ALLY Men’s Water Repellent MTB Baggy Cycling Shorts

These are not usually the type of shorts that in I tend to favour but in fact, the build quality and attention to detail made in the design of these long shirts has won me over.

The shorts arrived simply presented in an unbranded ziplock bag with the shorts inside another bag within. The tailoring is excellent with no sign of any insecure seams or hanging threads. The shorts, made from a 92% Polyester, 6% Spandex and 2% PVC  blend seem robust, well made and suitable for sports and other outdoor pursuits.  They have an elasticated waist which can be fastened using velcro straps as well as pop studs. There are two pockets either side. The angled top pocket is fairly shallow but the lower one is good and deep with all the pockets secured by zippers. I have not yet tested them but I am told the fabric is water resistant. The shorts, at first sight, looked like they might be too heavy for sustained outdoor use but weighing in at just 0.7lb they feel light and airy when worn.

Sizing is often an issue when buying Chinese clothing and with that in mind, I ordered a size larger than I would normally do but in fact the shorts if anything are a comfortable loose fit on me.  I would suggest if you are usually a borderline L/XL then buy XL, if L is normally a loose fit for you then buy these in L. No doubt the other sizes are the same pro rata.

Prices seem the same across the range at £30.99, which is not cheap, but then you do get what you pay for and these are indeed a quality garment.

ECHTPower Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch

 

Available now from Amazon for £22.99,  this new controller for the Nintendo Switch Game Console has a lot to offer for the relatively modest price.

The device in a simple but attractive branded product box containing the controller, USB-C charging cable, and a well printed if rather a small User Guide. I append a scan of the User Guide to my unboxing video, switch to full screen and pause to read it.

The 10g controller has an ABS construction with a matt black finish throughout, a classy alternative to the often garishly designed rivals. It follows pretty much the standard game controller layout with top facing keys for screenshot, negative, plus, Turbo Burst, Home, A, B, X, and Y. Also on the top are the usual Direction Pad, together with Right and Left Sticks and a row of four discreet blue LEDs. On the front are Left, Right, ZR and ZL buttons along with a USB-C charging port. It features dual internal vibration motors.

To connect the controller first power on the Nintendo Switch and press and hold the Y and Home buttons on the controller for one second, the blue LEDs on the controller will flash and then remain lit when connected. Subsequently, the connection should be automatic when the controller is switched on. The controller will enter sleep mode after five minutes of inactivity. To disconnect from the Switch, press and hold the HOME button for five seconds.

I was pleased to see that charging is done using the USB-C interface favoured by the latest high-end phones. This welcome indeed as too many third-party devices are still using micro or even mini-USB ports. When charging the non-replaceable 600 mAh lithium battery the four blue LEDs illuminate and flash to show the charging status and go off when it is complete. The LEDs flash rapidly to indicate when the battery is low. It is claimed to work for up to twenty hours following a two-hour charge and my limited use of it so far gives me to cause top doubt it.

The controller can be configured using the Nintendo Switch on-screen interface allowing the control sticks to be calibrated and other settings made. Press the Home button during the process to return to the top level system settings screen.

I tested it with my Windows 10 PC and it was detected as a Bluetooth Gaming Controller and should also work over USB with no need for additional drivers or software. The construction feels reassuringly robust and ergonomically friendly in the hand. The buttons and controls are all easy to use and resistance free. I must say I noticed a slight latency with the two analogue sticks caused by the distance they need to be pushed before becoming active which is not found when using a Nintendo or Xbox controller. However, this is something that can be worked around, I daresay, with experience.

This is a fine product for the money. High-level gamers may be prepared to pay out much more for the slightly smoother gaming experience and reduced latency of a pro level controller but for most gamers, this new device should offer all they need.

The Good
Great price
Good Build Quality
Built-in Rechargeable Battery
USB-C Charging
Good User Guide
Standard Button Configuration

Works with Windows PC

The Bad
No Carry case

Slight Latency

Reenuo Y-17 USB rechargeable Desk Fan

 

Do not be put off by the rather chunky looks of this new fan from Reenuo as in fact it is far more versatile and functional than it seems at first sight.

The fan arrived presented in a rather plain branded product box containing the fan, USB cable, two foam pads, two 18650 rechargeable batteries and a well written but small and hard to read User Guide.

The fan is quite large at 150x100x255mm but lightweight for the size. This is due to the use of plastic for almost all the fan assembly and can be looked on as either an advantage or disadvantage according to your needs. The lightweight 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 or wall mounted, with a heavy-duty desk clamp mount and wall mount slots on the underside and of course, it can be used self-supporting using the integral base stand.

The fan has a single head that can be manually tilted upwards, downwards and side to side as well as oscillating automatically when the small button on the stand is pressed. Next to the button is a larger rotating dial that can be used to determine the fan speed and which can be adjusted steplessly to the rate required. The device can be powered either from the two 18650 rechargeable batteries included in the kit or directly from any USB power source using the micro-USB charging port on the side. A small blue LED lights up when the device is powered on. The fan will operate between six and forty hours on battery power depending on the fan speed selected. A short USB to micro-USB cable is included but no car power adapter is included  A set of two foam pads are included which fit into the rear of the fan to allow aromatherapy oils to be diffused from the unit.

The fan is almost silent in operation on the desktop, is considerably more powerful than I expected and gives 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 £16.99 from Amazon. For the price, it is a very decent buy.
The Good
Good build quality
Stepless Fan Speed
Quiet operation
Great price
Wall/Surface/Clip Mounting
Battery/USB Power Options

Aromatherapy oil diffuser option

The Bad
Plastic Construction
Dated Design

Large Size

DIGITNOW! USB 3.0 HDMI Game Capture Card

 

I had thought there might be problems with this item as a few other users had audio/visual sync issues. Not for me, I just followed the user guide, used the recommended software and it all worked a treat for me.

Priced at £89.99 this Game capture card from DIGITNOW! is not an inexpensive item but it is far less costly than many of the better-known rivals. Of course, that is no saving if the product is no use but in fact, I was very pleased with this one.

In the rather basic mid-market product box the capture device itself, an HDMI cable, a USB 3 to USB 3 cable and a large, well written but poorly printed User Guide. The Capture Card itself is made from brushed aluminium effect metal, has a USB 3 port on one end and an HDMI port on the other. On the front of the 1.6″x 3.7″x0.5″ are status and Power LEDs. Build quality feels fine and externally there is nothing that can break or fall off.

The point of this device is to stream video from any HDMI source at up to 1920×1080 at 60fps to a PC or other capture device using a USB 3 interface. Note that the device converts the video and does not render it and this needs to be done by the capture device. If the processing power on the capture device is not sufficient there will be stuttering, dropouts and other issues in the recorded file.

For testing purposes, I connected my Roku 3 streamer to my 16GB RAM Intel i5 equipped PC. I used the AMCap software application as suggested in the User Guide. It should work equally well in other software or hardware sources but this I have not yet tested. I followed all the instructions in the User Guide and, yes, it worked the first time. No drivers were needed on my Windows 10 PC and it worked straight from the box.

Connecting the HDMI source first before the USB 3 PC interface as advised I then selected FHD Webcamera as the Recording source from the Windows 10 taskbar notification area. Double-clicking on the icon there for it in the Sound panel allowed me to then select the Advanced tab. In the advanced tab, I then selected ‘2 Channel 16 bit, 48000Hz DVD Quality’ and selected both checkboxes. Moving then to the AMCap software from the Devices tab I then selected FWD Webcamera for both the audio and visual sources. Next, and this is crucial to get audio and visual streams in sync, within AMCap I then went back to the front page and from the Capture drop-down menu selected Setup and then the Preview tab and there set the Audio Latency slider to the minimum value and selected OK to finish. That got everything streaming nicely and in sync. Using that as a starting point you can then fine-tune the capture settings that you need. Remember that the quality of the final recorded file will in large part depend on the capability of your computer to render the video.

This is an excellent device that worked well for me and with far fewer problems configuring it than I expected.

Bedycoon Roku Universal Remote Control RC3067

In both the Amazon listings page and in the User Guide (scan at the end of my unboxing video) Bedycoon take pains to remind potential buyers that this replacement remote will not work with all Roku products. It should work with all the ones that are not solely controlled by a radio remote. In fact, many of them, like my Roku 3, will work with both radio and infrared remotes. However, be sure to check before purchasing.

The remote arrived just in a plastic bag inside a jiffy bag. It is a real shame that a more attractive way could not have been found to present this rather useful and well-made product. Also inside the bag was the free remote control cover and a simple but well-written User Guide.

The remote very closely resembles the remote that came with my Roku 3 but with a few additional buttons and with a matt rather than a gloss finish. On the top face are Power, Return and Home buttons, below that the standard Roku navigation buttons, below that a Back button, Source, Detail and track advance key presses. Below that are presets for Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Sling with below that+ Channel up and down buttons and finally A and B  buttons. Nine of these can be preprogrammed, as needed. On the right side are volume up, down and Mute keys. On the back is the slide off battery compartment housing two AAA batteries. Build quality seems fine and perfectly good enough for sustained day to day use. Note that unlike with the Roku original remote there is no headphone socket or pairing button. Remember too that this is a line of sight infrared remote and needs to be pointed at the Roku to function.

The free silicone remote case is in fluorescent pink complete with cat ears and I rather like it as it makes this remote different from the rest and easy to find.

I thought I might have trouble getting my Roku to recognise the remote but in fact, it did so immediately. If you have problems just try rebooting the Roku box and it should detect it at once. All the keys worked as marked including the Netflix and Amazon dedicated keys.

A selling point of the device is that the keys can be programmed to the functions of your TV remote. Nine of the keys can be remapped, although the User Guide does not list them specifically. To pair a key press and hold the A and B buttons until the LED comes on and then press the key you want to remap. Then line up the remote to the other remote with their sensors around 3cm apart and press the key on that you wish to copy. The LED on the Bedycoon remote will then flash to indicate successful mapping and then stay lit to indicate you can now map another key. When done press the A and OK keys together to save and exit. The pairing will not work with all remotes. I was unable to recognise any key from my LG TV but was able to map keys from my Humax satellite box successfully.

This little remote is a great buy for the current Amazon price of just £14.99. It replaces almost all the functions of the old remotes and gives you multiple new ones and let’s not forget the fluorescent pink Cat Ear case too!

Solocil USB Rechargeable Cycling Light Set

 

This new bike light set from Solocil is, in fact, three separate but complementary products bundled together. The set consists of a multimode forward facing light that can also be used as a  torch together, a multimode helmet light with a multimode rear-facing red light. The current Amazon price of £7.95 makes this look attractive deal indeed. But are the lights really any good?

In the plain and unbranded box were the three lights, USB to the micro-USB charging cable, and a poorly translated and hard to read but rather unneeded User guide.

The front light has an easy to use quick release feature and at 400 lumens is bright and although not the powerful I have seen it is certainly the best I have encountered in this price bracket. Using it could not be simpler. There is a single large and easy to access button on the rear which scrolls through Bright, Normal, Eco, Flashing and Off modes. It also works perfectly well as a torch when removed from the quick release mount and away from the bike at night. The lamp is IPX 65 waterproof which means it should be fine in the rain for extended periods. On the side is a grommet protected micro-USB port to charge the battery which is claimed to give a run time of seven hours in eco mode and three hours at full power. An LED illuminates when the device is charging.

The helmet and rear lamps are identical aside from the lens colour and are each rated at 100 lumens and will run for up to sixteen hours in low power flashing more or four hours at continuous full power. They are powered not by a rechargeable but by two CR2032 watch type batteries which are widely available at a low price.

All the lights are good and bright, particularly the rear one, and should help to keep you safe on the roads at night. Build quality seems fine and the lights are small and neat enough to tuck away in a pocket when not needed. No real criticism to be made other than that the front light User Guide is almost impossible to follow but the illustrations make it clear how to fit the lamp if any instructions are indeed actually needed. I doubt if you will find a better bike light set for this price.

Ecoopro Gaming Headset N12

 

Priced currently at just £26.77 on Amazon this is a well made, understated no-nonsense gaming headset that will do the job and with no unneeded and annoying garish lights or other gimmicks.

The headset arrived nicely presented in a mid-range display box. Inside the box was the headset itself, an audio splitter adaptor and a large and easy to read  User Guide which I include at the end of my unboxing video.

The headset is nicely made, robust and strong, and quite tastefully designed compared to most gamer headsets I have tried – which is not saying much. It is well padded with Memory Foam used for both the earcups, which are of the over-ear type and on the headband. It is comfortable and easy to wear even for long gaming sessions. The headset does not support Bluetooth, as an increasing number do now, but does have a dual cable adaptor included to allow for separate mic/audio connections – green for the headset, red for the microphone. An adaptor is including to allow the combined headphone jack to be split to allow the headset to be used with computers and other devices with separate microphone and audio sockets. There is a large and easy to use in-line control box with a thumbwheel to control the audio volume and an on/off switch for the microphone.

The audio quality is better than I was expecting and indeed,  worthy of a higher priced device. There is plenty of bass and with the mid and higher frequencies 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 as the lack of a vibration engine but the fine sound quality and ease of use for general music playing more than makes up for it. I used for phone calls and found the audio quality to be good at both ends of the conversation.

As headphones for general listening, this headset is a good buy for the price. As a gaming headset, it lacks a few features: USB connection, vibration engine, LEDs and USB direct talkback. It is really only a gaming headset in that it has a microphone and in-line audio controls built it. For me, that is no problem as it is an excellent all-round headset that is not too in your face for general use, and 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 Good
Great sound
Great price
Good build quality
Comfortable to wear
Audio/Mic adaptor
Adjustable mic position
Braided cable

Extra long 62″ cable

The Bad
No LED lights
No Vibration Engine

Not suitable for some gaming consoles

More Info and Purchase