VASTFIRE XHP90 Zooming Flashlight Review

This new torch from VASTFIRE is one of the first twin light flashlights I have tried with COB LED lighting. COB is the latest LED technology and stands for ‘Chip On Board’. COB LEDs are multiple LED chips bonded to form a single module. This means a small, brighter and more robust LED with a wider field of view but using less power.

In the plain unbranded box was the aluminium alloy flashlight itself, two preinstalled 26650 5000mAh rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries, a USB to USB-C charging cable, two plastic battery adapter tubes, and a prefitted wrist lanyard. No User Guide was included, which was annoying. What do the plastic tubes do? I have seen similar tubes used to allow smaller diameter batteries to be used with torches and this may well be outlined in the missing User Guide. The build quality of everything included seems first-rate, heavy duty and clearly built to last. The torch is rated as being 1m impact resistant and IP44 water resistant, which means it should be fine in the rain but don’t drop it in any puddles.

The torch is a good hefty size at 30.48 x 5.84 x 5.84 cm but not too heavy for the pocket or shoulder bag at 430g. On the front, of course, is the main 5000 lumens lamp with the COB strip light on the side. On the side too is a row of bright blue LEDs to show the current battery and charging status. On the shaft of the flashlight is a grommet protected bay housing the USB-C power in port and the single USB-A power out port used to power or charge external devices.

The unit is controlled by a single button. Click once to scroll between full power (5000 lumens), low power (3000 lumens) and strobing. One full charge will give around four hours on full power and six on low. Double click to switch to the side LED and click again to change from white to red light.

The torch also works as a power bank and should be able to charge a smartphone twice when itself is fully charged. Charging is quicker than I expected but rather longer than the thirty minutes claimed in the Amazon listing.

Another feature of the torch is that it can be used as an escape tool or for self-defence and the heavy weight and serrated metal lens shield certainly make this possible.

The front light at 5000 lumens is not the brightest I have seen but it is easily enough for most purposes, outdoors or in. The front light can be zoomed in out and out to a great degree although at maximum zoon the four lighting chips are visible. The side light looks like a white strip on the side of the flashlight but when lit produces an extra-wide field of view making it suitable as an inspection or even a room light. The red light feature is useful for security purposes as well as for general lighting at night.

This is a well made, robust and heavy duty torch that is very versatile in use and would be perfect to keep in the car or to take on a field trip.

Currently priced on Amazon at just £32.31 this torch is a good buy for anyone looking for an all-purpose full-sized outdoor flashlight.

The Good
Good price
Great Build Quality
3 Front Light Modes
3 Side Light Modes
Rechargeable batteries
Powerbank Function
USB-C Power In Port

The Bad
No Carry Case
No User Guide
Unusual Battery Type

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Generic Red Light Therapy Panel

A while back I bought a red light therapy panel, a decent quality one which cost me £170. I have been using it every day and I am sleeping better and feel healthier. Looking online I could see plenty of no name and generic rivals available for a fraction of the cost, but can they really be any good? I thought I would give this £38 rival a try to see if the expensive one is worth the difference.

This budget panel is available across Amazon under a range of different names and prices, but the panel itself seems to be the same. I bought it from the curiously named 01 02 015 brand but I have seen the identical panel available under many names and times priced between £35 and £120.

My expensive panel, from iAGFTS, contains 120 LEDs, comes in a heavy metal case and is fan cooled with a timer and switches for power, 660nm and 850nm LEDs and draws 300w of power. The cheap one has a lightweight alloy frame with 225 LEDs, is not fan cooled, has a simple in-line cable switch and is rated at 45w.

In the plain unmarked box was the light panel, UK power cable, Hanging Mount Kit with spare hook, Desktop Stand, User Guide. Build quality seems lightweight throughout but nothing looks like to break or fail.

The budget panel does appear to work and seems almost as bright as the dearer one, but due to the low power rating, I suspect that the output level is lower. I don’t have a spectrometer so cannot confirm the actual light frequency range emitted or the intensity of it.

I do have a decent quality EMF meter and was able to test the Electronic, Magnetic and Radio Frequency output from both devices. While those from the high end panel were within acceptable limits, those from the cheap one were disturbingly high. At around 20cm distance I was getting a reading of about 400 V/m from the cheap panel. By way of comparison, a mobile phone held to the ear would give you about 100 V/m and a microwave oven at a range of 2m would give 2 V/m. 0.1 V/m is generally held to be the safe level and levels over 50 V/m should be actively avoided. I was also getting readings at the same distance of 13mG in the magnetic field with a safe reading held to be 0.05 mG and areas above 2.5mG best avoided.

I have no intentions of using this device further and am attempting to get a refund from Amazon for it – although the supplier wants me to send it back to China at my own expense, another reason to avoid cheap knock-off items.

So this cheap Panel may well work OK as regards the red light and near-infrared light output but you would need to stand so far away from it to avoid EMF pollution that little benefit could be gained from it.

Before buying a panel make sure it does not look like this one and in fact, I would advise avoiding any generic or budget priced panel.

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BICKON 5 Colour Desk Lamp

I have tested plenty of desk lamps very similar to this one, this is a pretty standard design, but this is the first that offers five rather than the usual three types of white light.

The design itself follows the usual pattern – plain white plastic construction, USB powered with a fully folding light panel and stand. The light panel is 27cm long with the upright part of the stand 31 cm tall and the padded base 17 x 11 cm. It features three touch buttons on the base, the left button for 15 – 100% stepless light dimming, the centre one to power off and on, and the right hand one to scroll through the five white light variations: 3000K, 4000k, 4500K, 5000K, 6000K. The light ranges from a cool daylight white to a very warm almost yellow warm white. The light is blue filtered to protect the eyes and has a CRI rating of ≥90 (whatever that means). It comes with an extra long 120cm power lead and having standard USB plugs on either end it can be easily replaced or extended when required.

It folds up nice and small and is easy to carry around and being USB powered can be used almost anywhere taking power from an adapter, laptop or power bank. I was pleased to see that an up to date USB-C interface has been used which shows that the light is of recent design.

This a simple but attractive lamp, versatile and easy to use with an above average range of lighting options. For the £15.99 pre-discount price, rather a good buy.

The Good
Attractive Design
Bright and even light spread
Stepless Dimming
USB-C Powered
Extra Long Cable
Eye Friendly Output

The Bad
No Sleep Timer
No USB Out Port

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EONBON 17-in-1 Stainless Steel Bread Maker

Having tried quite a few breadmakers over the years, I have to say that this one, the ‎EONBON MBF-010 is the best yet, although also the most expensive at £160 before discounts – and yes there are always discounts.

In the box you get the breadmaker itself, the baking pan with mixing blade both ceramic coated, a plastic measuring jug, a tool to extricate the blade if it comes out when the loaf is removed, a single mitten, and a combined user guide and recipe book. The build quality of the machine seems fine although the accessories are rather cheaply made and the user guide is clearly written for the USA market and seems to feature large amounts of sugar in every recipe.

The 24.8 x 34.5 x 31 cm, 6.7 Kilograms machine will make three sizes of loaf up to 2lbs in weight with three crust browning settings which is the same as with every other bread machine I have used. It offers 17 different cooking programs, most of which I will never use although it does have a yoghurt making option which sounds interesting. It has a detachable fruit and nut dispenser, although I prefer just to add these into the mix from the start. Also, it has what they claim is a non-stick ceramic pan and blade but I found the coating coming off the blade after the first couple of operations. It has two ceramic heating elements (710w) rather than the usual one which seems a good idea but I have to say I have not noticed any difference this has made. Otherwise, this is pretty much a standard machine internally, as far as I can tell.

However, this machine is better designed than most and with a glossy metal body certainly looks better and distinctly posher, although the metal casing does get hot, so take care. The viewing window is larger than average and big enough to actually see what is going on inside, which is good.

The main selling point for me is the informative and useful backlit LCD display and the ease of use that it gives. Cheaper machines have a small non backlit display that is hard to read and harder still to use. The display here is bright and clear with all the functions clearly named and as the baking process progresses you can see on the screen which stage you are at. Also, I was pleased to see that when I accidentally started the machine by mistake I was able to stop it and begin again, not a feature I have found on the previous ones. Likewise, it has a 15-minute power interruption recovery feature which could be handy if the device is unplugged by mistake. At 15 hours the timer is longer than with most rivals which makes it easier to set the machine up in advance to make a loaf automatically. Like most rivals it also has a one hour keep warm facility, to keep the bread warm after baking finishes.

Firstly, I should say that I am not convinced that the bread made by this machine is any better than that made by the cheaper ones. Of course, there is no problem with the bread, every loaf I have made so far has been excellent. I have to say the bread making process with this machine is much more enjoyable and worry free than with previous devices. Yet the end result I feel is no nicer than that made with a machine costing half as much.

Basically, what you have here is a good quality bread machine which does not make loaves better than those from cheaper machines but looks nicer, is easier to use and is if money is not a problem is probably worth the difference.

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Aptkdoe P66D Smart Watch

In the past I have reviewed quite a few budget smartwatches and most of them have not been much use – cheaply made, poorly designed, and overlay complex with many features not working. Not so here this new smartwatch gets it right by keeping things simple and making sure that what it does, it does well. My normal smartwatch is from Amazfit and cost around £150, this one is not quite up to that standard, but it has all the core features, plus a bright and attractive screen and I would be happy to use it as my regular watch should the Amazfit pack in.

The 1.85-inch touchscreen is bright, clear, responsive and easy to use. Navigation on the IP68 water-resistant watch is easy enough because there are not too many screens, and all the screens are well designed, easy to see and actually serve a purpose. Unlike many budget phones, this one has a proper touch screen not just a tiny button below the watch face. There is a single non-rotating watch button on the side. It comes with a magnetic USB charging cable with a custom charging interface, so take care not to lose it.

The key features are here: time, steps, distance, pulse, Sp02, sleep, music control, app notifications, music and camera control. Unlike many budget watches, they all work. The watch has about ten watch faces pre-installed with many, many more available through the Gloryfit app. You can also install custom watch faces and although this does work and again is quick and easy to do, the watch faces are a bit limited. You can use a photo from you your phone, cropped to size with your choice of text colour and background. It does seem that you can only install one custom watch face with the last being overwritten when a new one is installed, which is a pity.

Phone calls, using the built-in very loud speaker and mic on the watch are quick and easy and unlike even with some high end rivals, are not too stressful to make. An editable phonebook is copied to the phone from the app and when making calls you can use the phonebook, numbers from the call log or a tiny but usable keypad.

The Gloryfit app used by the watch is nice and simple, easy to navigate and not too complicated, although it does favour tiny grey text on a white background which my old eyes find hard to read. It works well for health tracking and for sports activity and uses the phone’s GPS to get mapping details which are displayed for each activity along with heart rate, speed, altitude and other metrics. It has no less than 112 different sports modes but I suspect they may not be much difference between them. Sleep tracking is OK and seems accurate enough but is less detailed compared to the more expensive rivals. The app connects to Google Fit to export health and sports data.

Now this is no Apple watch. It lacks some high-end features, with others simpler and less advanced. But what it does do, it does well with a clean and simple user interface topped off by an excellent screen. This watch is available now discounted to less than £30 and for that price, it is a great buy.

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YOOYAA AK-83 1080P 5G WiFi Projector

Discounted from nearly £160 to £93.49 this has to be judged as a budget projector, with high end rivals costing several times this price. And with that in mind, this is not a bad buy.

Inside the box aside from the projector itself was a full sized remote control, a power cable with a UK plug, AV Cable, an HDMI cable, and an English language User Guide.

Build quality is first rate, the plastic casing of the compact-sized projector feels well made and robust. Nothing feels flimsy or about to fall off or break. The power cable is heavy duty with a standard UK plug. The User Guide is large, simple and well written and tells you all you need to know. The infrared remote control is full-sized with proper physical clicky buttons rather than the credit card sized soft-touch remotes too often supplied. The main control buttons can also be found on the top of the projector itself. It has all the usual ports and connections: HDMI, USB, micro-SD Card, AV and VGA, so pretty much any sort of external device can be connected to it including Amazon Firesticks, Roku Boxes, hard drives and data sticks.

As regards specifications, this projector offers native 1080p resolution with 4K downscaling, a contrast ratio of 8000:1, brightness of 8500 lumens, with a best image size of 100 inches over a projection distance of 3m with manual keystone and focusing correction. It offers Screen Mirroring and Miracast to wirelessly stream from Apple and Android phones. I was pleased to see that Bluetooth 5.1 has been used to give a faster and more stable connection and the unit features dual-band Wifi.

To operate you can use the supplied remote control, or the button set found on top of the projector itself. I use it with an Amazon Firestick connected to the HDMI port but external drives and memory sticks can be connected via USB. The USB port can also be used to power HDMI connected source devices. When a Firestick or similar device is connected the remote control for that can be used for navigation, audio and general controls. The Projector can also connect to your home wifi network to allow wireless streaming from iOS, Android and other devices on the network.

I found it gave a good, bright, well-saturated image at the optimum recommended throw distance of 3m with a stable focus and good keystone correction when used in a darkened room. The image quality is clear and sharp without fringing and it holds focus well. There are multiple options available in the settings panel to change colour saturation and contrast. Audio quality was good and reasonably loud for the size but for use outside or in large rooms an external speaker may be needed which can be connected to the AV port or streamed over Bluetooth. The internal fan is far from silent but less annoying than most others I have tried.

The budget 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 colours are good but less saturated and with slightly less shadow and highlight detail than you would find on a pro-level projector. The native 1080p resolution will be enough for all HD and below image sources and although 4K sources will play they will be downscaled in quality.

Those in search of a good quality entry-level projector with decent image quality and with support for all the basic functions may find what they need here. For most new home theatre owners with a small to medium sized projection room, this would be very well suited. If you want an autofocus unit with perfect colour fidelity for professional use in an 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 for the price. It is priced far below high end professional projectors but it is by no means a budget device as regards its capabilities. It punches a good deal above its weight with build quality and design that makes it a great buy at a very affordable price.

The Good
Compact Size
Good Image Quality
Good Build Quality
Dual Band Wifi
Bluetooth 5.1
Excellent User Guide
Full Size Remote Control
1080p Native Resolution
Standard Tripod Mount

The Bad
No Batteries Included
Needs Darkened Room
Manual Keystone Correction
No Autofocus

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BICKON 3 Speed Handheld Fan

Not too much to say here. This is an easy to use handheld fan that works well and gets the job done without any fuss or bother and for a decent price too.

In the plain and simple box are the fan itself together with a short charging cable, a detachable stand, a lanyard strap and a short, simple and unnecessary user guide.

The plastic bodied fan is 20.6 cm in height when on the stand, 9.5 cm in diameter and just 9.6 cm tall when folded. It has single recessed fan speed and power button on the front. On the side is the USB-C charging port with a tiny and rather dim status LED next to it. I was pleased to see that the up to date USB-C port was used as this shows the fan is of recent design. The handle folds just below the blades to form a base which allows the fan to be used as a desktop fan and in this mode the angle of the fan can be adjusted and seems stable enough at almost any angle. A small base unit is included into which the fan is inserted to allow it to be safely positioned upright on the desk with a small pull out tray serving as a phone stand.

The fan has three speeds selectable by short pressing the control button with a further press needed to turn the fan off. Even at level 3 the fan is not particularly noisy at 20db and weighing in at just 250g is light enough for sustained hand held use. It can even also be suspended around the neck using the lanyard strap to cool the face, hands free. At the lowest level, there is a pleasant gentle breeze, at full power a very noticeable wind comparable to a small desktop fan. At minimum setting you can expect up to 18 hours of use with 10 hours at medium speed, and 6 hours at high speed

This is a good example of a deceptively simple tool performing a basic task and doing it rather well. It has just one job to do and it does it without making a fuss about it. There are plenty of rivals out there, there is not really much to choose between them all, but at £12.99 before discounts – yes there are discounts too – I doubt you will find a better one than this.

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iAGFTS Red light therapy Panel

After a fall a while ago I started developing arthritis in my hand. I found that a red light LED therapy pen helped the swelling and inflammation to go down very quickly and I became a fan of the technology and so I decided to buy a red light therapy panel. Red light therapy does seem to be fashionable now and I have noticed several very low cost rivals now available claiming similar specifications to this one from as little as £35 but I feel it is worth paying more in the hope of getting a better product. I went for this one at £169 since it seemed to be of decent quality and from what looks to be a reputable supplier with some high end rivals costing nearly twice as much.

In the attractive branded box was the light box itself, a UK power lead, a door hanging kit, a pet of protective goggles and a useful and well written user guide. Build quality throughout is heavy duty, with nothing made from plastic that could be made from metal. The casing and mounting kit are all made from metal and seem to be almost of military grade construction!

Lacking a spectrometer I cannot accurately test the light wavelengths of the panel but I have no reason to doubt the claimed 660 (red) and 850 (near infrared) nanometer output from 60 LEDs for each wavelength in a 1:1 ratio. The 26 x 21 x 7 cm device is mains powered between 85-265v with a maximum consumption of 300w. There is a large control panel on the side with a physical on/off power switch and on/off touch buttons for each wavelength with up and down buttons to control the timer length with a small LED display panel to show the time remaining. On the rear is a large metal kickstand which can also be used to suspend the unit if the included door mounting hanging kit is not needed. Also on the back is the large air intake for the built-in and rather noisy cooling fan. On the top are the carry handle and mounts for the suspension kit.

To use it, switch it on and then use the up and down buttons to select the operating time before the device switches off. Press the lower button to turn on the 850 (near infrared) light and a green status LED will show in the control panel – remember this wavelength off is invisible to the eye and you cannot tell if the LEDs are active by looking at them – press the upper button to turn on the Red light and the light panel will light up and an orange status LED will show. The LED modes can be used together or separately. The panel will run for the period set in the timer and will default to that setting each time it is turned on.

The intensity of the effect will depend on how far you position yourself from the light panel. The manufacturer tells us a 6” distance gives up to 100mw per cm² with is best for muscles and deep tissues, 18” gives 57 mw/cm² for general use, and 36” gives 33 mw/cm² best suited for surface skin. LED devices generate very little heat compared to the bulbs and you can touch the active LEDs with only gentle warmth felt.

So how well does it work? I am not medically qualified and cannot say what effect it may or not be having clinically. After a couple of weeks of use (one twenty minute session daily) I cannot say I have noticed any difference yet to my skin or to general health although I do seem to be sleeping better. I will keep on with it as most users say the real benefits come with long term use.

This is not a cheap device, although the market leaders cost much more, but it is well made and easy to use and so far as I can tell works well. As the market expands prices will fall and so I will keep my eye open for a cheaper unit with credible good reviews before I buy another.

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FamBrow 4K Digital Camera

Budget priced vlogging cameras are widely available but are usually not much use but this one from FamBrow is really rather good provided you do not expect too much from it.

The camera itself is nicely constructed, and although light in weight does not feel cheaply made. Build quality seems fine for the price with nothing looking likely to fail or fall off anytime soon.

It has a large 2.8” inch fixed rear LCD screen and well labelled buttons which are simple and intuitive to use. The camera comes with a good range of accessories including, two batteries, a USB Cable, an HDMI Cable, carry bag and a 32GB micro-SD card. Although there is no manual focusing option this camera does have an autofocus lens, which is a step up from the fixed focus lens of most budget cameras. Again, unlike most rivals, this camera has an optical viewfinder which allows you to put the camera up against your eye to take photos, a surprisingly useful retro feature.

There are multiple operating modes – Camera, Video, Setup, Motion Detection, Slow Motion, Time Lapse Video, Time Lapse Photos, and Muli Snapshot (burst mode), all accessible directly through the rotating multifunction dial on the top of the camera. Next to it are buttons to power the camera on/off and to take photos/videos. Also on the top is a hot shoe mount with a removable plastic cover. On the camera back next to the screen are buttons for Digital Zoom in and out, and below it for Menu and Playback. There is also a multifunction navigation button on the rear which can also be used to select/disable screen info, file delete, LED light on/off, timer, and OK. On the side is a grommet-protected bay containing a microphone port, USB and HDMI out.

Having selected an operating mode using the rotating dial you select any related option by pressing the menu button on the camera back. This allows you to vary image size, and video resolution and add a range of special effects and filters available from the settings menu along with white balance, backlight and EV compensation. Simple file editing can also be made in the camera by pressing the delete button when photo or video modes. There is also built-in x4/8/16 digital zoom in both stills and video modes.

Videos are AVI wrapped with the following resolutions available: 4k@10fps, 2.7K@30fps, 1080p@30fps, 720p@30fps, VGA. So far as I can tell there are no other shutter speeds available. Audio seems to be uniformly recorded as H.264 AAC Mono 16bit. The video quality is good and better than I expected for the budget price, although it falls off somewhat in low light. It gives a good quality video at various modes from 4K to 480p but for me works best at 1080p@30 fps. 4k image resolution is fine but the 10 fps frame rate is too slow for general use. It does claim to offer video stabilisation, but this does not seem to do much and I cannot find how to turn it off.

As a stills camera, it works well too with a range of image sizes from 2MP up to 48MB available. Image quality is better than OK with no noticeable colour shifts or distortions but with reduced quality low light performance. Burst or single-shot options are available and there is a two stage shutter with an on-screen focus confirmation. Flash modes are available and easily selected using the navigation controls on the rear of the camera. Still images are good and sharp, and free from colour casts but at times a little insipid but nothing that is not easily corrected with the computer editing software.

It has an HDMI out port and I was pleased to see that, unlike with some rivals, this works in all modes and so allows the camera to be connected to an external monitor when recording video, a nice touch for vloggers. A USB port is available too for file transfer and video streaming when connected to a computer as well as for charging the camera battery.

The audio quality from the built-in mic is rather better than I expected, with a decent gain level, and was also better than I expected. I was very pleased to see a standard 3.5mm microphone in port which allows the use of lav, wireless or other external mics, important for vlogging use. The only audio resolution seems to be 16-bit mono, which is OK for vlogging but is a bit too thin for more serious use. Remember that the bit rate is determined by the camera and a low bit rate will limit the performance of even a good-quality external mic.

Switching between modes is quick and easy and all the buttons are nicely laid out, well labelled and intuitive to use. This is an easy camera to use and it does not take long to become familiar with the controls.

For the pre-discount £89.99 price, this is an excellent camera and fine for use as a first vlogging camera or for general use.

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Hpavxlr Arch Support Orthotic Shoe Insoles

I thought these would be the same as the other padded shoe inserts I have tried – but no. These inserts from Hpavxlrare made for people suffering from Plantar Fasciitis, flat feet or other related issues and are designed to give physical support under the arch of the foot. They are available in several size ranges from XS (4 – 5.5) to XL (12.5-14.5).

The main part of the insole is made from a standard padded foam material but the section under the arch is made from a semi-rigid silicone-like material and gives proper shaped support to the foot. They do not feel cheaply made and should last the course.

The insoles can be custom fitted to any particular shoe by simply trimming the toe and side area to size. This section of the insole is made from a memory foam like material and can easily be trimmed to size with scissors or a craft pen and the material is marked to facilitate this.

At around £25-30 (depending on the size) before discounts, these are not a cheap item but they have been designed to address a specific medical problem and not for general use. Of course, they may not work for everyone but if you do have this issue then these may be just what you need.

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