Campark T70 14MB Trail Camera

I have tried out quite a few Trailcams in the past including some from Campark and this one is a distinct update from previous models. But what is a trail camera? A trail camera is a camera which is designed to operate unattended outdoors and to automatically capture pictures or video of anything that triggers the built-in motion detector. They are mainly used to monitor wildlife activity but could be used for security purposes also.

This £59.99  new model T70 from CAMPARK arrived packed in an attractive mid-market product box inside of which was the camera itself, metal floor/surface mount with screw fittings, retaining tree mount strap, micro-USB to USB cable, User Guide. Although the camera itself is made of plastic and is rather lightweight (which is perhaps no drawback) build quality seems fine in general. The User Guide is large, very well printed and in understandable English and is the best I have ever seen for any trail cam. The User Guide is too long to add to my unboxing video but I do include a scan of the excellent getting Started Guide also included in the box.

The camera takes four or eight AA batteries, a lot but it means it can be left to operate untended over extended periods. Take note that if used intensively the batteries will quickly run down but in normal use should last up to six months. The batteries are housed in a compartment in the main body of the unit. It has the option to use an external 6v/2A power supply (not supplied). On the front of the device are the lens, light sensor, motion sensor LED, 44 LED infrared panel, wide angled motion sensor. On the side are clips to secure the front and rear sections of the camera together with a mount for an external lock. When the clips are released the front and back of the device open out on a hinge. On the underside is a metal tripod screw and a grommet protected external power supply input. On the rear are loops for the mounting belt or wire and a secondary metal tripod mount. On the inside of the front face is a colour LCD screen, with navigation buttons alongside. Below is a three-way turret switch for Off/SETTING/ON. On the underside of the front panel are a full-sized card slot (for cards up to 32GB), mini-USB AV port. The use of a full sized SD card is a major improvement and will make life much easier when using gloved hands in the winter. Another improvement over earlier Campark models is the new IP66 rating, which means the camera is protected against dust and strong water jets.

Some trail cams just have a standard motion sensor on the front, others have front and side sensors. This one has a single sensor but it has a 120-degree wide angle view so it should be able to match the multi-sensor rivals whilst consuming less power to do so.

Although there are plenty of refinements and fine-tuning that can be made in fact the camera can be up and running very quickly with the default settings. After inserting the batteries and removing the gels covering the lens and sensors and screen, switch it to the SETTING mode and press the MENU button. From here you can now set the image and video resolutions, video recording lengths and other parameters such as time stamping, time lapse, scheduling etc. One particularly useful feature is that you do not have to choose between Video or Stills as you can set it to record both at once. Time should be spent on best positioning the camera for the front and side sensors and the device can help you with these using visual indications of when you are in range during setup. Remember to insert a micro-SD card first and to format it using the camera software before use.

I was pleased and not a little surprised by the photo and video quality, too often budget trail cameras fall down here by using cheap hardware to save production costs, but not so here. Image quality is excellent for both Video and stills and has been upgraded to 14MP image size from the 12MP of earlier Campark models and gives decent quality FHD video at 30fps. I found that in some lighting conditions highlights can burn out so take care to select the right camera position to avoid them. Care must be taken also to avoid false motion sensor alerts – foliage, vehicles, etc – as this will soon flatten the battery. Although the trigger time is a very rapid O.4s when recording wildlife try and position the camera so the subject approaches the camera and not across it. That way the trigger has time to fire and you will see the subject head on and not get a picture of its rear end as it leaves the frame!

This camera can be great fun if you have a big garden and wonder what goes on there when you are away. Professionals might look to pay more for higher quality and improved build quality.

The Good
Great price
Good image quality
Good build quality
A range of mounting options
Simultaneous stills and video option
Scheduling
Wide-angle motion sensor
Excellent User Guide
4 or 8 battery option
Audio recording option
Full-size SD card
IP66 Water/Dustproof

The Bad
RetaingClips could be stronger
Heavy battery drain when used intensively
32GB maximum card
No slow motion video

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TRACKR PIXEL – PINK – 1 EU

 

I have had some experience with TrackR products over the last couple of years and not all of it good. I had a TrackR Bravo and found it to be Ok but with a very feeble alarm noise. One day it stopped working and despite reboots and battery changes could not be revived. I had a very similar experience with the TrackR Wallet, which again died one day and could no longer be paired with any device. I also ordered and paid for the TrackR 2, which was promised for this year, but one day received a refund with no explanation. I already have one TrackR Pixel which so far has proved Ok so that when I saw another at a good price I decided to go for it to replace the Wallet model.
The TrackR arrived in an attractive and well-designed box with inside just the TrackR Pixel, a single round sticky mount and a badly printed and hard to read Install Guide.

Despite the almost illegible printed guide, in fact, installing the device was simple enough using the walkthrough screens on the TrackR app. Just go to the add new device screen, select the TrackR model and press the button on the TrackR device.

I have read many negative reviews on Amazon for Trackrs by people;e that do not understand what they do. The TrackR uses Bluetooth to connect to the smartphone and can only be used to locate the phone directly when it is connected to it. This is great when you misplace your wallet, keys etc or whatever the TrackR device is fastened to. It works the other way around and pressing the button on the TrackR can be used to locate a misplaced phone by making it ring. However, all it can do with items lost out of Bluetooth range is to show on the map the last place the phone and Trackr were connected. If you left your TrackR in your office desk then the TrackR app map will show it as being there with a date and time stamp for the last connection. It does offer a crowd search feature whereby any smartphone with the TrackR app installed that passes by a Trackr item listed by the owner as lost  will detect the lost item and silently and anonymously send this information back to the TrackR servers and it will then show the location on the app screen of the owner of the missing device. This is great in areas where everyone has a Trackr but here in the Uk, this is not the case.

The TrackR Pixel is an advance on the metal bodied Bravo model. It is smaller, lighter and has a louder alert tone. That said the noise is still pretty feeble but it does have an enhanced visual alert and flashes brightly when ringing. Unlike some rivals which need to be discarded when the battery fails, the Pixel uses an easily found CR2016 battery which will last several months in normal use. The app is well designed and easy to use but on my Android phone does annoyingly keep asking me for Crowd Location permission every time it is launched.

It works well and does pretty much all it is claimed to do. However, that is all it will do and do not expect it to do more. Prices vary but at just £15.00 this is the cheapest option I can find right now and at that price, it is a very attractive buy.

The Good
Good Price
Easy to Use
Uses replaceable batteries
Good App

The Bad
Crowd Location feature limited in the UK
Poor documentation
Fiddly to change batteries
Alert tone feeble
Can become unreliable over time

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Losmile Foldable Glasses Storage Case

This is one of the most unusual glasses cases I have seen, although priced at just £8.99 it is certainly by no means the most expensive. The unusual feature about the case at although made from hard and robust faux leather it folds flat when not in use and can be slipped into a shirt pocket.

The case arrived with no external packaging other than a clear plastic bag, a pity as it detracts from the appeal of the item as a gift. The 7.5cm by 17cm case opens out quickly and easily in the shape of a tent with what seems to be a magnetic flap securing the opening. The case is quite large and will hold almost any size of glasses (Elton John excepted) with inside a felt like finish protects the contents. A softer finish inside might have been better but with it, the case could not fold flat as it does.

The thing that I like about this case is that when assembled it offers the same level of protection as any other normal rigid but it solves the problem of what to do with a bulky case when wearing the glasses – you can just fold the case and pop it into your pocket.

This is a decent quality item, reasonably priced, and would be a useful gift for any glasses wearer.

The Good
Good glasses protection
Good Build Quality
Great price
Fold up flat
Attractive Design

The Bad
Large size
Smaller glasses move about inside the case
Unattractive packaging

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Losmile Sport Sunglasses with UV400 Protection

 

These are described as being sports sunglasses which means they should be stronger and more robustly built than normal sunglasses whilst being lighter in weight. They should also offer full protection from glare and harmful ultraviolet radiation. For just £17.99 this new pair from LOSMILE seems to tick all those boxes.

The sunglasses are certainly packaged like a premium product in a well-made designer box with the glasses, microfibre cleaning cloth and a large PU leather soft carry case. Judging by the presentation I would expect them to be priced at several times the asking price.

The sunglasses are attractively and conservatively styled with no glaring colours, mirror finish or faddy design features. Just plain and discreet black for the frame and lenses. The construction is good, lightweight but flexible and so far as I can tell tough and hardwearing.

The glasses are a good close fit but being lightweight this does not feel oppressive or burdensome. Once on, at least for me, the glasses stay on and I would have no worries wearing these whilst running or cycling. It is hard to test the actual efficiency in removing the invisible UV radiation but I have no reason to doubt the claimed UV400 protection level. They certainly do remove the glare found on a bright sunny day down to pleasant and manageable levels without distorting colours too much. This coupled with the lightweight and non-restrictive frame meant that I soon forgot I was wearing them.

This is a good quality and well-made pair of lightweight sports sunglasses that work well and are pleasant and easy to wear. My only criticism is that the supplied case, although well made and attractive is overly large without offering the protection of a rigid framed case. All in all, I doubt you will find better sports sunglasses for this price.

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TOP-MAX WiFi Smart Power Strip

 

This new plugboard from TOP-MAX offers a wifi connection and can be used with Amazon Alexa and Google Home to give voice control of the three sockets and four USB ports.

The plugboard arrived in a simple white branded box inside of which was the plugboard itself and a User Guide which was poorly printed and badly written and almost illegible.

Build quality seems fine, the plugboard seems well made and robust and has an upmarket feel to it. The plugboard has a 5.9ft heavy duty cable, three UK power sockets and four USB 2 ports rated at up to 2.4A each or 4A total. It has five LED lights, one each for the power sockets, one for the USB port set and one general status LED.

The device will work purely as a normal plugboard without remote control but the point of the unit, of course, is the remote and voice control capabilities. To enable this first download and install the ‘Smart Life’ app and register an account with it. To connect the app to the plugboard open the app and press the ‘+’ sign in the top right of the screen to add a new device, and then select ‘Multiple Socket’. Plug in and switch on the plugboard and the Master LED should flash, if not press and hold the Master button. Follow the app instructions to then add the device. You can then use the app to remotely control your power strip sockets individually, set timers and countdowns etc. To enable voice control through Google or Alexa a further step is needed.

For Alexa user then go to the Alexa app and add the ‘Smart Life’ skill and add the name and password that you set up in the Ama Home app when prompted. Then let Alexa search for new devices and your plugboard will be found. The procedure is pretty much the same when adding Google Home control.

Take note that although the individual sockets and the USB strip can be controlled separately using the app this cannot be done by voice. The range of control offered through Alexa and Google is less than with the Smart Life app but you can turn the whole plug board Off and on, control multiple plugboards together and incorporate the plugboard in groups with other devices, along with chained and timed routines.

The plugboard is a quality device and works well alone, using the app or with voice control. The only real let down for me is the lack of USB-C support and the inability to control sockets separately through Alexa or Google. The price is excellent, as is the build quality and for the current Amazon price of £19.79 it is a worthwhile addition to any Smart Home.

The Good
Good build quality
Easy to use app
Alexa integration
Google Home integration
Works with or without the app
Sockets can be controlled separately through the app
Timer feature
Countdown feature
6ft Power Cable
Inexpensive

The Bad
No physical Off/On switches for individual sockets
No USB ports On/Off physical switch
No USB-C sockets
No 5Ghz wifi
No voice control of individual sockets

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EasySMX COOL 2000 Over Ear Stereo Gaming Headset

You get rather a lot for your £17.99 on Amazon with this new gaming headset from EasySMX. But is it any good?

The headset arrived nicely presented in an unusually tasteful and rather upmarket box. Inside was the headset itself, and a large and easy to read User Guide which I include on the end of my unboxing video.

The headset is nicely made, seems robust and strong, and rather attractively designed compared to some gamer headsets I have tried – which is not saying much. It is well padded on both the earcups, which are of the over-ear type, and on the headband with what appears to be PU leather. It is comfortable and easy to wear even for long gaming sessions. The headset has 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 combined to allow the headset to be used with phones and other devices without separate mic and audio ports. The earcups illuminate with orange LED’s featuring three lighting modes 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. Unlike some headsets, this one has no in-line control unit, the audio volume, microphone and LED’s are operated from the headset itself. The non-detachable mic which has an orange LED indicator on the end when working is small and very flexible and can easily be folded back out of the way when not needed.

The audio quality is far better than I was expecting 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 a bit 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. The decent sound, good build quality and stylish good looks make this a great buy for the current bargain price.

The Good
Great sound
Great price
Good build quality
Comfortable to wear
LED Illumination
Audio/Mic adaptor
Flexible mic position
Extra long braided cable
Passive noise reduction
No drivers needed

The Bad
Microphone muffles audio
No USB audio connection
No Vibration engine

More info and Purchase

Jabra Elite Active 65t True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds

 

I already own a Jabra Elite Sport headset and I was interested to try this newer and less expensive alternative from Jabra to see how it compares. As a starting point let me say that I am very happy with the  Elite Sport headset and use it on a daily basis when running and walking and find it an excellent compromise between comfort, features and audio quality. My only real criticism of the older pair is that although I am a runner I seldom use the sports features as I prefer to use a dedicated running watch for those and I suspect most serious runners would do the same.

The new headset, the came elaborately presented in a very similar box to the older set. Inside apart from the headset was the charging case, cable, two additional sets of earbud gels, and a brief Quickstart Guide which I include in the unboxing video.

The build quality of the headset seems fine. It has a premium look and feel to it, although less so perhaps than the Elite Sport. Both the case and earbuds are smaller and lighter than I was expecting and compared to the older set. This is either a plus or negative depending on how you look at it. The Elite Sport earbuds are comfortable but these are even more so and perhaps the most comfortable and easy to fit of any of the many True Wireless headsets I have tried. It is easy to forget you are wearing them and possibly this may make them more easy to lose.

The charging case attractively designed and it is easy enough to fit the buds into their charging ports. One annoyance for me at least is that the case will not stand upright when opened and will only stand when closed and placed on end. The buds are not held in place magnetically as they are with the Elite Sport which means there is always a risk of them falling out. The charging time for the buds is the same as the earlier pair at around two hours. However, the standby battery life of these earbuds at an estimated 15 hours is about 10% better than with the Elite Sports. The claimed five hours of music playing time is better than with the older set too by about the same degree. Charging status for both the case and buds are indicated by bright and easy to see multicoloured LEDs.

These buds use Bluetooth 5, which is supported by my OnePlus 5T phone, which promises longer range, easier connection and greater battery life. I did have some problems pairing the buds to my phone, perhaps caused by the fact it is already paired with two sets of Elite Sports buds. After multiple failed attempts to get the phone to even detect the buds, I found that deleting the existing Jabra Elite Sports profiles and reboot both phone and buds did the trick. I was able to then pair first time to the Elite Active 65ts. Once paired I have had no issues with dropouts and the range is at least as good if not better than with the Elite Sports. After pairing I was immediately offered an over the air firmware update, a feature most rivals lack.

The new headset has exactly the same button controls as the older set although these buttons are easier to use and have a more positive feel. Using the buttons you can pause and play audio, change audio volume, forward and back track controls, answer and reject incoming calls (two at once) and invoke your smartphone personal assistant (including Alexa).

Audio quality is excellent but again, at least for me, I prefer that from the Elite Sports. The sound from the new set is loud, clear, detailed and very easy to listen to but lacks the bass response of the earlier set. That is not to say the sound is thin, because it is not and exceeds that of almost every other True Wireless headset I have tried. I have had no trouble with phone calls with decent and clear audio both sides of the conversation.

The headset has an associated app but it is not the same one as with the Elite Sports. This headset uses the Jabra Sound+ app rather than the Jabra Sport Life app of the Elite Sport. The new app is rather more useful and offers more ways to customise the headset. It offers three preset usage modes but they can be customised as required. You can turn the HearThrough feature On/Off (keeps you aware of external noise), change the EQ settings, music Auto/Pause on/off, phone call sound quality, own voice in call On/Off, Caller ID On/Off, Voice Prompts On/Off. When music is not playing you have the option for the headset to play background sounds – birdsongs, white noise, ocean waves etc. It lacks the various sports and training options of the Elie Sport Jabra Sport Life but I suspect few people use them, I certainly do not. However, the  Sound+ app does have a step counter built in but no heart rate or distance tracker.

On balance I would say this is an excellent True Wireless Headset and certainly one of the best available. Personally, I still prefer the Jabra Elite Sport headset because I like the richer and deeper sound quality together with the added weight and more robust feel. Others may prefer the lighter sound and appreciate the added features of the new app. At £174 for this headset and £190 for the Jabra Elite Sport neither are inexpensive.

The Good
Good sound quality
Comfortable to wear
Good Build Quality
Great battery life
Excellent smartphone app
Works with Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant
Bluetooth 5
Excellent Bluetooth connection (once made)
Positive clicky buttons
Background noise feature
OTA firmware updates

The Bad
Expensive
Lightweight
Non-magnetic case
The case does not stand upwards
No USB-C charging
Bluetooth connection can be tricky
Auto disconnects when not used

More Info and Purchase