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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+
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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
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.

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Reader Comments (6)

HDMI handshaking can be a nightmare and Sky historically always seemed to have issues. I assume you tried removing the mains power from your TV and not just from the Sky devices? Also LG have an input setup function to detect the capabilities of HDMI devices so did you try running that?

Then again I would have probably gone with a sound bar like the Yamaha YSP1600, as it is a similar price (£319) but has surround sound features, HDMI ARC and adds AirPlay to the Bluetooth streaming ability as well as multi room via MusicCast.

November 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMikeX

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 say that this was a review of a Sky Soundbox...and a demonstration of the faults it 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 a review of it.

November 19, 2017 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Yes, all understood. Everyone has specific needs and requirements, which is why we have such a wide variety of equipment choice.

It is unfortunate when a carefully chosen product fails to work as expected or intended!

Hopefully Sky will get their firmware sorted out to fix the issues you found. If not then maybe a sound base (one you could place under your current centre speaker) could be an option?

November 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMikeX

This made me laugh. You did indeed do a review of the item that you wanted to review, but people are telling you that you are wrong ! Absolutely brilliant !! It reminds me of Harry Enfields "You don't wanna do it like that" character. I didn't realise how many people had been affected by that show until I saw the comments to your video. I hope they didn't watch that angry Frank character too ;-) "If he came to my house with a Sky Soundbox, I'd have to say NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!".

Keep up the good work Matt, you make the internet an interesting place for all of us, including those that can't fully understand what you are talking about.

November 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTraction Tim

So good there are 12 for sale on Ebay!

November 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLawrence

Hi, i think your issue with not getting the Sky Q menu (clear speech / night mode / kids mode etc.) is because it is on the optical source. That menu only appears when you are on HDMI source as it's only applicable to Sky Q channels such as Sport / Films etc. I realised this myself after a bit of 1st day setup tinkering.

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterStrutter

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