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Pick of the Camera Reviews

(Click the pictures for reviews & links) 

ACTION CAMS

Yi 2 - Best Budget 4K 

Gitup Git2 (My Pick)

Xiaomi Yi

Dazzne P2

SJCAM M10+
 
DASH-CAMS (CAR DVRs)
 
A119
Yi Ultra 2.7K
   
    MINI CAMERAS
Mobius (also works as a Dashcam)
Polaroid Cube+
    HELMET CAMERA
Sena Prism Tube

My favourite USB battery power Pack

This is the excellent USB power pack I use when I travel.

2 x 2.1amp outputs. 8400mAh capacity.

Two digit Led display shows battery level

 

What SD CARD should I buy?

If you want an SD Card for your camera - these are the ones I use and recommend. 

I'd strongly recommend not to buy any SD cards off ebay - I've heard about too many issues with counterfeit cards - often sold on by unwitting resellers. My inbox regularly gets messages from people who bought a £150 camera then cheaped out and bought a £3 memory card on ebay - Then when it doesn't worth they blame the camera! It doesn't make any sense. Good memory is cheaper than it's ever been - see the links above.

A lot of HD cameras will not work properly with cards larger than 32GB (cards over 32GB are usually SDXC rather than the SDHC standard used by 32GB cards. SDXC cards use the ex-FAT system rather than FAT32 - in short they are a different standard). - so don't just buy the biggest card you can afford - read the specs in the manual to see what it accepts.

UK & US LINKS & PRICES BELOW

RECOMMENDED CARDS (for action cams - see dashcams below)

CLASS 10 UHS-1 CARDS (For HD Cameras)

 

U3 CARD (For 4K cameras)

 

 

SPECIAL DASHCAM CARDS

The SD card in a dashcam is re-written over, more frequently than in other types of cameras. Some manufacturers void their guarantee if an SD card was used in a dashcam. So, no surprise, there are special High Endurance SD cards made just for dashcams...here's some.

 

VERY IMPORTANT. These links take you to the product, however Amazon have three different ways of selling. There's Amazon Direct - This means that you are only dealing with Amazon themselves, then there's other sellers that use Amazon's facilities - these show as Fulfilled By Amazon and finally there's Market Place sellers that advertise on Amazon, but operate independently.  I strongly recommend that you only use the first...the Amazon Direct - Sold By Amazon option. Even if it appears that you are paying a couple of £/$ more it is more than likely you are comparing the price of a real item against the price of a fake.

To give you an idea of the extent of the fake goods problem. In a 2016 survey by Apple - 90% of the 'Apple' chargers sold through Amazon - using the other the two methods..which includes the "Fulfilled by Amazon" option -  were found to be counterfeit....90%! 

            

 
Thursday
Dec142017

Is Reel to Reel the new Vinyl? 

The short answer is no, but the long answer is much more complicated and requires a video to explain exactly what is meant by reel to reel, because in some ways it’s a dead format, yet in others it’s enjoying a comeback. 

Clearly a short video like this can't hope to cover every possible aspect of the complete history of Reel to Reel from 1928 to 2017...for example it's missing facts like the first stereo tapes were recorded in Germany in the early 1940s, how different thicknesses and formulations of tapes affect sound quality, and why tails-out storage of tapes is recommended.

If you would like more information on the history of reel to reel, the following website is a great place to start: Reel 2 Reel Texas

Other Information/Links:

The Tape Project (Tapes & Useful Information)

The Verge Article from 2015

United Home Audio (High end 15ips machines)

Horch House (Tapes)

Opus 3 Records (Tapes)

Analogy Records (Tapes)

What Hi-Fi? article (Re-mastering)

If you are shopping for a Reel to Reel machine on ebay  - here's my affiliated link.

UPDATE:  Duplication Process

The company I contacted asking for more details regarding their process, have now got back to me. They've confirmed that they borrow the master tape, make a copy (or more likely a number of identical parallel copies on a bank of tape machines)...they then use these copies as their master to run duplicates off that they sell to you. The original master is returned to the studio. 

Demo Tape

If you want to hear the 1957 2 Track Stereo Demo Tape in full - it's here.

Saturday
Dec092017

Star Wars 40th Anniversary Soundtrack

In a sequel to 2016's demo of the Star Wars Hologram Vinyl -  I'm taking a look at the three disc & book Episode IV box-set. This one includes a Death Star hologram, so I naturally take a good look at that as well as flicking through the coffee table book. 

Purchasing Links:

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2npEdqm

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2ksJZGA

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2BKn2D3

Previous videos referenced in this one.

Star Wars - The Force Awakes Hologram Vinyl https://youtu.be/aEbAaL7fPl4

The CTS advert audio tape reel: https://youtu.be/UsUjWKayoGo

Sunday
Dec032017

Tiny Arcade - Miniature Playable Arcade Machines

Ten year old me would think these were the most amazing things ever made…and thirty-odd years later, I’m still inexplicably drawn towards them. Miniaturised fully-functional arcade machines that are almost too small to play, well you can count me in.

    

Available from Amazon US:
Space Invaders http://amzn.to/2i7cFR2
Pac-Man & Space Invaders can also be found on Amazon UK. http://amzn.to/2ADuT5k 
     
Note - if you are thinking of importing these to the UK - not all Amazon resellers send outside the US.  I used a store called -importcds (if it doesn't default to them, look in the 'Other Sellers'  drop-down box in the right-hand column). 
   
Be careful not to confuse these with the various non-playable replicas and inferior games from other manufacturers. These Tiny Arcade machines are made by a company called Super Impulse and as yet they only make the four machines shown. 
I anticipate I'll get lots of comments stating the 8-Bit Guy did videos on these and whilst he has done a video about mini table top arcade games - they are a lot bigger than these and are made by a different manufacturer. He's a patron on my channel as am I on his, so we get to chat about these things sometimes, and I checked before I started making this video that I wasn't repeating something he'd already covered. Here is a link to his video https://youtu.be/Iuo0njOI-qE
  
UPDATE - I have been informed (in the comments) that these are also available in the UK through the retail chain Menkind, they stock two of the range of four machines (Pac Man & Space Invaders). You can also find them in the store Red5 in the UK (which MenKind owns). 
Friday
Dec012017

The Floppy Disk Boombox

There's a lot of tech that only musicians are aware of, and unless you frequented musical instrument stores in the late 1990s this device will most likely have passed you by. In the video below I demonstrate the Roland MT-80S, a portable machine that played music from floppy discs. What, how and why are all explained, you just need to press play.

Sunday
Nov262017

Your own plug and play Retro Arcade

If you've always wanted your own retro arcade cabinet, but don't have the space or money for one, this all-in-one arcade stick might be the answer.
  
The Pandora's Box 4S is a two player arcade quality controller containg hundreds of classic games that you can plug into a TV.
   
You can see my video demonstration below.
   
   
    
The links below will direct you towards Pandora's Boxes on ebay, there are a number of different configurations to choose from, but please look out for anyone pretending to sell these for just £30-£50, it costs more than that for the components.  You should expect to pay £120 - £150 for a Pandora Box 4S model like mine (or the equivalent of this in your local currency). Turn on international search to get the widest selection.
   
   
ebay buying tips
1) If it's too cheap to be true then it's not true. 
2) Only buy from someone who has sold plenty of things and has good feedback
3) Read the feedback to see if they have recently sold something similar to the item you are buying. e.g. If you are buying an arcade joystick but they only sold socks and gloves and their last sale was over a year ago, it's likely you are looking at a hijacked account. 
4) If possible buy from someone within your country to avoid paying duties - that may be  difficult with this, so factor in any potential duty costs.
5) Use Paypal for buyer protection

 

Thursday
Nov232017

Deals & Bargains

At this time of year I get innundated with emails about deals and offers. I thought it would be a good idea to sort through them and post any that I thought were useful. 

So to kick off - Remember the Yi 2.7K dashcam I reviewed a couple of weeks ago - well if you go to Amazon UK at the moment there's a £35 off promotional voucher you can apply (Promotions are shown below the price) - that makes it £69.99 - and it's very likely the best dashcam you can buy for £69.99.

Yi 2.K Dashcam on ebay - http://amzn.to/2jjzKnJ

If I hear about any more relevant deals - I'll add them to this post.

Wednesday
Nov222017

Techmoan Merch - Flippin 'eck

I'm regularly asked if I would consider selling merchandise featuring the Moans (the outro family of puppets). So I'm trying out a storefront on Teespring. Unfortunately the prices are higher than I was expecting, but it seems well organised, so I thought I'd give it a go. If there is any interest I'll add the rest of the family (and Zac) in later.

Here is the link: https://teespring.com/stores/techmoan-merch


Monday
Nov202017

Sony's Iconic Flamingo Record Player

If Sony are looking for other classic products to bring back following their relaunch of the Aibo robotic dog, I'd like to suggest they turn their attention to the Flamingo record player from 1983. 
  
In the video below you'll see an attempt to repair one of these expensive and highly collectable turntables...and then, assuming I'm successful, there will be a demonstration of it in action. 
   
  
Ebay (well it doesn't cost to look) PS-F5 & PS-F9

Sunday
Nov192017

Only review good products

Video Title: 'This is a Review of Object A'
Me "Today I'm going to be reviewing object A"
(Long section in the middle)
Me "So there you go that was my review of object A"
Comments "Why did you review object A - there are a thousand alternative devices that may be better"
Me "But I can only review one - hence the review of object A, so now you know how good object A is"
Comments "But it turned out to be rubbish that's why you should have reviewed something else"
Me "But you've only drawn that conclusion because you just watched my review of it"
Comments "I don't understand why you'd buy this one anyway, you should have known it would be rubbish"
Conclusions
i) Just read out the press release and don't go into too much detail (like the other reviews of this product).
ii) Don't point out any faults you experience along the way (because no one wants to know about your problems).
iii) Don't really review a product, just promote it and let the buyer figure out for themselves that it's a lemon.
Saturday
Nov182017

An honest review of my personal experience with the Sky Soundbox (so far)

The title says it all. I bought a Sky Soundbox and here's a video where I talk about my experiences with it.

As predicted this video has brought on a thousand cries of why did you get that why not use item X instead. Why why why and why.

The answers of course are all in the video...you can lead a horse to water etc, but needless to say this review of a Sky Soundbox is a review of a Sky Soundbox, not a review of any of the other speakers on the market that do similar things. 

There was also the usual, 'you are doing it wrong'...and of course the old classic, 'well it worked fine for me'. Now this isn't my first rodeo, if there's one thing I'm good at, it's setting up AV systems. In fact I'd say it was my number one skill far and above everything else.

Here's some more information copied from the updates in the video description text box.

So just to clarify my issues with the Soundbox. 

1) I couldn’t get the Sky Q Soundbox Option menu to appear on my main TV...does this also mean the speaker isn’t receiving the custom equalisation profiles delivered from the Sky Q box...your guess is as good as mine on that.      
      
2) I was prepared to live with number 1, it’s not too big a concern, the sound was good anyway....but the real problem for me, the one that killed this stone dead for my requirements is the fact the Soundbox doesn’t auto-wake from standby when a video signal is sent through it from the Sky Q box.   
Also for those asking...the LG 65EF950V TV is running the latest available firmware 04.25.56
...but don’t worry too much about the LG Firmware as the failure to wake issue is common to all three TVs I own.  
     
UPDATE 1: (15 November 2017)  I have been informed that the Soundbox *is* supposed to automatically wake up whenever the attached Sky Q box is brought out of standby. Some Soundbox owners have reported that this feature is working for them (and some others say it isn’t). As mentioned in the video, I have tested this speaker on one Sky Q 2TB box and two different Sky Q Miniboxes connected to three different TVs..and it doesn’t wake up for any of them. So that’s 0% success on this feature for me. Your mileage may of course vary.     
       
UPDATE 2: (16 November 2017) Sky have issued a new firmware for the Skybox (however haven't said what it fixes or improves) https://www.sky.com/help/articles/update-your-sky-soundbox I installed it and it initially made the problem worse. The Soundbox locked up and wouldn't accept any commands at all. This issue was resolved by re-enabling Simplink  on the TV (an LG 65EF950V) and rebooting the speaker. However once that issue was overcome the Soundbox still won't auto power on from standby or display the on-screen menu...just as before. 

 

My current Status: Awaiting a firmware update that resolves my issues, but seriously contemplating returning the speaker for a refund.

My experiences are not isolated - I direct you to this thread on the Sky forums for other people in the same boat...and some that think my boat is imaginary. 

UPDATE 3 - 20 November 2017

It's been returned for a refund. I've lost confidence in this product. 

 

ADDENDUM (Copied from the comments)

I have tried everything you can think of and other things on top of that.

New HDMI cables, three TVs, three Sky boxes, unplugging everything, forced updates of firmwares for all devices, every HDMI port on every device, every combination of the above combined with HDMI control on and off in every device.

The reason I didn’t go with a soundbar is because my setup necessitates a small stumpy square speaker that can fit on (not under) my centre...because there’s no room in front of it to accommodate a sound-bar. The supposed integration of the Soundbox with the Sky ecosystem was also a draw. 

I don’t need ARC or Airplay or Bluetooth because I already have a full blow AV receiver that handles any other duties which also comes with Dolby Atmos and DTS-X 5.1.2.

I should also point out that my TV is not an unusual model - the LG65EF950V was one of the "TVs of the Year" in various publications in 2015. Also LG are the Official TV manufacturer promoted by Sky TV in some kind of partnership. Also my TV has worked perfectly with everything else I've ever plugged into it. UHD Blu-ray player, DVD player, Mac Mini, Apple TV (two versions), Fire TV (three versions), Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, HD-DVD player, Laserdisc, D-VHS player, Nintendo NES Mini, Nintendo SNES Mini... etc

But to sum up - I've got to reiterate that this was a review of a Sky Soundbox...and a demonstration of the faults the Sky Soundbox exhibits when paired with an LG65EF950V TV.  There are hundreds (thousands?) of alternative speakers on the market...but irrespective of why I chose this particular speaker instead of any of those other models, I did and this was my review of it.

Thursday
Nov092017

New Dashcam Review - Yi 2.7K Ultra

Below you'll find a review of the Yi Ultra Dashcam. It has earned a place on my recommended cameras list and you'll find purchashing links below the video. For more information about the basics of dashcams follow the links in the menu bar at the top of the page. 

I bought my camera from AMAZON - Links below.

UK: http://amzn.to/2AosYQD  US: http://amzn.to/2zuzYfP

It's also available on the Yi Store on AliExpress

Downloadable Sample Clips: Are stored here on PCloud (download and play locally - do not stream)

Recommended High Endurance Memory Cards UK: http://amzn.to/2j2APNI  US: http://amzn.to/2jvHdwq