Gueray Portable CD/TF Card Player Q50

Sales of turntables and even Videotape players are taking off with the current interest in retro-tech and so I suppose it was only a matter of time until CD players fell into that category. Some people too may have a much-treasured CD collection that they still need to have access to via a dedicated player. This old-style device from Gueray packs a few more modern features under the hood, not the least of which is the integral micro-SD card reader.

In the box are the CD Player, USB Power Cable, 3.5mm Aux cable, Carry Case, Headphones with spares gels, and a large and easy to read User Guide. Build quality seems fine, and nothing looks likely to fail, fall off or pack in any time soon.

The player supports the usual formats: CD, MP3, CD-R, CD-RW, CD-DA, MPS, WMA, with four playing modes: A-B Repeat, Repeat 1, Repeat All, Random Play. There are also five audio presets to choose from. I was pleased to see that it can be powered from any USB port and that no special cable or adapter is needed. It can also be powered for portable use by two AA batteries housed in the underside of the unit.

Sound quality is excellent both when connected to an external sound system or when using the supplied headphones. Indeed, the headset, although not up to the standard of the CD Player are still a cut above that usually supplied with portable players and can give excellent results.

If you need a portable CD player you are probably a specialist user and will require a good quality well-made device. This £45.99 unit is not inexpensive but it is a quality piece of kit that promises to be reliable and a good long term buy.

The Good
Good Build Quality
Good Headphones
TF Card Reader
USB/Battery Power
Carry Bag

The Bad
No Bluetooth Out
No Optical Audio Out
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Mersoco Bluetooth USB Converter Record Player

The M513 is one of a range of turntables produced by Mersoco and is somewhere close to the centre both in price and features. It can be used as a stand-alone way of revisiting your old discs using the built-in speakers or with an existing audio system connected either through the rear stereo RCA Phono ports or USB The unit comes with RCA, USB, and audio cables supplied along with a UK plug power supply, 45rpm jukebox disc adapter and a well written and easy to read User Guide. This unit has an attractive natural wood body and appearance was clearly at the forefront when it was designed, although the turntable itself feels a bit lightweight. The player has USB type B out and sending a signal from this port to a PC will allow discs to be converted to Mp3 or other digital formats. A CD is provided containing the excellent freeware application Audible to do this.

The damped semi-automatic turntable has a decent quality belt drive inside and a soft touch tonearm mechanism on the outside. It supports 7, 10, and 12″ discs at 33, 45 and 78 speeds. Instead, it focusses mainly on being a portable record player and this it does rather well. The turntable works well although with a lightweight head that may need some additional weighting to cope with old or scratched discs.

The controls are simple enough. There is a single rotary pot for Off/On and volume. A disc speed selector turret switch with a damped arm lifting lever nearby. A single status LED glows red when powered on and blue when Bluetooth is connecting or in use. Raising and releasing the lever will gently lower the stylus on to the record and after playing the arm will raise automatically.

It has built-in speakers and although the sound is loud, bright and well defined it does lack bass, as to be expected from the compact format. The integral speakers are fine for monitoring use or when top audio quality is not needed. For serious listening, external speakers or a HiFi system should be attached. When connected to a good quality external system the sound quality is perfectly fine for the budget price. The record player does look good, with a retro feel to it and can play almost any form of record thrown at it, including shellac 78’s, old jukebox 45’s missing the centre spindle and more modern 12″ 45rpm singles.

For the current Amazon price of £54.99, this is an excellent buy and an inexpensive way of breathing new life into an old record collection.

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UK
Italy
France

Spain

 

AWAVO USB Desk Mini Clip Fan

Do not be put off by the rather chunky looks of this new fan from AWAVO as in fact it is far more hi-tech, versatile and functional than it may seem at first sight.

The fan arrived presented in an attractive mid-market branded product box containing the fan, USB cable,  and a well written and easy to read User Guide.

The fan is quite large at 125 x 224 x 131 mm but is lightweight for the size. This is due to the use of matt black plastic for almost all the fan assembly which can be looked on as either an advantage or disadvantage according to your needs. The low weight makes it easy to move and reposition but the plastic construction makes it look and feel rather cheap, as does the rather dated appearance. However, the build quality is excellent and the fan seems robust and well made. The fan is rather large for use on a car dashboard but would be fine on that of a lorry, larger vehicle or desktop. It can also be desk mounted or even clamped on the side of a pram. With a heavy-duty 45 mm desk clamp mount that doubles as a stand it is stable and wobble-free. There are no fixing slots to allow for wall mounting.

The fan has a single head that can be manually tilted upwards 90 degrees and can be set to oscillate. There are two buttons on the base, one for power Off/On and to set the three-position fan level and the other turn oscillation on and off. The device can be powered either from the 5000 mAh rechargeable non-removable battery or directly from any USB power source using USB-C charging port on the side. Yes, this device uses USB-C, the first device of this type I have seen that does so. The fan will operate between 2 -8 hours on battery power depending on the fan speed selected. A short USB to USB-C cable is included but no car power adapter is included

The fan is nice and quiet in operation on the desktop with a claimed noise level of 20-30db and is considerably more powerful than I expected giving a pleasant breeze across the desk when set to lower power. When set to maximum it can be compared to a normal 10″ office fan in output with about the same noise level.

This is a versatile, well made and very functional multi-use fan available at the time of writing for just £19.99 from Amazon. For the price, an excellent purchase.

The Good
Good build quality
3 Speed Fan
Quiet operation
Great price
Surface/Clip Mounting
Battery/USB Power Options
USB-C

The Bad
Plastic Construction
Dated Design
Large Size
No Wall Mounting Option

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Rova Pulse Oximeter

This simple to use photoelectric oximeter from Rova is well priced at £22.99 and sports a bright and easy to read OLED display and gives you an almost instant reading of your SpO2 levels – the oxygen saturation level of your blood – as well as your pulse on a bright and easy to read OLED screen. It also alerts you to abnormal readings and shows the pulse in graphical as well as numeric form. In the box are the Oximeter itself, together with a soft carry case, lanyard, User Guide and two AAA  batteries.
There are no settings or configuration to worry about, all you need to know is to switch it on and put your finger into it to get an instant reading.
So what does it do?
It works by passing a beam of red and infrared light through a pulsating capillary bed in the fingertip below the nail. The ratio of red to infrared blood light transmitted gives a measure of the oxygen saturation of the blood. The oximeter detects the pulse and then subtracts the intensity of colour detected when the pulse is absent. The remaining intensity of colour represents only the oxygenated red blood. This is displayed on the electronic screen as a percentage of oxygen saturation in the blood.
The purpose of pulse oximetry is to check how well your heart is pumping oxygen through your body. It may be used to monitor the health of individuals with any type of condition that can affect blood oxygen levels. Normal Peripheral oxygen saturation readings should lie in the 85-100 range and the device will alert you if the reading is out of that range, although the device can be configured for custom alert levels.
I have no way of checking the accuracy of the results but equally have no reason to doubt them and found the readings to be as I expected and consistent.
The device is well made and has an attractive professional look to it as well as being both the fastest and easiest to use oximeter I have yet tried. The price is pretty much in line with rival products and the attractive design and the presentation makes it a very decent buy.

Topspitgo Automatic Soap Dispenser

This handy soap dispenser from Topspitgo is doubly useful in these troubled days as not only does it dispense liquid soap or hand sanitising fluid, it works with an economic soap/water mix and dispenses the liquid as an easy to use foam.

In the box are the soap dispenser, User Guide and what I take to be a collapsable funnel, although this is not mentioned in the User Guide. Build quality all seems fine and the device feels pretty robust and well made.

For normal operation use a mixture of liquid soap and water, do not use a solution that is too thick to avoid clogging up the feeder pipe. The device then dispenses a preset amount of foamy soap when the hand is placed below the sensor at the front of the unit. Press the button to change the amount of soap dispensed. The status LED lights up during operation. You will need to experiment as to the proportions of water and liquid soap but try one part soap to five parts water as a starting point. For me the soap is dispensed as a light but creamy and dense foam, but again results will vary according to the type of soap and proportions used. I worried at first that the 280ml tank capacity might be too small but this proved not to be the case.

It is important to keep the device free from congealed or dried up soap, so be sure to rinse the device if it is to be left unused for any length of time.

The device works well and for £20.89 is a pretty good buy.

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TECKIN SP23 13A WiFi Smart Plug 2 Pack

Priced at just £21.99 for a set of two, this updated Smart Plug set is far from expensive. I have encountered quite a few smart plugs that vary only in price and the app they use. However, TECKIN have a good reputation for Smart Gear and so I was interested to see how the new plugs got on.

At home, I currently mainly use LightwaveRF switches with my Amazon Echo and Google Home devices and this works well but needs a hub to be connected to the router. The latest generation of IOT products, like these from TECKIN requires no hub, connects directly to the router, is assigned its’ own IP number and is easy to identify online. It is recognised by the Amazon Echo and Google Home and seamlessly blends in their home automation ecosystems.

In the simple but attractively designed mid-market product box were the plugs themselves along with a well written and easy to read User Guide. The Guide assists in setting up the Smart Life app and for linking the device to Amazon Alexa and Google Home but is not really needed as the app walks you through the whole simple procedure.

The plugs themselves are well made, nicely designed, and feels robust enough for long-term everyday use. They are smaller in size than many rivals and less obtrusive in use. It has a power status LED on the side which doubles as a proper clicky off/On button.

Setting it up was easy enough and can all be done by following the in-app instructions. Open the app and begin the procedure to add a new device. Plug the socket in and the LED starts flashing quickly, select the device type from the list in the app, input your wifi password, let the app then detect the device on the network. My unboxing video also walks through the initial configuration. Once the device is set up and online simply switch to the Alexa app, enable the Smart Life Skill and follow the steps to recognise the plugs. Again this is covered in detail in the printed User Guide.

The Smart Life app is excellent and does much more than just allow you to add the plug to Alexa and Google. The app will also allow the plug to be triggered by events such as you entering and leaving the house, sunrise/sunset, etc, and will work in conjunction with a wide range of wifi devices from the same manufacturer. I doubt most users will use the app but will control is just through voice, as I do.

This is an excellent product in its own right and when integrated with Alexa or Google really can start to transform your home. I have seen similar products from other suppliers but this one has to be one of the most compact, easiest to use, and least expensive yet.

Features
Good price
Works with Alexa
Works with Google Home
Excellent App
Compact Size
No Hub needed
Part of a family of devices
Off/On button
Status LED

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CocoBear Clinical Thermometer CBT40

This simple clinical thermometer from Cocobear is not quite so simple as it seems and packs some pretty sophisticated features into it for just £15.99
In the box are the thermometer, User Guide and a CR2032 button battery. The thermometer is made from flexible silicone with a metal recording tip sensor. It has a backlit LCD and a single soft touch button on the end of the body of the unit. Build quality seems fine and there is nothing that can break or fail too easily, as the stalk of the thermometer is both flexible and tough.
The thermometer can display in either Centigrade or Fahrenheit, displays the last reading when the button is pressed, offers audio alerts and is accurate to ± 0.1 ℃. It has an alert feature if an abnormally high temperature is recorded.
It can be used to take the temperature under the arm or in the orifice of your choice. To use it, just press the button and the beep sounds once, put it in your mouth (or wherever) and wait until the beep sounds again after about eight seconds. The backlit display will show the reading. Next time you press the button the last reading taken will be displayed again.
The is a deceptively simple little product that works well, is nicely designed and well priced.

LC-dolida Bluetooth Music Headband

Newly updated and in a more upmarket and attractive box, here is the latest version of the LC-dolida Bluetooth Headband.

In the box are is the headband itself along with a charging cable and User Guide. Build quality seems fine with nothing likely to fail, fall off or break anytime soon. In fact, this is an advance over LC-dolida’s older model as it features a standard USB charging port and built-in controls, so no external pod is needed. It is a pity, however, no carry bag for the headband was included.

The headband has two speakers inside a pocket within the headband with an external control pad on one speaker with buttons for calls, track selection, and audio volume. At the rear, there is a standard USB port to charge the device and this can be tucked up inside the headband when not in use.

The headband is nicely padded, comfortable, and easy to wear. There is an access pocket inside the headband through which the speakers and wire can be extracted prior to washing the band, take care when doing so as they are delicate. I was very pleased to see that the latest Bluetooth 5 technology was has been used here as this will greatly improve the sound quality, range, and connection. The User Guide is well written in good English, nicely printed, and easy to read. I append a scan of it to my unboxing video.

Pairing the pod to the phone is a matter of just pressing the single button and following the voice prompts. Using the button with long, short bor multiple presses allows calls to be made, received and rejected, to pause/play music and turn the device off. There are Up and Down buttons to regulate volume and navigate tracks. A single rather dim LED on the control pod shows the current device status when charging the 240mAh Lithium-ion Battery.

I prefer to use this headset for listening to music when in bed as it allows me to comfortably rest my head on the pillow when laying on my side, not possible easily with normal headphones and often uncomfortable with in-ear or True Wireless models. The headband is a little tight for me but for those with smaller heads, it would be perfect. It is soft and padded and the speakers do not press into the ears or feel intrusive in any way. It can be pulled over the eyes to aid sleep. I would feel it a little restrictive to wear for sports use but others may disagree.

I was pleasantly surprised by the sound quality. Often headphones with unusual design tend to sacrifice audio quality but not so here. The audio is good with plenty of bass, clear and non-muddy mid times, and high frequencies which are not sibilant or grating. These are not the best I have ever used but the sound quality is more than adequate and better than many conventional headphones I have used costing much more.

This is an excellent device for home or bedtime use with very decent sound quality but is well made and durable enough for sports use. The current Amazon price of £18.99 makes it particularly attractive.

The Good
Good Sound Quality
Great Price
Good Build Quality
Bluetooth 5
Washable
Nice Packaging

The Bad
Tight fit for large heads
No Carry Bag

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INDUSTRIPET Lickimat Wobble Feeder

Designed in Australia, where they know something about wobble boards, this simple device is designed to keep your pet occupied by licking meat paste, peanut butter, or similar delights from the knobbly surface of the toy.

The toy, which is like half a ball covered in hard nodules inside the soft and wobbly skin, is well made and quite robust. It feels just like a deflated football and this is to prevent the pet from pushing too hard against it which makes it far more difficult to get the food out. That said, a particularly strong dog could probably bite and tear the rubber, so take care to supervise the first couple of time it is used.

Coating the inside surface is as simple and obvious as it sounds, although inverting the ball makes it a bit easier to get the maximum amount on. I have experimented with meat past, peanut butter, dripping, the fat from roast chicken spread with a spreading knife or brush. One good thing about the shape of the object is that it reduces the amount of spillage onto the floor.

Did my dogs like it? yes, both dogs seemed to enjoy it but gave up after a while leaving some paste still in place. Either it was just too hard to get it all off or they did not feel it worth the effort.

This is a decent enough item and at £8.99 is not too expensive, it makes a change from the usual Kong type food toys often used. Remember, it may not be suited for a particularly strong and greedy dog!

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Unison WiFi Smart Bulb B22 – 2 pack

Priced at just £19.99 this pair of full-colour 10W hub free smart bulbs can be used with ‘Magic Home-Smart home’ or with Alexa/Google Home to give full voice control. Of course, for this to work you will need an Amazon Echo or Google Home device but even without it, you can still fully control the bulb through wifi. Unlike many rivals, these use the standard UK B22 bayonet fitting.

In the box are the bulbs together with a large-sized and easy to read User Guide with additional setup details printed on the box. Build quality seems fine with nothing likely to break as modern plastic LED bulbs are so much more robust than their old incandescent forbears.

To use a bulb first download the Magic Home-Smart home app. This app works with a wide range of smart devices and is not used with the bulb alone. After installation to your 2.4Ghz Wifi connected smartphone follow the in-app instructions to add a new device. The procedure is simple enough and is well explained in the app. Plug the bulb in and it will flash repeatedly to show it is in Setup mode. Input your wifi password into the app and this is then sent to the bulb’s built-in wifi connection. The bulb will then automatically connect to your home wifi as long as the power supply to it is connected. Once connected just follow the in-app instructions to add the connected skill to Amazon Alexa or Google and the bulb will be automatically recognised and can be controlled by voice alone.

Remember not to turn the bulb off at the socket, but always through the app or Alexa/Google. What happens when the wifi is off, you may ask? Well, it can still work as a normal bulb and can be switched off and on from the power socket or lamp switch. Also, remember to configure the bulbs when your phone is connected to a 2.4Ghz wifi network, not 5Ghz although once the bulbs are added to the network both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz can be used.

Once online and registered with the app you can then turn the bulb off and on, engage a range of preset lighting patterns as well as manually selecting the colour and brightness you want. Once the Smart Life Alexa/Google skill has been enabled and the bulb named and recognised you can then perform most functions just by voice alone. You can turn it Off and On, vary the brightness, and select colours.

The bulbs work well and once installed could not be easier to use. The price and build quality are excellent and if you need an introduction to the Smart Home then this set would be a fine choice.

The Good
Good Price
No hub needed
Alexa/Google voice commands
Good User Guide
Easy to configure
Standard UK Bayonet Fitting

The Bad
Limited usability when wifi is down

More Info and Purchase