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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
DR02 D - Best Budget Dual Cam
Yi

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%! 

 
Friday
Aug052016

Assembled Nixie Clock Shootout

I've spent the last few years looking for a ready-made nixie tube clock that is well constructed, affordable and produced in sufficient quantity to make linking to it worthwhile. In the video below you can see how I got on.

 

  
Purchasing Links
  
MILLCLOCK - This is the smaller, less expensive clock with no alarm
(If this specific model is sold out, see what else the seller has in their store - as they make a few different designs)
Click your Country:
UK   US   CA   DE   AU   NL

CHRONIX - This is the bigger clock with an alarm
(They make a number of designs, so this link goes to the store).
Click your Country:
UK   US   CA   DE   AU   NL 

 

Tuesday
Aug022016

Car Stereo Cassette Adapters - the circle of life

What do you do when new releases dry up for your car stereo's tape format but you don't want to install a whole new head unit? The answer is to buy an adapter.  In the video below you can see two adapters. One that ushered in the compact cassette age and the other that saw them out again 25 years later.

You can find the MP3 cassette player on eBay - but I should warn you that it is a cheap plasticy novelty gadget rather than a quality device. 

UPDATE - 3rd August 

I have been informed that I have STOLEN the idea for this video from a video that until yesterday I'd never seen - here is that video  (I was avoiding reading youtube comments - but this one was tweeted to me).
  
The idea for this video came from a 31/3/16 Tweet from Mike Finnell. I then purchased the items I'd need to make this video  - here's a picture of my ebay order history but it's really no surprise to me that this idea has been done before - after all they sold Cassette to 8-Track adaptors and they also sold MP3 to Cassette adaptors....both are still freely available on ebay so guess what anyone who makes videos about old tech and also owns both adaptors and an 8-track player is going to do. To be honest I expected there would be half a dozen videos on youtube doing this. The fact there is just one other was a surprise.
  
See The Simpsons already did it...for more about how many obvious situations or ideas have been done before.
 
People have been messing with MP3s and 8-tracks for years...here's one video I remember seeing in 2013 when I was first getting into 8-track  - it's from 2010 where a chap has modded an 8-track cart to fit an iPod inside. 
..and here's an earlier article from 2009 about doing the same thing with a different MP3 player.
 
I don't search youtube to see if someone has made a video on the same topics as I am working on, so similar coincidences will very probably happen again....in fact I guarantee that many of the subjects of my videos will have been discussed by someone at some time somewhere.
 
I know that I've seen more than one person making a video about the Commodore 64 and listing the best games for it - I never considered that these people had Stolen the idea for these videos from each other - but perhaps that's because my brain is functioning normally. 
 
I have a room full of old tech, bought just to be used in future videos. I'm sure many other people will also own these same things and may also make videos about them. If the idea of two or more people making videos about the same gadgets from the past is in some way traumatising for you - it may be best to avoid my videos as I can't promise that all my consumer electronics items are unique (because consumer electronics items aren't unique).

 

Saturday
Jul302016

Sample Clips are down...and no it's not a heist.

There is a problem with the video sample download files - the traffic has been too high, too many people want to download the clips. A number of people have brought this to my attention - but there is nothing I can think to do right now. I'm out of options. I have tried for years to find a reliable hosting company for my video sample files. I have tried all the big hosting names*, and they are all restricted in some way, e.g. by file size, traffic, file type (videos are often auto-flagged as potential pirated material), I've had files auto-deleted, companies had closed, blocks have been put on my account - it's cost me hundreds of pounds over the last few years. 

A couple of years ago PCloud offered to host the files - and it was all going well until last week when the 4K samples triggered some kind of high traffic volume flag. Hopefully it will time-out and it will start working again soon - but if you plan on leaving me offensive finger-pointing comments like the one I've pasted below,  please don't.

...I tried to download your sample file and PCcloud won't allow it. It mentions that traffic was too high and suggests that I get a PCcloud account to access it. Why choose a service that is limited and uses your (you the reviewer) resources to get people to sign up for their monetary gain? Is there something in it for you? It seems to be some sort of deceptive round-a-bout advertising going on here. I'm just looking for honest reviews so that I can be informed when I make a purchase - yours I thought was honest until I got to this point.....

So it seems like it's all a scam - I'm attempting to steal your money using a very unusual technique. The trick is to spend a couple of months making a video - then hoping that people who watch the (free) video, try and download optional (free) video samples...when this doesn't work and you are asked to sign up for a free account on a file sharing service...I get a cut of the takings of this deception (which are....zero). 

It looks like I'll have to forget about the sample clips on future videos unless this issue resolves itself, so my apologies for that, but these things just don't scale well. There was always going to be a point where the traffic was unsustainable for any file hosting company except probably Amazon AWS S3, but I can't afford them (I tested hosting a couple of files on AWS one month and the projected total bill was way beyond my means).

*Dropbox, Mega, AWS...are the most recent three I can remember. 

Thursday
Jul282016

The Bluetooth Star Trek Communicator

In this video I'm taking a look at a top quality prop replica that isn't destined to spend its time sitting on a shelf gathering dust. This Star Trek Communicator actually communicates. It might be pushing things to say that it is an essential accessory...but it's certainly not useless either.

Just imagine the reaction you'll get if that familiar hailing beep is heard, you pull a Star Trek communicator from your pocket and proceed to handle a call on it. A definite conversation starter, in more than one sense.

You can find out more on the official website - including details of where to buy one. The cheapest price I've seen in the UK is £115 at Zavvi. 

Wednesday
Jul272016

Just a quick comment about comments

First I want to make something perfectly clear....I am not complaining and I am not upset...I am just passing on a bit of important info.

Whenever I've mentioned youtube comments in the past, people think I'm moaning - so please put this idea out of your mind, I am writing because I feel I owe you an explanation as to why the youtube comments will go downhill from here on.

Ever since I started uploading youtube videos, nine years ago, I've tried to moderate the youtube comments, I'd block trolls, remove nonsense, spam, adverts and hate messages, all with the intention of making my channel a pleasant place to visit...but today I'm having to let go. The channel has become too popular, there are just too many comments being posted for me to keep this up...it's a fire-hose.

I'd like to be able to say that moderating it has become a full time job...but it's more than that...it's a full time job for a team of half a dozen people. So as I'm just one man, I'm backing away from the youtube comments. I'll continue to read the top comments every now and then, probably weekly, but it won't be on a daily basis any more. 

I love making videos that entertain people - I enjoy getting feedback and suggestions, I've built the channel through listening to and responding to the viewers who enjoy the videos and I'll miss (some of) the banter, but if I'm going to be able to find the time to continue making videos, I've no choice but to take a step back and let the comments go full Lord Of The Flies...it's become far too time consuming to keep on top of. I won't be blocking or deleting anything any more - it seems right to leave it totally unsupervised. 

I will still read and (try to) respond to comments posted on Patreon, Twitter and this website, but as far as youtube...it was fun, but the party was probably really over a couple of years ago.

I love making things, but I don't enjoy talking about them afterwards. The fun for me is in the creating rather than the explaining. 

Hopefully dropping youtube comment moderation commitments out of my list of jobs will allow me more time to spend on making fun and informative videos...but inevitably the youtube comments will suffer, so if you see anything particularly offensive to others, please do everyone a favour and flag it as inappropriate. 

Saturday
Jul232016

Yi 4K - The best action camera ever?

In July 2015 I bought the Sony 4K action camera, immediately took it on holiday and shot some footage with the intention of using this in a review. When I returned I decided that I couldn't assemble a proper review as I neither had a 4K TV or a way to edit my 4K footage.

A few months later iMovie was updated to include 4K editing abilities and a couple of months later I bought a 4K TV. So now with all these pieces in place I could finally make that review, the only problem was that I felt that technology had already moved on. Whilst the Sony could record in 4K, everything else about the camera seemed old, compared to even the cheapest budget action HD cameras that I'd reviewed since. It was sluggish to operate, had an old over-complicated operating system, ran hot and would eat through a battery in under an hour. I had plenty of other fun things to look at instead, so again it went back on the shelf.

Fast-forward to a couple of months ago when Yi offer to send me a pre-production version of their new 4K action camera. I was a little reluctant to try a 4K action cam review again, but since I was already shooting most of my video reviews in 4K and I'd had a good experience with the original Yi camera, I decided it was time to give it a go, and I'm very glad I did. The Yi 4K action camera shows how quickly technology can advance in a year. Xiaoyi claim the Yi 4K is the 'Best Action Camera Ever' - and I can't disagree. Whilst there may be a contender out there somewhere, I know that I haven't used a more capable action camera. 

In the video below you'll see a demonstration of many of the features of the Yi 4K, presented in 4K, I hope you enjoy it. 

If you want to download sample clips - Click Here (please don't try to stream the clips - these have to be downloaded to be viewed in 4K)

If you want to buy the Yi 4K Action Camera please bear in mind that this is a fully tricked out 4K camera - not a budget model and the prices reflect that. Also it's still early days so there aren't many suppliers, your best bet if you aren't in the UK or US is probably to get one from AliExpress - The affliliated links are below.

Purchasing

You can buy this camera at one of the following links:
  
WORLDWIDE ORDERS:  Aliexpress 
  
The Official Yi Stores on Amazon also stock accessories:
USA http://amzn.to/2aFpwV5
United Kingdom: http://amzn.to/2aYGr7v
Germany: www.amazon.de/gp/shops/A2JAUC835NRI9P
France: www.amazon.fr/gp/shops/A2JAUC835NRI9P
Spain: www.amazon.es/gp/shops/A2JAUC835NRI9P
Italy: www.amazon.it/gp/shops/A2JAUC835NRI9P
Monday
Jul182016

MINIDISC

I get asked "when are you doing a minidisc video" every day. Some people ask me if I've heard of a 'forgotten format' that was like a small CD held in a plastic tray called 'mini disk' (SIC) so its probably best that I put the record straight....I was all-in on MD back in the early 00s. I loved MD, and I still do, I used it daily until I got my first iPod (which was an iPod colour). I've still got a box full of MDs and I was present at a Sony launch demonstration of minidisc a few months before it went on sale to the public in the UK.  
 
So yes, I'm working my way around to Minidisc. I have been accumulating a number of machines that demonstrate different aspects and milestones in the minidisc format's timeline. There's a lot to cover ATRAC, MD LP, HiMD etc etc.
 
Many of my audio format videos have taken years to assemble, and there's really no rush, MD isn't going anywhere, no reason to panic....a MD retrospective video will happen, when I can do a good job of it. I really don't want to do a format that is so close to my heart a disservice...so please bear with it.
Friday
Jul152016

Design Classics: The Panasonic SG-515

Sometimes I'll pick up a piece of technology that isn't unique, that doesn't tell a special tale or demonstrate a forgotten technology. An object that's probably not the first or the last, the biggest or the smallest, but yet there's something about the design or its implementation that I find interesting. In order to give me an opportunity to showcase some of these items here I'm trying out a new format that I've called 'Design Classics'. 
It's like a more interesting unboxing (for things without boxes), or a show-and-tell for adults. 
As I look around the room some objects that might make suitable subjects for one of these short videos in the future are a couple of mint Walkmans, a BNIB unusual early Minidisc player, and the most impressive looking portable radio I've ever laid my eyes on. 
In the video below I look at a radio...but one that has a particularly clever party piece. I hope you enjoy it. 
Saturday
Jul092016

Out with the old and in with the new (amp)

I recently bought a new amplifier and it is the most expensive piece of HiFi equipment I've ever purchased. This was something for me rather than an oddity acquired just for the purpose of making a video. Whilst it's not as flashy or quirky as most of my HiFi equipment, I suspect it will outlast the other components and quite probably me as well. Some people wanted to see a video about it, so here it is. 

You can aquire refurbished Azur 851A Amplifiers on eBay in the UK - CLICK HERE

Sunday
Jul032016

Retro Tech: The Wire Recorder

This retro tech video features the first format that brought affordable and practical audio recording to the home, the wire recorder.
The video covers the history of wire recording and you'll get to see and hear a sixty three year old machine in action. Click on the video below to see more. 

Thursday
Jun232016

Dashcam Review: DDPai M6+ is the best mini cam I've used

In the video below you'll see a full Review of the best Mini Dashcam I've used. I've been using this in my car for six weeks and I can't fault the performance. I'm so happy with it that I have plans to buy a couple more when I can get the money together. Then I can replace the camera in my other car as well as try the dual camera functionality in my roadster. 

The highlights of this camera for me are the magnetic mount, the video quality and the time-lapse parking mode. Other notable features include WiFi, GPS and a wireless remote.

I bought mine from the ebay store linked below: (Click your country to see the current price). 

 UK   US   AU   DE   AT   BE   CA   CH   ES   IE   IT   NL

I’ve purchased from this store plenty of times over the years without any problems. Delivery usually takes approx 10-14 days to the UK.

 

I cannot report on the long term reliablity of a product that has only been on the market a few weeks...but I do hope it carries on working for a long time, as I really like this one. 

Downloadable sample clips here: http://pc.cd/WSdctalK - Please don't be that guy who always tries streaming the videos and then gets back to me to say that they look terrible when streamed. These are provided for Downloading - they look like they were recorded with a potato if streamed over pcloud.

My 'BEGINNERS GUIDE to Dashcams' can be seen here: https://youtu.be/HQ0Tm9FFpKM

UPDATE - I must stress that this is not a basic simple camera suitable for beginners - it has a lot of features and you need to have a bit of experience with apps, smartphones and previous dashcams before you buy this camera.  If you are looking for your first car camera...this is not suitable. I have a list of recommended dashcams and something like the Transcend Drivepro 200 is a good place to start. Big clear screen, minimal options and simple features, no WiFi or reliance on smartphone apps which can lead to potential compatibility issues with specific phones. 

UPDATE 2 - OCTOBER 2016

I was getting a lot of questions about this camera - if you read through the comments below you'll see that the same questions keep popping up - so to help anyone out who is having issues with the smartphone features of this camera - please watch the video below - you'll also see a demonstration of the CPL filter in use. I recommend you watch this one on Youtube itself (click the youtube logo at the bottom of the video) and then you can skip to the appropriate section you need.