote control
Robust build quality
Above average native resolution
Two USB ports
Two HDMI ports

The Bad
Expensive
Can be hard to focus
No batteries included
Needs darkened room
Image quality good but not perfect
No carry case
No Wifi
No Bluetooth

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VLOXO Ultrasonic Ultrasonic Cleaner USC-111-UK

This new Ultrasonic cleaner from VLOXO is designed to use ultrasonic waves in water to clean small and delicate objects such as jewellery, dentures, spectacles etc which may be too delicate to clean in any other way. I tried it on an old brass drawer knob and was impressed by the effect of just one cleaning session on the ingrained grime of the item.

The cleaner, which at 20.4 x 14 x 13cm was larger than I was expecting, arrived presented in attractive mid market product box inside of which aside from the cleaner itself was a well written and easy to read fanfold User Guide (which I include in my video), a basket for the items to be cleaned and a divider for use with the basket. The device seems very well made and has a up market appearance that belies the £28.99 Amazon price.

Using the item is easy enough. Place the item to be cleaned inside the tank and fill with water to the marker inside the tank. Larger objects can be partially immersed in the water as the device will function with the lid open. Plug the unit in (a blue LED can be seen inside the device) and switch on. The cleaner front red LED will light and the device will emit a quiet buzzing noise and after about three minutes will turn itself off. Little can be judged by looking through the observation window into the tank as the water does not agitate or bubble other than very slightly. You can repeat the cleaning process as many times as needed and and detergent or specialised cleaning fluids can also be used if needed.

I was very impressed by the effect of just one three minute treatment on my filthy drawer knob. I also tried it on spectacles and some small glass object with equal success.

This is an excellent device and does a great job of cleaning small and delicate object at a very reasonable price.

The Good
Good build quality
Good price
Good User Guide
Basket for cleaning objects
Basket divider

The Bad
Large size
Small tank

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VAVA VOOM 14 Headphones for Virtual Stereo Surround Audio

The headset arrived nicely presented in a mid market cardboard box inside of which was the semi rigid storage with the headset inside together with a short instruction leaflet and three sets of spare earbuds.

The headset resembles a normal decent quality in-ear headset with nothing to set it apart as a gaming headset. There is no option for a USB plug nor for separate Mic and audio plugs. In every way it seems to be a normal set of in-ear headphones.

Build quality seems excellent. The headset feels robust and well made and although the cable seems rather thin I have no reason to suppose it will give way anytime soon. There is an in line control box on the cable and this allows for track forward/back/pause as well as to work with the microphone to allow for hands free calling. I tried it for a phone call and it worked well with the conversation fully audible both ends.

The selling point of this head set is that it is for gaming use. However, unlike most gaming headsets there was no option to split the audio and mic cables nor for a USB input. I tried it when playing some PC games and it worked very well and better perhaps then a similar set of regular in-ear headphones but not enough to make me notice much difference had I not been looking for it. By the same token these are described as being not for music use but I tried them for music listening and found them to be perfectly fine and in fact better than many other headsets in this budget price range.

This is a decent quality set of sub £20 headphones designed for gamers and which work perfectly well for general use.

The Good
Good sound quality
Nice packaging
Storage case

The Bad
Bracelets for small wrists only
No USB plug
No audio/mic splitter
Little difference in audio quality from standard headphones

 

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MAMONA Women’s Watch Bracelet Gift Set L68008RGGT

There are many lovely items from Chinese suppliers available on Amazon that get overlooked or ignored because of their origin. Likewise when buying watches people tend to go for only long established names and avoid the newcomers. For both reasons this charming watch and bracelet set from MAMONA is likely to be overlooked and that would be a shame indeed.

From the start it is clear this is a high end product. Inside the outer cardboard box was the sleeved black faux alligator skin presentation case inside of which was the watch itself, the two bracelets, a User Guide to the watch, a silica gelpack. Also included was a matching black MAMONA bag and a rather sweet oriental envelope set.

The watch itself like the bracelets has a rose gold finish but unlike the bracelets will fit even quite a large wrist as plenty of links are included in the 14.5mm stainless steel and white ceramic band but should more be needed Momona will supply them without charge. The watch has a 32mm diameter and a thickness of 9.3mm and is large enough to read easily in most lights. The movement is Japanese Quartz and the watch face is white with a Synthetic Sapphire glass and should be pretty much scratch proof. The design is elegant and subtle and free from the cheap and flashy design of some imported watches. The watch is simple and elegant with Roman numerals and free from an intrusive date/day display.

The two bracelets included in the pack are equally sophisticated and understated but just as attractive. However, be aware that they are suited to a small wrist only and cannot be adjusted. One band has a row of delicate crystals, the other a central motif in white with a single large crystal.

This would make a charming gift for a special occasion and at a reduced price of £79.99 without making too much of a hole in the pocket

The Good
Great build quality
Premium packaging

The Bad
Bracelets for small wrists only
Expensive

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Amcrest ProHD Outdoor 3MP Security Camera IP3M-943W

This is a well made if rather unexciting camera with a good range of features and should be suitable for any domestic and many professional installations. The price is not the cheapest but the build quality, image and feature set is in accord with the price.

Included in the rather attractive mid market box along with the camera itself was a wall fixing kit, UK power adaptor, wifi antenna, wall mount fixing kit, Ethernet cable, software CD and an install Guide. The User Guide, in colour and easy to read is one of the best I have yet found with any IP cam but not that that is saying much as they are usually pretty abysmal even from big name tech companies.

Construction quality is good if not the best I have tried but feeling robust, well made, and likely to be durable. On the front of the camera is the lens with the surrounding LED lamps. On top is the removable and adjustable sun/rain shade. On the back is the stub for the detachable wifi antenna. There is a pigtail cable set for Ethernet, power and system reset. The pigtail is of a decent length and long enough to be able to poke through a wall opening if needed.

Setting the camera up was easy enough using the suggested Amcrest iOS or Android phone app. Download and run the app, power up the camera and connect by Ethernet cable to your router. Using the app you can then scan for and identify the camera on the network. Using the app you can then input your home network wifi password as well as configuring the camera’s motion detection and other settings. Personally, I found it far easier just to connect the camera by Ethernet cable to my router and use my web browser to access the camera’s built in web control panel. Use the default User password of admin to get access. This way you can fully configure the camera’s many more arcane controls including Motion detection, scheduling, etc. Unlike when using the phone app setup there is no requirement to logon to a third party server or give out your email address when setting up using the web browser option. When an alert is triggered the camera will send out an email or in-app alert messages with snapshots as well as upload still images to an ftp server, the free Amcrest cloud storage pr to the internal SD card reader. I was pleased to see that several more common email server settings are available as preset options so you can input your user name and password without messing around with port number settings. Nice. The internal SD card is accessed via screw fit panel on the underside and so for eternal use is not really practical.

Video quality is first rate and one of the best I have seen from an IP camera of this price for both daytime and nighttime use. The 3-Megapixel sensor can output 1296P Video at 20fps or a more usable 1080p at 30fps.The illumination from the built infra red LED’s a powerful and evenly spread There is an i/r cut filter to prevent colour distortion for during daylight use. The camera is ONVIF compliant which means it can be integrated into many existing alarm systems.

This is a first rate IP camera robust enough for almost any external indoor situation and with a impressive feature set. It has a few minor disadvantages and omissions but the first rate image and robust build quality still makes this a five star camera. despite the £125.99 price.

The Good
iOS and Android apps
Great Build quality
Well written User Guide
FTP , email and in-app alerts
i/r Cut filter
No third party server needed
Free cloud storage
ONVIF compliant
Wide 100° angle of view
Excellent User Interface

The Bad
Expensive
No SD card included
SD card access difficult
No POE
No 5Ghz network support
Short power supply cable
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MATCC 4 Pocket Car Storage Organizer

This four pocket organiser hangs suspended from loops over the car headrests and has well sized meshed pockets to store and protect important items. It can be used suspended from the front seats for the benefit of those in the back or from the rear seats for additional boot storage. My video shows it used in a Toyota Aygo.

The organiser arrived simply packaged in a plastic bag which is fine but might the appeal of the product as a gift and makes it seem cheaper than it is. No instructions were included and none were necessary.

The organiser is 35.4 inches wide by 13.4 inches deep, made from tough Oxford Cloth with four deep pockets each with a nylon mesh frontage. The pockets are deep and capacious but cannot be fastened shut or locked. The organiser can be easily removed and can be rolled up for storage.

Using the organiser is easily enough as it simply hooks over the front seat rests and has adjustable loops to secure it to up to three headrests. I found that the loops even when fully adjusted were not very wide so cars with solid wide headrests may not be suitable. It has a Velcro strip running the length of the hanging end so it can be fixed to the back seat and to prevent it flapping about but annoyingly no Velcro tape is included to secure it with and on my car it would not stick without it – but may well be fine on yours.

It does the job and is well made and robust. Priced on Amazon at just £14.88 it is certainly inexpensive and I see no reason not to recommend it.

The Good
Great price
Good build quality
Velcro securing strip

The Bad
No Velcro additional tape supplied
Pockets cannot be fastened
Poor packaging
Hanging loops are not very wide

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