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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%! 

            

 
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Saturday
May122012

The Smart ForTwo vs The Toyota IQ (an owners perspective)

A bit of a departure this one. I regularly review gadgets that work inside a car.....but up until now I've never reviewed a car itself. People from outside the UK often comment, that to them, I sound like James May....so I thought, why not follow in the footsteps of my sound-alike and attempt to review my new car. After all, a car is probably the most expensive gadget that most of us will ever buy.

Now I must point out that this is not a traditional car review, I'm not sufficiently knowledgeable about cars to do a detailed critique of things like performance and handling, instead I've just concentrated primarily on comparing the general design and practicality of my new car against my old car. One reason for doing this is because both of these cars are targeted towards the same customer, which is very apparent from their names (Smart, IQ... get it?). There should therefore, I assume, be a significant number of people interested in seeing a comparison video of these two ‘City Cars’, from someone who has owned both.

The two cars being compared are a 2009 Smart For Two Coupe Passion 998cc and a 2012 Toyota IQ3 1.33 with the optional CVT (Auto) Gear-box

This was a complicated video for me to put together because I had to trade in one car to get the other. I therefore didn’t have the luxury of doing a side by side comparison between the two vehicles. Instead I shot all the footage for one car and then a couple of weeks later attempted to replicate those shots with the new car.

This video isn’t intended to be a basic, ‘which one is best’ type video because that’s really not for me to decide, I’m just pointing out some of the features of each car. The Smart has a significant disadvantage in a direct head to head comparison due to the fact it was three years older and worth approximately a third of the purchase price of my new IQ. The Smart has had a couple of minor revisions to trim and body panels since the model shown in the video, but the overall basic design and mechanics remain unchanged since 2009.

I still have a lot of fondness for the Smart and like its exterior dimensions, plastic body panels and overall concept. It is more quirky and interesting than the IQ and in some ways it’s more practical. However when it comes to choosing a city car that incorporates all the latest technology, the IQ is currently the best car for my needs.

Now, my requirements when it comes to cars are very unlikely to be the same as someone else, so I wouldn’t dream about telling other people what car they should buy. It really is none of my business. So therefore I really hope that any comments on this video doesn’t degenerate into a slanging match, with people saying things like “this car is ****” and “you should have bought a ”. Unfortunately cars videos, much like Apple product reviews, have an unfortunate habit of bringing out the comment trolls.....so if you see anything like this, please ignore them and they'll go away.

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Reader Comments (19)

Very interesting review. You demonstrated there are a lot of things each buyer has to take in consideration for their own purchase. I mean if a car won't fit in a garage thats a deal killer! The IQ is an interesting blend making the small car just a little bigger but still providing small car benifits. Hey one question, You were wearing a head cam while you were driving. What make/model did you use? Do you like that camera or is it still just a compromise until the perfect one comes out? Thanks for these and keep em coming!

John

May 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Ebell

The POV head camera I used was the RD32II. I stuck this on my head using the mounting kit - which you can also find a video review of on here somewhere. I used this one because the sound from it is acceptable - unlike the Extreme Cam that I attached upside down to the window to take the shots of me driving. Both cameras were in 720p 30 mode to make the footage easier to edit and have a nice wide angle view. I used the sound from the RD32 for the whole video and every now and then used the POV footage from the camera when it seemed appropriate. I wore the cap so that I looked less odd to other drivers, as it helped to disguise the head camera a bit. As far as the perfect camera goes...I am looking forward to getting a Liquid Image Ego camera when/if they come out. I wrote to the company, but didn't get a response, so I hope I can somehow get one of these in to test at some point.

May 12, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

I just contacted Liquid Image on your behalf asking them to send you an Ego camera for review. I ordered an 808 #16 recently after seeing your video but I like your work whether I have use for the product or not. Keep the great reviews coming.

May 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Another great review that I enjoyed with a coffee on a quiet Sunday morning. Don't stop. I have a question if I may, what did do you think of the IQ gearbox ?
Like you I have recently driven a few cars with auto gearboxes and am now wondering why all cars do not have them, albeit I still have a manual until my next car. It is interesting that in the USA you have to pay extra for a manual change, while in Britain you have to pay extra for an auto box. Considering the traffic situation in England where there is much stop start on over crowded roads, I think an auto box and a decent music system is the answer.

May 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGraham

@Graham I have it on good authority that the CVT gearbox in the IQ is one of the best auto gearboxes out there. I haven't tried any others so I can't really comment. One thing that I didn't mention in the video is the fact that the IQ will crawl along in D or R using the engine tick over, and this makes it really easy to park because there is no need to use the accelerator, you can just tap the brake on and off. The Smart doesn't do this and lurches forward and back at quite a speed, so when this is combined with the Smart's lack of power steering it can make low speed manoeuvring rather tricky and inch-accurate parking more challenging than you would expect. The IQ has the Toyota VVTi engine which means that the engine likes to rev a lot - the gearbox therefore feels like it's changing up a bit late, but when I look down at the rev counter I can see that it's still only doing 3000rpm and thinks its being driven economically because the eco light is still lit. So this is an engine that likes being revved.

May 13, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

@Tom Thanks. I'll be getting an Ego regardless of whether they send me one or not...if I pay for it myself then I feel that I can be completely honest about it. I just hope I can get hold of one somehow because it looks like it provides a lot of features for the money and has the potential to be the best action camera so far.

May 13, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

I really enjoyed this review Matt. I did laugh when I read people think you sound like James May. To me you sound more like Andy Crane with a cold. And sad as it is I was indeed trying to spot which cameras you were using so thanks for confirming. Can I enquire, when you had to record upside down footage, what software did you use and how did you turn the footage round? I use Corel videostudio but can't figure out how to stop the footage turning back ground again!

Thanks

May 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJonny

@Jonny I think the James May thing usually comes from Americans. They only see Simon Cowell, Gordon Ramsay and James May...so its about the closest option. Andy Crane is much more accurate.

I use iMovie on OSX. The rotate options are hidden in the Crop menu....I only spotted them recently.

May 16, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Thanks for that. I actually just managed to figure out how to do it the software. One other thing I was going to add. Are you sure the keyfob isn't a spycam? It looks suspiciously familiar

May 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJonny

Brilliant!! Exactly what I needed. I want a very small automatic so I was stuck between these two and too timid to test drive!! Thank you so much!

May 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterZoe

Zoe,

I recently had use of a Citroen C1 for a while (aka the Toyota Aygo) and I was so glad to get back in my IQ. The IQ might be expensive for a tiny car, but the quality is so much better than any of the others. Many people associate small with cheap, so it follows that a small car must be cheaper than a large one. There aren't enough people making high quality small cars. I've mostly owned premium small cars, including the Mini and Mercedes A-Class and can say that the IQ is far and away my favourite. The Smart is more fun and puts a smile on your face, but the IQ is the car I want to live with.

May 16, 2013 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Smart Automobile doing great by making such small stylish car. It really looks nice and its designing is very attractive. Smart car is I think the best small car in the automobile industry and most preferred car by the people these days. All the latest automobile applications are there in a Smart car and it is quite helpful for the car users. Toyota IQ is also another beautiful and stylish car to have. The above Smart car looks really very attractive.

August 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark Taylor

Smart Automobile doing great by making such small stylish car. It really looks nice and its designing is very attractive. Smart car is I think the best small car in the automobile industry and most preferred car by the people these days. All the latest automobile applications are there in a Smart car and it is quite helpful for the car users. Toyota IQ is also another beautiful and stylish car to have. The above Smart car looks really very attractive.

August 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark Taylor

I'm just about to buy one of these so this is very helpful indeed. I am hoping to get the car through a narrow gap so the wing mirror thing is very interesting. How wide is the IQ with the wing mirrors folded?

April 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGarret

I'm just about to buy one of these so this is very helpful indeed. I am hoping to get the car through a narrow gap so the wing mirror thing is very interesting. How wide is the IQ with the wing mirrors folded?

April 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGarret

According to the brochure it's 168cm.
http://cdnlive.toyotaretail.co.uk.s3.amazonaws.com/pdf_files/iq.pdf

April 26, 2014 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi, found your video very interesting as my smart for 2 cabriolet has just been written off, and I am looking at buying an IQ2, so very informative.

July 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLiza

Hello Techmoan,

I recently watched the video about the Smart Car vs the Toyota (Scion) IQ, and really enjoyed it. It was informative and quite entertaining.

I was wondering about a few things. Now that Toyota has discontinued the IQ, has your opinion of the car changed? Do you have concerns about getting parts when something breaks?

Also, you mentioned you had a Mini before the Smart Car. What sort of Mini was it? One of the old Morris ones? How did the Smart Car and how does the IQ compare? Why did you move the Mini on? Are you still driving the IQ?

Great piece. Keep on keeping on!

September 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJames Wood

I still really like the IQ - but it was at the end of it’s 3 year lease purchase agreement and therefore time for me to move on to another car. If they still made them I would have bought another.

The Mini I had before was a 2007 BMW Mini Cooper Diesel - it was a bit of a problematic car with a few faults and I exchanged it out at the end of it’s 3 year lease purchase agreement.

I think manufactures have to keep a stock of spares for a period after a car has ceased production - it might be something like 10 years after…so buying an old IQ now shouldn’t be a problem, however that situation will change in a few years….but by then the cars will be getting pretty old.

The only disappointing thing with the IQ was the fuel economy - looking at the size of the car people thought it should be great - but it was pretty poor to average.

September 10, 2017 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

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