Brainpower Nootropics L-Theanine PURE 400mg 60 capsules

 

In order to give them a proper test, I have been taking one of these daily for the last several weeks and to my surprise, I have actually noticed a difference in how I feel.

The product arrived attractively presented in a friendly looking non-clinical pack with labels that are clear and easy to read, although of necessity still rather small.

L-Theanine is an amino acid derived from tea leaves and is said to relieve stress by inducing a relaxing effect without drowsiness. It may also possess immunologic attributes. Theanine may also have effects on the cardiovascular system and play a preventative role in cancer and help reduce blood pressure. However, limited clinical study information is available to support these claims. Few adverse reactions have been reported. Side effects in a few cases include a headache, dizziness. L-Theanine is usually taken doses of 200-250mg daily, usually in conjunction with Caffeine. These tablets do not include caffeine and are at a higher but still perfectly safe dose of 400mg.

The main reason to try L-Theanine is that it helps with sleep, reduces stress and anxiety, enhances attention and helps the user to focus the mind, and is said to boost cognitive functions. Certainly, I have found myself able to concentrate better and keep on top of my workload. I am also sleeping better and although I still wake earlier than I would wish I do sleep more soundly now and wake fewer times during the night.

The current Amazon price of £16.49 for a one or two month supply (depending on your personal dosage) is not exorbitant. As a vegetarian, I was pleased to see that these Spansules are not derived from animal gelatin and are fully vegan. I am not a great one for dietary supplements or pills and potions but I have found enough benefit from these to keep on taking them.

The Good
Good price
Easy to swallow
No caffeine
They do seem to work
Attractive packaging
Easy to read labels

The Bad
Not Cheap

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ICZI 7-Port USB-C Hub with Power Adapter

My backup computer, a small mini PC, is rather short on USB ports and would benefit greatly from the possibilities open to it with this new hub from ICZI.

Presented in a low key but attractive display pack the adapter was bundled supplied with a small but useful User Guide which I reproduce in my unboxing video.

The 11.6 x 4.2 x 1.45cm device is made of matte black plastic with a short hardwired USB cable on one end. It has two USB 3 plugs together with two USB-C plugs on one side and three more USB 3 ports and a power-in socket along the other. Also included is a standard three-pin UK power adapter, Build quality seems good although perhaps not premium but fine for the budget £19.99 price.

This is a device designed for data transfer rather than for charging and it will work for this without the power unit attached. For use with multiple devices, the supplied PSU should be used. The five USB 3 ports support Low-speed (1.5Mbps, full-speed(12Mbps), high-speed (480Mbps) and super-speed (5 Gbps) data speed as well as charging. The USB 3 ports are downward compatible and should work with all USB devices. The two USB-C ports are for data transfer only, not for charging, which is a pity. The device has over-current protection built into each port to protect both connected devices and the hub from power surges.

The excellent User Guide includes a handy chart showing the typical power consumption of different types of compatible devices. For example, a mouse would draw just 100mA but a USB 3 Hard Disk Drive would need the full power of the hub at 900mA. No drivers are needed for the USB ports.

This is a useful little device, small and easy to stow away in a gadget bag or drawer when not needed. For the relatively low price, this is a worthwhile addition to the kitbag of any computer or another USB-C device owner.

The Good
Great price
Good Build Quality
Works well
No drivers needed

The Bad
No USB-C Charging
Budget packaging
Hard Wired Cable

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ICZI USB-C Hub, USB-C to 4K HDMI Adapter and Card Reader

 

 

As computers and smartphones continue the move from USB to USB-C we will find adapters such as this increasingly useful. As they gain in popularity the prices for these all in one device continues to fall and at the current Amazon price of £30.99, this is one of the least expensive on the market.

Packaged in a low key and rather a downmarket box the adapter was bundled supplied with a small but useful User Guide which I reproduce in my unboxing video.

The 4.5cmx1.6cmx 0.5cm device is made of matte black plastic with a short USB-C cable on one end and an HDMI port on the other. On one side are three USB 3 ports and on the other a USB-C power pass-through port together with an SD and TF card slots. Build quality seems good although not premium but fine for the budget price.

The USB, TF and SD cards function as they would with any other card reader. The HDMI port allows you to play video directly from your current generation MacBook or MacBook Pro as well as many high-end smartphones. The USB-C port can be used to charge smartphones and other selected devices but it cannot be used to charge another Mac. The USB plug, however, can charge a connected Mac when the power in cable is connected to the USB-C socket. Many of the functions can also work with selected USB-C smartphones but this varies from model to model.

I was perfectly happy with the operation of this little device, I tried it with a MacBook Pro and with my phone and both worked well although not all features are supported on my phone, a limitation of the phone rather than this device.

For the relatively low price, this is a worthwhile addition tot he kitbag of any MacBook or MacBook Pro user.

The Good
Great price
Works well
Pass through charging
No drivers needed

The Bad
Not all USB-C smartphones support all features
USB-C port is charging only
Budget packaging

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LeftCafe Bluetooth Sport Earphones with 8GB Memory

I do not usually like yoke style headsets too much and for exercise, I usually favour the True Wireless type but this new sports Bluetooth headset from LeftCafe has given a possible reason to change my mind.

The headset arrived nicely presented in a simple but stylish mid-market product box. Inside was the headset itself together with a USB to micro-USB charging cable, three sets of ear gels (one prefitted) and a well written and easy to read User Guide. I append the User Guide to my unboxing video.

The headset has a quality feel to it. Gloss black plastic used for the outer surface of the earpieces with a smooth silk surface for the yoke and body. The yoke is very flexible and should be able to mould to fit any head shape. All the controls are on the right earbud and these consist of a large button on one side which controls Power On/Off, Play/Pause and call acceptance or rejection. On the other are the usual dual function track and volume buttons together with a grommet protected micro-USB charging port. The single microphone can be found here also.

I found the headset simple and intuitive to use. Pairing was fast and easy and the connection seems stable and drop out free. Track controls and volume are pretty much standard with the usual long and short button presses. I was pleased to see the multi-function button positioned away from the rest, this makes it easier to find quickly when in a rush.

Sound quality is excellent and better than almost all the True Wireless and in-ear rivals I have tried due to the larger size of the earpieces allowed by the yoke format. Again the format and the elasticity of the yoke allows the headset to be securely draped around the neck when not use with little chance of it falling off. The claimed wind noise reduction does seem to work and   I found making calls outside a less fraught process than usual.

Perhaps the main selling point of this headset is the integrated 8GB of flash memory built in. This allows you to store several hours of music in various formats including MP3 and APE. Just connect the headset to your computer using the charging cable and it is recognised as an external drive. You can then move your music onto the headset – remember to move the tracks in the order you wish to play them – and you can then access them using the headset controls and leave your phone at home.

This is not an inexpensive headset and there are many others available at a lower price and for the higher price, I would have like to see USB-C and Bluetooth 5 being used. However, these are by no means game-changing ommissions and even with that in mind the £39.99 price is really not bad at all considering the audio and build quality together with the convenience of phone free music.

The Good
Good Audio Quality
Good Build Quality
8GB Built-in Storage
APE Support
Good Wind Noise Reduction
Flash Drive Option
Easy Access Power/Phone/Play button

The Bad
No Carry case
Cheaper Rivals Available
No USB-C
No Bluetooth 5

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Mornwell D52 Handheld Water Flosser

This is the latest handheld water flosser from Mornwell and is in part an upgrade from the earlier D50 model but there are several changes between the two. Priced at £22.99 on Amazon the D52 is actually a pound cheaper than the D50.

In the attractive mid-market product box was the flosser itself, a USB power cable, three standard heads, a tongue cleaning head, and a User Guide. The User Guide is large, well printed and easy to read and I enclose a scan of it in my unboxing video.

Build quality seems fine for the price and I was pleased to see that it uses a USB power source, which makes it great for taking on holiday as no mains plugs or adapters are needed. It is a pity though that it uses a non-standard socket on the flosser end rather than a normal micro-USB. Lose the cable and the flosser is useless. It is IPX7 waterproof so it can be used with safety in the bathroom.

Using the device is easy enough. On the front are two large buttons, one for power Off/On, the other to toggle through the three cleaning modes: standard, soft and massage (pulsating). There are LED lights to indicate the selected mode and the pitch of the motor varies in intensity between modes so you easily know which is selected. The device will switch off after two minutes if the current mode is not changed. The mode selection lights are also used to indicate charging: flashing when charging, solid when charging completely. Sadly, the device will not work when charging.

As a long-term user of these devices I was pleased with the power of the device, often battery powered flossers can only manage a rather feeble flow, not so here. I usually use it in standard mode and switch to soft or massage modes for the gums. The extra large 300ml water tank is more than enough for a cleaning session and can be quickly refilled from the tap. One battery charge is enough for a couple of weeks of normal use.

What are the differences between this and the D50? This one uses a USB charging cable rather than an induction base, it has a 300ml rather than 150ml tank, it comes with four heads rather than two and of course has a different appearance.

This is an excellent device, works well, and compares well to similar units from high-end rivals.

The Good
Good price
Cleaning works well
Quiet in use
Three cleaning modes
Four Heads
Large 300ml tank

The Bad
No carry bag
Non-standard USB cable
Will not work when charging

More Info and Purchase

 

 

Tomppow Polarized Driving Sunglasses

Weighing in at just 25g this super lightweight pair of polarised UV400 sunglasses from Tomppow seem like a quality buy at £23.99.

The glasses do not come in a product box, just a shaped plastic bag with the sunglasses and other items within the hard carry case. Also included was a soft carry bag, a cleaning cloth and a screwdriver keyring. It is a pity no product box was included as these are a high-quality pair of sunglasses and need to be presented as such.

The glasses themselves are very lightweight indeed. The Amazon page description lists them at 25g, and 200g when boxed. The AL-MG METAL frame gives them a strength that belies the minimal weight. They are comfortable to wear and in fact, I soon forgot I even had them on. Because they are so light to me they feel a bit flimsy but the manufacturer claims they are super strong due to the aluminium-magnesium frame. Well maybe, but I have yet to find a pair of glasses that I don’t break eventually. There is little chance of me damaging the hard case as it is built to a very high a quality and looks capable of stopping a bullet whilst sharing the high feel of the glasses.

The polarised 2.4″ lenses are claimed to block 100% of harmful UVA & UVB Rays. I cannot test that but have no reason to doubt what they say. I can attest that the lenses are not too dark when looking through them and don’t restrict the vision in any way. The frame is of black plastic with dark sheathing to the arms and padded and adjustable nose guards. A discreet SPORT logo is on the side close to the hinge

There is not much to dislike about these sunglasses unless you prefer a heavier build. They are easy and comfortable to wear and shield the glare nicely. The price is not the cheapest but these seem well made and it is probably worth paying a little more for quality eye protection.

The Good
Attractive Design
Lightweight feel
Great Build Quality
High-quality hard case
Carry pouch
Screwdriver provided

The Bad
Poor Presentation
Cheaper rivals available

More info and purchase

Bicolor 8 Modes 100 LED 33ft Fairy Lights twin pack

 

I have tested and used many sets of copper string lights similar to these but none in a twin pack at just £7.30 per string. I selected the warm white option but a cool white version I also available.

Inside the nicely designed but simple box were the two identical string sets each with hard-wired battery box and a credit card sized remote control. A well printed and easy to read two-page User Guide is included, although it is not really needed. No batteries are included.

Each remote controls and battery box are clearly labelled with the various lighting options. There are eight static and flashing light modes available plus a single eight hours on/sixteen hours off timer.

The units are each powered by three AA batteries housed in a tough plastic box with waterproof seal and clip on catches. We are told the box is water resistant and proof against spills but no formal IP Enclosure Rating is given. I would suppose the box would be fine for normal outdoor use. It is a pity there is no socket for USB or indoor mains power adapter use. Two remotes are supplied although I was pleased to see that both strings can be controlled together from the same remote. This gives the option of using them as either one super long string or two separately.

The hardest thing about using the string is actually getting unravelled as it is supplied wound around a cardboard sheet rather than around a tube. I found it was difficult to avoid tangles and snares when getting it unwound. That task done it was easy enough to position it around a small tree in the garden. The lights look equally good when put into a decorative bottle, inside a wood burner and of course on the Christmas tree when that time comes. The lights are warm and bright and lend warmth and ambience to the room or garden.

For the current price of £14.55 for the pair, this is a great buy.

The Good
Great price
Battery operation
Waterproof
Timer
Good User Guide

The Bad
Batteries not included
String hard to unravel
No IP Enclosure Rating
No mains or USB power options