2 in 1 Charging Station for Fitbit Charge 2 from MixMart

The charger supplied with the Fitbit Charge 2 is a pretty feeble affair and consists of a simple crocodile clamp connector on the end of some thin cable. After a few months of use, my charger is not working so well now and needs to be carefully adjusted to get it to charge. Now discounted to just £12.99 this replacement not only charges more reliably but is quicker and easier to use.

The charger arrived simply packaged in a plain cardboard box with no instructions or information sheet included, not that one was needed. The unit seems well made and robust with nothing that seems liable to break or fall off at any time soon.

The charger has quite a broad footprint and takes up a reasonable amount of desk space but it can also serve as a mobile phone holder. Annoyingly there is no USB port so it cannot charge the phone at the same time. The charging pogo pins are clearly visible on top of the unit and the Charge 2 needs to be pushed in place quite forcibly and at an angle to make a good connection. Because it holds the Fitbit firmly it is possible to be fooled into thinking it is properly docked when in fact it is not. However, the technique is soon learned and in any case, the charging symbol on the Fitbit confirms a correct connection. It sports a useful non-slip base so sits firmly enough on even a shiny desktop.

This is an excellent device, works well and has now replaced the original Fitbit charger on my desk. The price is excellent although I would have thought twice about paying the original £45.99 price.

This is a must for any Fitbit Charge 2 owner.

The Good
Works well
Great price
Doubles as phone holder
Non-slip base

The Bad
Large footprint
Cannot double as phone charger
No USB-C plug option

More info and purchase

HoMedics MCSBK-350H-GB Shiatsu Pro Back Massager with Heat

homedics.jpgAs a chronic backache sufferer, I have tried quite a few massaging devices from HoMedics over the years and they have proved to be well made, well documented, nicely presented and easy to use. This one is no exception.

It resembles a lumbar support cushion used by some office workers and indeed it can be used in this way with the added massaging effect aiding the support benefits. It has a retaining strap across the rear to hold it in place and prevent it riding up in situ. It can be used in other parts of the body as needed and can just be held in place if the strap will not suffice. It has to be repositioned to treat the whole back as it is not large enough to do it all in one go.The operates by use of large internal rollers that move up and down attempting to mimic a strong rolling hand massage and in general, it does this very well. Although perhaps it is not really needed unlike most HoMedics massagers this one does not have a remote control.

This is a good device and although HoMedics are probably the market leaders in this field there are now a plethora of Chinese imitations many of which are the just as good as this one but available at less than half the price. If money is no option then go for this one, if not then perhaps keeps on looking.

The Good
Effective massage effect
Well made
Good documentation
Nice presentation
Heat option
Two massage modes
Auto off feature

The Bad
Short power lead
No remote control
Expensive
Will not treat whole back

More info and purchase

ONIKUMA K1 3.5mm Stereo Gaming Headset With Microphone

Priced currently at just £22.69 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.

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 translated User Guide which I include on the end of my unboxing video.

The headset is nicely made, robust and strong, and quite attractively designed compared to some gamer headsets I have tried – which is not saying much. It is moderately well padded on both the earcups, which are of the over-ear type, and on the headband. It is 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 to allow for separate mic/audio connections – green for headset, red for the microphone. An adaptor is including to allow the mic and headphone jacks to be joined to allow the headset to be used with mobiles phones and other devices with combined microphone and audio socket. The earcups illuminate with 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. 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 gaming headset, it falls down somewhat. The mic is sometimes muffled in use and not best suited for gaming talkback use. 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 walk away. If you are looking for a budget headset for music, PC Gaming and general use then this would be a good buy. As a gaming headset, I would give it no more than three stars, as a GP headset then maybe four and a half or even five taking into account the attractive low price.

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

The Bad
Microphone muffles audio
Not suitable for some gaming consoles

More info and purchase

TStrap Milanese Loop Watch band Strap with Magnetic Clasp

I needed a new strap for my Motorola 360 gen 2 watch as the leather strap supplied with it is getting a bit tired. This one seemed a good buy for the current Amazon price of £15.99.

It arrived simply packaged in a plastic bag along with two sets of spare watch spindles. I was pleased to see the enclosed spindles had quick release clips, these make it so much easier to fit the strap.

Build quality seems fine. The black strap I ordered was uniformly coloured with no sign of chipping or poor colouring. The strap was lightweight, in the right light you can almost see through it, and very flexible. The magnetic clasp seems strong and robust although I will be careful with it at first as the idea of the watch being held in place just by a magnet is a bit worrying.

This is a good quality watch strap currently available at a very attractive price and there seems no good reason not to give it a go.

More info and purchase

Satechi Aluminum Multi-Port Adapter V2 for 2016/2017 MacBook Pro and MacBook

This is a sophisticated professional level product well that matches nicely with the new revised MacBook Pro. At the current price of £79.99, reduced we are told from £89.99, it is certainly priced at Apple levels. This is a redesign of an earlier model and has a slightly modified body shape together with improved heat diffusion and an enhanced micro SD card slot. I have never used the earlier model so cannot comment on these improvements.

In the lightweight and simple box was just the hub itself. No Information sheet or User Guide was included although this may have been just a packing oversight. No carry case was included either.

Build quality is first rate and the 130gm aluminium body is so light I thought at first it was made of plastic but of course, a quick examination showed this was not the case. It has the following ports: three USB 3, one pass-thru USB-C, Ethernet, 4K HDMI, SD card, micro-SD card. I was pleased to see that the Ethernet connection is for a high-speed Gigabit LAN and that it has a USB-C pass-thru port output so other devices can be piggybacked. The power in USB-C 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.

In the absence of a data sheet, I cannot say what the maximum power handling of the USB3 ports is although the UNB-C can charge devices up to 45w, so Macbooks will be fine.

This 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 price is by no means cheap but hopefully, this may come down with time,

The Good
Superb build quality
Attractive design
USB 3 support
Gigabit LAN port

The Bad
Expensive
Hardwired input cable
No carry bag
No User Guide

More info and purchase

HailiCare EMS Foot Massager Circulation Booster with Belt and Remote Control

There are plenty of Foot Massager/ circulation booster devices available and most for the same price or thereabouts as this one – currently at £85.95 discounted from £189.99. However, this one offers more and in fact is three health devices in one. There is the foot massager itself and in addition, a set of gel pads and a waist belt which offer EMS stimulation controlled through the main unit foot massager to which they are connected by cables and which can be further controlled using the handheld remote control.

The whole kit arrived in an upmarket and attractive box, a step up from the usual cheap packaging often offered by budget Chinese devices. Inside was the Foot Massager, UK power adaptor, remote control, four gel pads, cable set for gel pads, waist belt, cable set for the waist belt, User Guide. Annoyingly no storage bag is included so take care not to lose the cables and pads. The User Guide, unlike those from many rival products, is large and easy to read. I append a scan of it to my unboxing video. Switch to full screen and pause as needed to read it.

The way the device works is to send electrical stimulation through the footrests of the main unit or through the electrodes built into the gel pads or waist belt. The electrical stimulation can cause muscles to react by contracting and relaxing in relation to the level of electrical stimulation and to enhance circulation in the stimulated areas. The foot massager also offers heat to enhance the process and the action on specific areas of the feet according to Chinese medicine can benefit other parts of the body. A chart showing this is included in the User Guide. A certain amount of faith is required here for best results, I suspect.
It offers twenty-five operating modes for the feet and the same for the waist belt and pads with ninety-nine levels of intensity available within each mode.

It seems a bit daunting at first sight with numerous buttons and no less than for LED screens. In fact, it is quite simple. The large centre button is to power it off and on. Below are five more buttons: Function select, UP (+), Auto/Manual Mode, DOWN (-), Heat On/Off. Between the two footpads are four LED displays: Time, Mode selected, Body Intensity, Sole Intensity. After powering on press the Function button to select the program you want then the Up or Down buttons to chose the intensity level. The same thing applies when using the pads or belt. Pressing the Auto/Manual button it will cause it to run for up to 25 minutes in manual at one selected mode(time controlled through UP and DOWN buttons). In auto mode, it will cycle through the twenty-five modes changing every sixty seconds.

I certainly have felt some benefit from using it and my feet and legs felt less tired than before using it. I suspect the benefits are cumulative in nature and best results are obtained with sustained use.

The device is well made and seems robust enough and nothing feels cheap flimsy. The main unit is lighter in weight than I was expecting considering the size but it does not feel cheaply made. If you are in the market for this sort of health device then I very much doubt you will find a better one at this price.

The Good
Great price
Quiet operation
Excellent User Guide
Attractive packaging
Belt and pads add-on
Timer
Manual/Auto modes

The Bad
Lightweight
No information about replacement gel pads
Power cable too short
No storage bag

More info and Purchase

Tacklife DMS03 Multi-Wall Detector for Metal, AC Wire, Wood

This device is like a mini mine detector that can be used to find metal and other items concealed behind the plaster. This can be a godsend when you need to drill into unknown surfaces and you are not sure what lays beneath. Drilling into a live cable is no fun at all.

Inside the plain cardboard box is the detector itself, a soft carry case, and a
Small, poorly translated and hard to read User Guide. I append a scan of the User Guide to my unboxing video. Switch to full screen and pause as needed to read it. The device takes a single 9v battery but sadly no battery is included, which is a pity as it means the device cannot be used straight from the box.

The device has a large and bright mono LCD display and this shows the battery status, type of material currently scanned for, magnetic/non-magnetic metal type, detection depth, auto calibration status, signal strength. The maximum working depth is Ferrous metals 80mm, non-ferrous 60mm, Live copper cables 50mm, wood 20mm. On the front is the LCD display along with three buttons. The top button turns the detector Off/On, left button sets it to Wood Detection mode, the right button to Metal/Live Wire mode. Along the top are Red, Yellow and Green LED status lights.

Before switch on ensure that the sensor area on the underside of the device is clean and dry and check too that the felt runners are clean. Some users have reported that the felt can leave marks on certain surfaces so be sure that the surface is clean and dry and that the felt pads are in good shape. It is good policy to auto-calibrate the unit before use and this is easily done by removing it from any possible signal source and pressing the Metal/Livewire button until the annoying high pitched noise stops and the green light comes on.

To scan first select the signal type (wood/metal, live wire) and place the DMSO3 onto or just above the surface to be scanned and move the unit from side to side along the area to be scanned. The signal strength indicator will change when a source is located. Press the Metal/Wire button once to detect for metal, twice when searching for live wires. The unit can only detect 50 or 60 Hz live wires, others will be located just as metal objects.

There are many sources of interference available and false positive are common so take care to remove anything that may disrupt the way the device operates. Like devices of this type is not 100% accurate but when used carefully it can be a very useful item to keep in your toolbag and perhaps even a lifesaver. The current price of £35.97 is not bad and although there may be cheaper rivals available it is also wise to pay out for a professional level item such as this.

The Good
Good price
Good build quality
Bright backlit screen

The Bad
Pads leave marks
Poor User Guide
No battery included
Constant high pitched noise in some modes
Not always accurate

 

More info and purchase