Nylavee SK100 Computer Soundbar

This simple and easy to operate soundbar is designed to use with a computer and will sit neatly on your desk under your monitor but in fact, it can be used with almost any audio device. It connects either with Bluetooth – using an up to date Bluetooth 5 connection for fast, stable and automatic pairing – or with a standard audio cable. I have tried other Nylavee speakers and this new model maintains the style and build quality of the earlier products.

In the branded mid-range box were the soundbar itself, an audio cable, and a well written and comprehensive user guide. Build quality seems excellent and weighing in at 2.16 pounds the 16.42 x 2.99 x 2.68 inch device feels substantial and made to last.

The soundbar has a semi-matt black finish with a fine mesh speaker grill along almost all the front face with a discreet logo centrally positioned and a small Bluetooth Status LED near the end. On the back are 3.55m ports for audio In and Out. On one end is the large control knob and LED status ring used to set the volume level, select operating mode and configure Bluetooth. The device has a hardwired USB cable for power and a standard 3.5mm plug for audio. The USB cable is used just to power the Bluetooth system as this device has no battery option and does not support data over USB.

I was pleased to see the soundbar features the latest Bluetooth 5 wireless technology which means connections will be faster, easy to initiate, lag-free and more stable. To set up Bluetooth, after connecting the USB power port, press the multi-purpose control knob twice and the front panel LED will flash blue/white to show it is in Bluetooth pairing mode. Connect your Bluetooth sound source to the soundbar which shows up as ‘SK100’. When connected the soundbar will beep and the LED on the front panel will flash blue. It will beep again when disconnected. The soundbar will automatically connect to the previous sound source when detected again. Double click the multi-function dial to switch between Bluetooth and cable modes

The sound quality is good considering the size of the speakers with a decent level of punchy bass and a higher register that is not too sharp or sibilant. Audio quality through headphones is excellent as you would expect and the inclusion of this pass-through port a very welcome addition.

What are my suggestions for the next version? I would hope it would have pluggable rather than hard-wired cables, a microphone, and a USB power hub feature.

That said, if you need a cleverly designed and well made computer soundbar with decent quality audio you need to go a long way to find one better than this.

The Good
Great Build Quality
Good Audio
Subtle Lighting
Audio Out Port

The Bad
Hard Wired Cables
No Microphone
No USB Hub

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LASIEYO Portable Cordless Tyre Inflator

This simple and easy to use rechargeable tyre inflator is tough, well made and built to last and will happily sit in your car’s boot until needed. It comes with a range of adaptors so it will work with your car, motorbike, cycle or whatever else you have that needs inflating. It even has a built-in flashlight to help you connect it up on dark nights.

In the box is the tyre inflator itself, which is compact sized at ‎19.4 x 11.1 x 5.7 cm with a weight of 690g, along with a USB charging cable, set of nozzle adapters, a soft carry bag and a well written and easy to read user guide. Build quality all seems well made and robust with the device itself looking virtually bulletproof to me.

The pump is made from heavy duty matt black plastic with a large backlit LCD screen on the front along with a rather hard to see black on black control panel. White lettering would make life much easier when using the pump, especially at night. The short rubber tubing and valve assembly wind around the exterior of the pump sitting flush inside a groove. On the front side of the pump are the USB-C charging port and the flashlight lens. It is a pity the USB-C port is not grommet protected to keep water and dust out.

The control panel has on the left a large button for power/pump on one side and another to turn the flashlight on/off on the other with pressure up and down buttons and unit/mode buttons in between. The LCD display shows the selected mode (Car, motorbike, cycle, sports ball), selected unit mode (PSI, BAR, KPA, Kg/cm ²), selected tyre pressure and battery status.

It is easy enough to use, use the appropriate adapter to connect to the selected object, tyre, beach ball etc. Just switch it on and select the object type you wish to inflate and press the plus or minus button until you get the pressure you need and then just hit the power switch to start inflation. The pump will stop when the selected pressure is reached. A normal car tyre can be inflated from flat in around 6 minutes. A fully charged battery should allow the pump to fully inflate 3 tyres from flat or six from soft.

This is not the cheapest tyre pump I have seen but at £39.99 I think it is worth paying a bit more for the build quality and ease of use.

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SOULION R40 RGB Computer Speakers

These are marketed as computer speakers but they work perfectly well as general purpose speakers, having an attractive design, compact size and, most importantly, good sound quality.

In the well designed and attractive product box are the speakers themselves with a USB power cable, and a heavy-duty audio cable both hardwired into the speaker boxes, together with a well written and easy to read user guide. Build quality all seem first-rate with nothing looking likely to fail, pack in or drop off anytime soon.

The speakers look good and are well made as well as attractively designed with a single 2.5” loudspeaker in each box. The USB and audio cables are both glassy black and heavy duty although it is a pity they are non-detachable and hard-wired in place. The USB connection is designed to power the Bluetooth and LED displays and does not support data or audio. The speakers will work perfectly well as regular speakers with the USB cable unplugged. Across both speakers is an angled strip of multi-coloured LED lights with the appearance of a mutating, ever changing coloured line rather than separate LEDs.

The controls are simple enough. On the right of one of the speakers are a vertical row of four proper clicky buttons, the bottom three being the usual track and audio controls with the top button turning the speakers off and on as well as scrolling through the six LED light modes. The six modes are: Flowing, Breathing, Jumping, solid Red solid Blue, and solid Green.

The speakers use an up to date Bluetooth 5.0 connection and the device defaults to this when switched on and if not already connected switches to Bluetooth mode, which can also be found by long-pressing the Mode button. Voice prompts confirm the mode change. When in pairing mode just look for ‘R40’ on the remote device and the speakers will connect with an audio confirmation tone. Subsequent connections are transparent and instantaneous.

Sound quality is excellent for the size with plenty of bass, clear and well defined mid-tones and an upper register that is not too harsh or sibilant.

These are attractive and well made speakers, fine for compter or general use with a sound that belies their compact size. With an introductory price of £26.99 before discounts makes them a very attractive buy.

The Good
Good Audio Quality
Good Build Quality
Attractive Design
Bluetooth 5.0
Eye Catching LED display

The Bad
HardWired Cables

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WEAFRICTCH 1400ml Leakproof Lunchbox

Not too much to say here. I have tried quite a few lunchboxes and at least at first sight they are all pretty much the same but this one I would say is definitely above average.

The 20 x 13.2 x 7 cm lunchbox has a capacity of 1400 ml, which is slightly above average for a single layer box of this type, split into three compartments with one compartment around twice the size of the others. The lid holding the supplied plastic spoon and fork is fully detachable as is the inner container holding the three moulded compartments, so cleaning should be quick and easy. The lid is lockable, clipping in place on all four sides, and has a silicone seal to keep the contents secure but take note that this lunchbox is not designed to hold liquids.

Made from BPA free heavy-duty plastic, this lunchbox is better made and more robust than most of the others I have tried and feels that it will last the course, although it is a bit heavier than some rivals. It is freezer, dishwasher and microwave safe which means you can take the box straight from the freezer and heat it in the microwave – but remember to remove the lid first. It is safe in temperatures between -20 ° C to 110 °C.

It hold a reasonable amount, enough for a decent lunch although falling somewhat short of a banquet. The box is quite deep and so hold a bit more than you might suppose at first sight.

There is nothing spectacularly original about this lunchbox, but it does what it claims to do without making a big fuss about it and at £11.95 before discounts, it is not a bad price either.

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KALIDI Laptop Backpack

From the outside, this is a rather plain looking medium-sized backpack but as soon as I opened it up I realised this is something special

This useful and well made Laptop backpack from KALIDI arrived simply but securely packed in a large reusable zip lock bag. Inside the bag was the backpack alone with no paperwork or instructions, not that any is needed.

The bag is made from a high-density PET material made from recycled bottles. It all seems well made, strong and tough with no sign of poor stitching, loose threads or seams ready to fail. All the zips are metal and seem robust and well made and the shoulder straps are mesh padded and strong. It also has a large handle on the top, for times when it is inconvenient to wear the rucksack. The rear of the back where it rests on your back has mesh padding to keep you comfortable and cool. The laptop compartment will easily take a 15.6″-inch device with space to spare and there are no less than 13 compartments of all sizes to hold everything else you would need for a weekend away or a day at school.

The bag features 1 front zipper pocket, 1 back zipper pocket, 1 main zipper pocket, 1 padded laptop pocket, 1 internal zipper pocket, 2 internal bottle pockets, and 5 small slip pockets. Inside there is a handy name tag so the owner can leave their details to identify the bag. The outside of the bag is tough, hardworking and utilitarian but the inside is positively luxurious with a straw coloured interior with a nylon or even silky feel to it. A great deal of thought has clearly gone into the design of this bag.

As regards drawbacks, well there are not too many. The bag is water-resistant but not fully waterproof and does not have a formal water resistance rating. It will be OK in light rain but don’t let it get soaked. The plain design looks fine to me but may not appeal to everyone. The simple packaging is good for the environment but limits the appeal of the item as a gift.

If you want good quality and capacious overnight bag or are on a business trip then this would be a very good choice as it would when used as a school bag.

The Good
Good price
Well made
Multiple pockets
ECO Friendly

The Bad
Plain Finish
Poor Packaging

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ZOOZEE Z50 Robot Vacuum Cleaner

My current robot vacuum is the iRobot Roomba 895, it’s getting a bit long in the tooth now but still works well and comes from one of the market leaders in the field. Technology has moved on rapidly with robovacs becoming increasingly commonplace, better engineered and better specified all the time. So I was keen to give this budget priced newcomer a try, particularly since it incorporates some of the latest and most up to date vacuum technology.

The Z50 vacuums on hard and carpeted floors and will also wipe clean suitable surfaces using the built-in water tank and mop. It can be operated with the supplied remote control, using an app on your smartphone or by voice with Alexa, Siri or Google. It has a suction level of up to 3000pa, which is pretty near the top end of the scale for roboVacs, with three levels of suction power manually selectable. It connects by wifi to your router and can be fully integrated into your home ecosystem using the Tuya Smart or Smart Life apps. There is also a dedicated ZooZee app which supports the more expensive Z70 model but not this one, so far as I am aware. I use the Smart Life app to control my Z50 and it recognised and connected to it the first time and fully integrates into the smart network. It works well with Amazon Alexa and using the Alexa app I was able to control it easily by voice and write simple routines to give more detailed control. For example, I was able to write a script that detects when I leave the house which tells the Z50 to start cleaning, with another script to detect when I was returning and instruct the Z50 to return to base.

It comes with a full sized remote control and this can be used to initiate automatic cleaning as well as to cancel a job and order the vacuum back to recharge. It can also be used to start particular cleaning modes or when using the navigation buttons, direct the vac to a specific area and vary the cleaning power level. This also works for floor mopping too. Pushing the arrow button on the Z50 top plate will also begin automatic cleaning or return it to the base.

It can operate in fully automatic mode in which the vac navigates the floor itself in back and forth patterns varying the suction power needed according to the specific floor conditions with the main brush and two side brushes delivering debris into the 0.6L bin with a replaceable HEPA filter to keep the extruded air clean. Using the app the progress of the cleaning routine can be monitored as the vac uploads the location data, although this model does not have the LiDAR found on the Z70 needed for detailed mapping. In addition to auto mode, there are specific modes for edge and spot cleaning which can be initiated using the remote control or app.

For floor mopping there is a separate 400ml water tank with a smaller debris bin that replaces the standard bin and this comes with a mopping cloth fixed by velcro to the base with a spare included in the box. The wet surface cleaning works well enough but again is not designed for heavy duty work but it will clean up mild stains, dust and spillage and give an attractive sheen to your bathroom or kitchen floor.

Like all robovacs, it works best on hard dry surfaces and again like all robot vacs it is not designed for deep cleaning work – this is not a Dyson – but is best left to clean up the general dust and debris found on the floor at the end of the day. We set ours to run every morning on a timer, it starts up at 8 am and scoots around the floor picking up the crumbs, fluff and dog hairs left from the previous day and when done returns to the charging base ready for the next day.

The general floor cleaning works very well and is superior in operation to our Roomba 895 with the 60db motor noise being about the same.

This is a fairly new company and so it remains to be seen just how well and for how long this product will be supported. A comprehensive and inexpensive spares kit is currently available which contains multiple replacement brushes and filters and so I would advise buying this now to ensure the maximum working life of the product

Compared to my old Roomba 895 the Z50 is more powerful, smarter, easier to use and at the current price, greatly discounted from the already low £299.99 RRP, a bargain indeed.

The Good
Good Build Quality
Effective Cleaning
Low Noise
App/Manual/ Remote Control
Wet/Dry Surface Cleaning
Full Sized Remote Control
3 Cleaning Modes
Low Operating Noise
Voice Prompts
Spare Filter and Mop

The Bad
Long Term Support Not Proven

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TEAMPD Digital To Analog Audio Converter

There is not too much to say here, this is a simple but well made device that gets the job done. It will convert a digital audio signal, from a computer, streaming device or DVD player, for example – to analogue, suitable for headphones, speakers or amplifier.

In the box is the DAC-003 device itself together with coaxial cable, optical cable and USB power cables plus a well written and easy to read user guide. The unit is ‎21 x 9.1 x 2.4 cm in size and weighs in at just 180g. Build quality is excellent, the casing is made from aluminium and all the connectors and cables seem to be of professional quality.

Looking at the aluminium bodies unit we see on one side a coaxial and optical input port along with a status LED and micro USB power input. On the other other side are left and right stereo RCA output ports and a standard 3.5mm jack audio out port together with a rotary dial to control the audio output level.

To use it could not be more simple. After first confirming that your TV or other device is set to output PCM or LPCM audio just connect the input to the optical or coaxial source and the output to your headset or RCA port analogue receiver. Set the output level dial to suit your connected receiver and off you go.

That is really all there is to it. This is a well made, simple to operate and just gets on with the job without making a lot of fuss about it.

For less than £10 this is a great buy.

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Mixcder E9 Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones

Over the years ANC headsets just seem to keep getting better, with better sound quality, improved isolation, and longer battery life. This new headset from Mixcder is one of the best yet that I have tried.

Inside the attractive and well-designed display box was the headset itself, carry bag, USB Charging Cable, audio cable, and User Guide. The User Guide is well and easy to read although rather small.

The headphones feel lightweight but well made and robust and are of the over-ear type. The headset looks good with an attractive black silk finish to the body and what looks like PU leather for the headband and earcups. The padding is good but not luxurious. The build quality seems fine to me with no sign of the padding on the band working loose, poor stitching, visible wires or weak joints – all elements that have failed on similar headsets I have owned in the past. There is nothing to make me suppose that the headset is not well made or that it will fail anytime soon.

The Active Noise Cancellation, as with all such headsets is better described as Active Noise Reduction, works very effectively for sustained low pitch noises – traffic, road roar, engines, – rather than for sudden high pitched noises but in general, makes a big difference. The headset can also be used as normal earphones and an audio cable is provided for this purpose. There is very little difference in audio quality when used with the cable or Bluetooth. Also, unlike with the many other ANC headsets I have tried with this one there is little if any difference in the music quality with ANC on or off.

Looking at the headset itself, on one ear cup is the easy to find sliding ANC button, ANC status LED and audio cable socket. On the other is the power/call button, Red/Blue status LED, USB-C charging port and volume/track up and down buttons.

Bluetooth Pairing, as with all Bluetooth 5 devices, was simple enough and achieved in the usual way by depressing the Multi-function/Power button for several seconds. The connection is indicated by the usual Red/Blue flashing LED. Once paired I found the connection to be stable and strong. After pairing, subsequent connections to the same device are automatic and almost instantaneous.

Battery life seems fine to me and I have no reason to doubt the claimed sixty hours of music time from a two and a half-hour charge. The fast charging feature is excellent with a five minute charge giving up two hours of music time.

This headset is lacking a few features often found even on cheaper units these days. The is no FM radio, SD card slot or NFC pairing option. The only non-standard feature is support for the relatively new AptX codec which should improve audio quality when used with suitable devices.

This is not an expensive headset but I was very happy indeed with the audio quality. The bass is very prominent and is clean, smooth and distortion free or though perhaps too intrusive for some tastes. Mid tones are clear and detailed and very easy to listen to with high frequencies lacking in sibilance or shrillness. The sound quality of this headset is very acceptable for the price. When used for phone calls, again sound quality is excellent on both ends of the call.

The headset is well made, comfortable, lightweight and easy to wear even for extended listening sessions and with decent sound quality too. It is a pity there was no SD card slot or radio but I wonder how many people would actually use them? Nevertheless, the excellent audio reproduction and good build quality and presentation make this a great buy for the price asked.

The Good
Good Price
Attractive Design
Excellent Audio Quality
Easy Access Controls
Good Build Quality
Bluetooth 5.0
Carry Bag
AptX Codec Support

The Bad
No SD Card Slot
No Radio

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xinwld Bluetooth 5.3 True Wireless Earbuds

I was looking forward to trying this new True Wireless Headphone set as it is the first I have tested with the very latest Bluetooth 5.3 interface. I have to say I was not disappointed. I am not usually a fan of the AirPod style stem design but it usually does make for superior sound quality as well as a more secure fitting and this is the case here too.

There was a time when you had to pay plenty to get decent quality True Wireless Earbuds but the introduction of Bluetooth 5.0 seems to have changed all that. Before Bluetooth 5.0 all but the most expensive TW earbuds would continually drop out, crackle, pop and generally prove more trouble than they were worth. As technology develops each headset is better than the last and this new set which features the latest Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity and USB-C charging has some of the hardware on board.

In the box were the two buds together with a short USB charging cable, a comp[act sized glossy black charging case, and a well written and easy to read User Guide. Despite the light weight, everything has a quality feel to it but without the weightiness of some rivals.

First time pairing could not be simpler and took just a few seconds. Simply remove the two buds from the case and pair in the usual way to your phone looking for the label MD026. Subsequently, taking the buds from the case powers them on, they connect to each other and to the phone automatically, returning them to the case turns them off and begins charging. The Lithium-ion case battery can recharge the buds around 4 times. There are LED’s on both the buds and case bud to show charging and connection status and the buds will charge automatically when placed into the case. These stem format buds are easy to remove from the magnetic case and holding the stem prevents accidental button presses, for me a major selling point.

These earbuds use the up to date Bluetooth 5.3 technology which is supported by the latest high-end smartphones but of course, they will also work with older Bluetooth devices. Bluetooth 5 adds a longer range and greatly improves both the stability of the wireless connection and battery life.

The buds are small, neat and comfortable to wear and will deliver up to 5 hours of music per charge. Sound quality is excellent for a TW headset with a very decent level of bass together with clean mid-tones and a sibilance free high end. Calls were clear to hear and easy to make. The buds have two microphones each which that is probably why I found call quality to be fine at each end of the conversation with no dropouts or excessive background noise.

Each bud has a single soft touch button on it which can be used to end/reject calls, play/pause music, navigate tracks, alter volume and invoke your phone’s voice assistant. This works well and is easy to use. No formal water resistance rating is given but we are told should be fine in the rain but not for swimming.

Charging is good and fast with a full charge for the buds taking just one hour with the same needed to fully charge the case. The case LED display shows the current battery status of both the case and individual buds.

For the £19.99 price, they are incredibly well priced for the technology available, indeed this headset compares very well with the high-end rivals I have tried as regards sound quality and features. Indeed, you would have to go a long way to find a better True Wireless Headset for twice the price.

The Good
Good Audio Quality
Good Build Quality
Auto On/Off
Bluetooth 5.3
Magnetic Case
ENC Noise Reduction
4 Microphones

The Bad
No Apt-X Codec
No Waterproof Rating

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Fatorm Height-Adjustable Laptop Stand

This well designed and compact sized Z style laptop stand from Fatorm at £27.99 is not the least expensive I have seen , but it is always worth paying a bit more for good quality. Made from premium gauge Aluminium alloy it should give stylish support to any laptop between 10 to 16 inches., especially Macs, with which the silver brushed metal finish complements nicely.

In the box are the laptop stand, soft carry bag and a simple and easy to read user guide. Made from aluminium alloy with silicone anti-slip protective pads on the base and supporting plate along with retaining lugs on the front, the stand looks and feels like a quality piece of kit. The included felt carry bag is itself well made and nicely padded and this is important as the role of the bag is to protect your laptop from the stand when both are carried around together.

The 0.9Kg stand is made entirely from Aluminium Alloy with a 288 x 223 mm support plate over a 218 x 200mm base with twin supports jointed at the top and bottom. The joints are stiff and hard to set, as they should be, but with a smooth and silky movement and once in position do not slip, wobble, or feel like they will ever need tightening. Unlike with many rivals, it does seem possible to tighten them if and when necessary as there is a recessed nut concealed within the hinge. The base is well weighted and even when the laptop is at full elevation it feels stable and secure. There are silicone protective strips along the top and bottom of the support pad as well as on the two anti-slip lugs which hold the laptop in place. There are heat dissipating slots cut into the Pad to keep the laptop cool.

Using it is obvious and intuitive, the only point to mention is to be sure to open and adjust the stand from the centre to avoid putting undue strain or skewing on any single joint. The stand will support a balanced weight of up to 10kg and can extend to a height of 12 inches at an angle of 45 degrees.

Priced as it is, this is not a cheap item, but it has a build quality and premier feel that the cheaper rivals certainly lack. I would have liked to have received a soft carry bag to protect other items when carried together, but that is no deal-breaker.

This is a quality piece of kit with a high end feel to it and will be a fine addition to your home office.

The Good
Robust Build Quality
Stylish Design
Stable at Full Extension
Carry Bag Included

The Bad
Cheaper Rivals Available

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