Campark X20 4K 20MP WIFI Touch Screen Action Camera

Reduced on Amazon from a fantasy price of £299.99 to a more sensible £79.99 this new action camera from Campark falls into the mid-price range but for functionality and features it is decidedly high end.

The camera and accessories arrived packaged in a large and rather upmarket box which belies the low price. You get plenty of kit for your money as my unboxing video shows. A full range of accessories and mounts are included including a remote control with wrist strap. The only omission is the lack of an SD card. It is a pity about the SD card as they are cheap enough these days and would not add greatly to the cost and would allow the camera to be used straight from the box. The printed User Guide although not great is distinctly superior to those usually found, is a decent size, well printed in colour and easy to read. I attach a copy of the guide to my unboxing video. Run the video full frame and pause as needed to read it.

The camera itself, which resembles almost exactly every other action camera of this type bar the tiny secondary LCD screen on the front, is certainly better than I expected for the money. Video quality is the best I have encountered for an action cam in this price range, and a definite step up from many of the cheaper no-name GoPro clones. The 170° angle of view is great but with the barrel distortion common to all cameras of this type although there is the option to correct for this in the settings. Image stabilisation is also available and this works surprisingly well and better than I expected.There was a time when this would have been seen as a high-end camera and now standards are moving higher even in the budget market. This camera does a perfectly decent quality 4K@24fps –at 2880*2160 rather than the standard 3840×2160 -as well several other rather more useful modes including 1920×1080@60fps and 720P 120fps slow motion. The slow motion is OK and at 120fps is better than on some rival action cameras but not so good as my 240fps Nexus 6P phone. Still images were good but with still images when WDR was enabled I noticed a tendency for some colour fringing. With a right subject in even lighting, it was capable of producing excellent results for both video and stills. Remember that the sample footage in my unboxing video will have been heavily compressed during posting and not reflect the true resolution.

Unlike many lesser action cams that claim to be waterproof but are not specific about the details this one clearly states it is IP68 water resistant which is the highest level of protection available. It should be fine for swimming and diving use to at least the 30m depth claimed.

The camera has loop recording, which is often used for cameras and does indeed offer a Car Mode but I have not seen in the User Guide that the camera has the G-Sensor needed to record and flag impacts. For me, that is no big deal as I have yet to find an action camera that will actually work effectively as a Dashcam.

Like many more upmarket action cameras, it has wifi built in which means the camera generates a mini wifi network of its own which allows an attached phone have basic control the camera and viewed live-streamed video. To use it you need to download the “CamKing” app from Apple or Android. The Android app is better than most and will stream a decent quality video stream, save images and video to the app. I was not able to test the iOS version of the app. I doubt I will need to use the app as the camera comes equipped with an excellent remote control button, large and easy to use in gloved hands which allows you to take pictures and videos, which is all I would want to use the app for. All action cameras have a settings mode you can access using the rear LCD screen but this one is by far the best I have tried so far. The screen is touch sensitive (although a bit sticky at times) with multiple and easy to read options large and bright enough to be usually outdoors. There is also a quick access panel to the main camera options available by swiping up from the home screen.

This is by far the best action camera I have used in this price range. Image quality is excellent, there is a wide range of modes and options available including Electronic Image Stabilisation and Rectilinear image correction. A good range of mounts is included as well as a carry case. For the current price, I doubt you will find a better Action Camera.

The Good
Great price
Good video quality with EIS
170° Angle of view
4K@24fps
1080P@60fps
720p@120fps
Wifi
IP68 water resistant
Good Android app
Nice packaging
Remote control
Wide range of accessories included
2-inch screen
Excellent easy access touchscreen menus
Car mode
Rectilinear distortion correction

The Bad
No SD card included
Some colour fringing in WDR stills
Touch screen sensitivity could be better

More info and purchase

imuto 20100mAh 45W Power Bank with USB-C and QC 2.0

I have used quite a several power banks from iMuto recently and they have always been high spec with the latest generation technology but rather more expensive than many l rivals. At £49.99 discounted from £62.99 on Amazon, this powerbank is indeed by no means the inexpensive but is it worth paying extra for?

It arrived in a simple eco-friendly box inside of which was the powerbank itself, a USB to USB-C cable, and a soft carry pouch. Although no doubt we all have them in abundance nevertheless it is a pity no USB to micro-USB charging cable was included. What was included was a well designed and nicely printed User Guide albeit rather small in size. I enclose a scan of it on the end of my unboxing video.

Although well made and attractive enough it has an unusual two-tone finish to the body which some may like although I am not amongst them as for me it lacks the sophisticated feel of most iMuto devices. But that may just be me. That aside, it has an upmarket look to it and this coupled with the high build quality gives it the feel of a high-end item. The 20100mAh 45W capacity of the unit certainly belies the compact size of the device, the last 20000mAh powerbank I had was twice this size and weight.

On one side is the single a control, a soft touch Off/on switch next to a row of blue status LEDs. Unlike with many iMuto power banks there is no LCD status screen
On the front is the micro-USB power-in port, the QC2 USB output port, the USB-C input/output port and a PD2 status LED.

The charging ports adjust automatically to the requirements of the connected device to allow for speedier and safer charging. Should there be an overload then the device will safely reset itself. Unlike most power banks of this one can charge Apple Macbooks using the USB port and supports the 19v output level needed. Unlike most rivals not only does this powerbank have a USB-C output port but the same port can be used to charge the internal battery of the powerbank. It can also charge external devices whilst itself being charged, most power banks cannot charge and discharge simultaneously.

The main selling points for this device and the reason it is worth paying the extra are the compact size, high power capacity, USB-C in/out and Macbook compatibility.If these high-end features are important to you then this would make an excellent buy.

The Good
High capacity battery
Compact size
Carry bag
USB-C port
Fast internal battery charging
QC 2 output
USB-C cable included
USB and USB-C power in ports
Macbook compatible
Can charge internal battery and external devices simultaneously

The Bad
Plastic feel
Expensive
No USB charging cable

More info and purchase

iMuto 100W 220V AC Power Inverter for M5 Powerbank

Just reviewed the UK power adapter add-on for the iMuto powerbank I reviewed yesterday:

This is a UK specced add-on for the iMuto M5 Powerbank. This attaches to the top of the 185Wh/50000mAh iMuto M5 Powerbank and allows any device with a standard UK three pin plug to be powered by it. It outputs 220v at up to 100 watts only. This will be fine for small lamps, laptops etc but forget about trying to run fan heaters, hair dryers etc from it.

In the box is just the inverter and User Guide, co cables, case or other accessories are included.

Fitting it could not be more simple. The male connector on the lower side folds down to engage the port on the top of the M5 powerbank, turn the large screw on top of the inverter until it is finger tight and turn the small turret switch on the inverter. The LED lights up and it automatically turns on the M5 and delivers power to the single UK socket on the inverter top.

Priced at £39.99 this is not cheap but it is well made and robust and will allow you M5 to power most household devices.

 

More info and purchase

iMuto M5 50000mAh Powerbank

I have used many power banks before but never one so large and powerful as this nor one with so many different power options as this. That is just as well as at the present price of £139.99 discounted from £159.99 this is no inexpensive buy.

In the box is the power bank itself, external power supply with UK and EU plugs, car adaptor, power cable, 10 laptop plug adaptors, USB-C cable, fuse, dustproof protection ring, travel pouch, User Guide. I attach a scan of the User Guide to my unboxing video, switch to full screen and pause as required to read it.

Shaped like a large cube all the ports and lights run along a common strip near the top and this is protected by a removable rubber cover. On one face are the three LED lights. The next has the power-in port, backlit LCD power status display, light Off/On and Power Off/On buttons. The third face has the four USB ports and fuse port. The final side has the laptop DC output ports and turret selector switch. On top is a grommet protected DC output port for use by the optional inverter or other devices.

In some ways, this is just a giant version of the power banks we are all familiar with and it has the USB outputs we would expect – three 5v/2.4A and one Quick Charge 3.0 port all of which have the smart technology to deliver the exact power level needed by each device. Like most power banks it has a built-in lamp but with three high power 1.5w LED lights this one far exceeds those of the smaller rivals. From a full charge, the light will run for up to 3600 minutes.

Unlike most other power banks this one comes with a full set of adaptors to allow it to power and charge a range of laptops including 19v Macbooks. To do this switch from the default to DC output by sliding the turret switch on the side of the device from the centre OFF position to the left to for the two 12V output ports, or to the right for the single 19v port. An LED light will come on to confirm the selection in each case. The LED light behind the USB ports will illuminate when DC power is turned OFF. Although an adaptor cable is included it is a pity there is no USB-C port built in.

For those needing a UK mains level output iMuto supply an inverter designed to connect to the grommet protected DC output port situated on top of the M5. This is an accessory device which I may review in the future should I decide to buy one.

There are three ways to charge the power bank. It can be charged from mains power and several adaptors are provided for this, from a car cigar lighter, or from a Solar panel such as the companion device that iMuto produces. Charging is not a quick affair and takes up to fifteen hours from flat when connected to a mains supply. When charging it is not possible to connect external devices so it is good policy to ensure the M5 is charged whenever it is not needed.

This device is no lightweight in any sense of the word. It can charge an iPhone 7 at least fifteen times from flat, a new Macbook three times and other devices proportionately. It is not the sort of unit you can keep in your computer bag but rather one to take camping or to keep under your desk. With the inverter attached it is powerful enough to even serve as a mini UPS for your desktop computer. In the right situation, this could be a lifesaver and worth the rather hefty price tag.

The Good
Range of power outputs
Flashlight
Carry case
Backlit digital display
UK 220w inverter add-on option
Solar panel option
Car fuse included
Charges Apple Mac laptops
Carry bag included

The Bad
Heavy
UK 220w option not included in box
No USB-C port
Lengthy charging time from flat

More info and purchase

Satechi 7-Port USB Charging Station Dock

I have used quite a few Satechi products including similar charging stations and although this one is not quite so stylish as some and a bit more plasticky nevertheless it performs superbly well. Inside the box was the charger unit itself, an external power transformer, velcro straps, a UK mains lead, a Europlug two pin mains lead and a well written, easy to read but poorly designed grey print on white User Guide. I attach a scan of the User Guide to my unboxing video – go full screen and pause to read it.

I was a little disappointed when first viewing the product as I was expecting the aluminium or alloy body that is often a hallmark of Satechi but in this case, the body of the unit was of plastic but I daresay that may have been to save weight and production costs. No cables are included, which is a real pity as when used with long cables the devices can look messy, confused and ugly. I would be happy to pay extra for a selection of short cables designed for use with this device. A set of velcro ties are included to keep cables in order but this does not really solve the issue. It has seven output ports: 5V/1A 3x Type-A, 5V/2.4A 2x Type-A, 5V/3A 2x Type-C. It is a pity all the standard USB ports cannot output at up to 2.4A. It is a pity too that there is no provision for induction charging. The ports are all Smart and will output only the correct power for each unit. The unit has rigid clear perspex supports for each device which is better than the fold-down supports on some rival units which are hard to access and always fall flat at the wrong time.

Build quality is up to the usual Satechi high standard and when in use with short cables it looks rather impressive. This is a well-made device and I am sure should last for years if treated right. It has performed perfectly for me so far and seems reliable and stable in use. It has some drawbacks but a the end of the day the build quality and functionality make up for all.

This is not a cheap item at £59.99 but in this world, you get what you pay for. If you want a stylish and upmarket charger to keep all your phones and tablets in order then this could be for you.

The Good
Attractive design
Smart Charging
Good build quality
USB-C support
Rigid support struts

The Bad
Expensive
No cables included
Plastic body
Large external PSU
No induction charging

More info and purchase

Melitta F750-202 BARISTA TS Coffee Machine

Our current bean to cup coffee machine, the Delonghi ESAM 4000, is starting to get a bit cranky, so I was pleased indeed to get a chance to replace it with this new all singing all dancing machine from Melitta. Priced at an eye-watering £1149.00 it has a lot to prove.

In the rather battered box was the coffee machine itself, external milk container, two flexible milk/steam tubes, instruction book, cleaning fluid, descaling fluid, Water filter, water PH testing strip, a tiny cleaning brush, coffee scoop, water filter bracket.

Build quality although largely of plastic feels good although perhaps not quite as I would have expected for the fancy price. That said everything is well made and clicks smoothly into place. The enclosed printed User Guide is well written, nicely illustrated and easy to read with an online pdf version also available.

On the left side of the device is the single large Off/On switch and water tank, on the right the removable panel to access the grinding/heating mechanism and adjustment lever. On the top are the dual chamber bean container and ground coffee chute, both with air sealed lids. On the front to the left is the colour LCD control panel with the large backlit touchscreen button panel above running the whole length of the unit. On the front above the drip tray is the height adjustable stainless steel outlet panel which dispenses coffee, milk, steam and water. The whole lower part of the coffee maker pulls out to reveal the large drip tray and coffee grounds container. The drip tray also has a hole into which the milk/steam tube can be connected for cleaning.

Setting the device up is nice and simple. After removing all the various shipping tapes and padding the milk/steam hose needs to be connected to the outlet of the steel coffee dispenser on the front (there are outlets for right or left handed setup). Then, after turning the device on you have to configure the language, clock display, determine the water PH level and set the device accordingly – if you use the enclosed water filter this is not needed although you have to change the settings to allow for this. The device needs to know this to alert you when the filter needs changing and/or the device needs descaling.

Across the top of the front fascia are backlit buttons for easy selection of Espresso, Café crème, Cappuccino, Latte macchiato, Milk froth/warm milk, Hot water. There is also a button to select two cup dispensing, and sliders to vary the fluid output level, and coffee strength. There are also buttons to enter the My Coffee personalised menu, Bean type selection, Up/Down arrows, and Menu/OK. On the left is the main colour LCD panel.

From the main menu panel, you can select a range of variations of the main drink types and these the default values for the top level buttons can be changed if you prefer a non-standard drink. The types on offer are:

Espresso: Espresso (standard), ristretto, lungo, double espresso, double ristretto.
Café crème: Café crème (standard), double café crème, americano, americano extra shot, long black.
Cappuccino: Cappuccino (standard), espresso macchiato, café latte, café au lait.
Latte macchiato: Latte macchiato (standard), latte macchiato extra shot, latte macchiato triple shot, flat white.

Here you can also change the default cup sizes, milk levels and other variables for up to four Users. Pressing the My Coffee button and selecting the User Name will give their own personal brew when then pressing a top-level drink selector button.

In use,  the device is very quiet compared to our old bean to cup machine and reasonably quick. A Latte macchiato, for example, takes about ninety seconds after pressing the button. The device insists on self-cleaning after every drink using milk and this can get tiresome as the milk tube has to be disconnected from the jug and into the drip tray each time. Another annoyance for me is the need for an external milk jug. It is a pity no internal container cannot be used, although it does mean the jug can be stored in the fridge when not needed. The jug is plastic but attractive enough. A metal thermos jug is available for about £50 to keep the milk cool for extended periods.

There are a few minor shortfalls. Aside from others listed above and given that this is a hi-tech machine it is a pity that there is no wifi built in. Although it does sound like an unnecessary novelty it would mean that firmware updates could be made OTA – this machine is very much a computer controlled one – and the device could even be controlled by an app or even by Alexa! Also, although it has a clock there is no provision for the device to turn on automatically.

This is a fantastic machine and by far the easiest to use of this type I have tried. The coffees it makes are superb and again the best I have ever had from a domestic machine. I would still baulk at the price but it does make wonderful coffee with a minimum of effort.

The Good
Quiet in use
Wide range of drink presets
Custom User profiles
Easy to configure
Easy to operate
Clock
Automated cleaning alerts
Colour LCD display

The Bad
Expensive
No Wifi
No control app
External Milk container
Tube needs to be swapped over for cleaning
No Timer
Build quality could be better
Large and awkward drip/waste tray

More info and purchase

Taotuo Rabbit Wine Opener Gift Set

Inside my slightly scruffy but nicely designed presentation box was the rabbit bottle opener itself, a spare corkscrew, foil cutter and a very small but well-printed User Guide. No storage bag was included, which was a pity but understandable considering the low price asked.

Build quality seems absolutely first rate. The rabbit wine cork remover is very large and quite heavy and appears to be made of a zinc alloy with a copper finish to the handles. It looks very impressive indeed. The foil cutter is of plastic with serrated steel blades and again feels and looks professional and built to last. The whole thing certainly does not look or feel like a cheap product, quite the reverse.

In the past, I have struggled when using lever type cork pullers and as my video shows, I put some real effort into both cutting the foil and extracting the cork. To be honest I did not want to have to open a second bottle had the first attempt failed and I probably put more effort into than needed. In fact the foil cut simply and easily and the cork just lifted straight out. Next time I will not try so hard and let the lever action do the work. I used the fitted corkscrew but a second one is provided which has a different spiral bore to the first for use with non-standard corks. Changing the corkscrews over is a simple matter as it is held in place by an easy to access the screw.

This is by far the best and easiest to use of any cork pulling device I have tried. The only criticism I have is that it may be a bit big and heavy for everyday use but would be perfect either for restaurant use or for opening wine at the dinner table. The price currently at just £18.99 is remarkable for the obvious quality of the device.

The Good
Great build quality
Attractive presentation
Great price
Spare corkscrew included

The Bad
Box slightly scruffy
No Carry bag included
Maybe be too big for everyday use

More info and purchase