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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%! 

 
Sunday
Nov222015

The Smallest Discman ever made - is a modern-day health and safety nightmare

I'm working on a number of camera tests at the moment, but the dark evenings and unrelentingly rainy days have delayed those reviews. Therefore in the meantime, here's a short retro-tech video featuring the smallest Sony Discman ever made.

I loved the tech world of the 1980s where you never knew what the next crazy gadget would be. It seemed like anything and everything was possible. One way to charge a premium for your gadget and make it more desireable was to stake a claim on it being the 'Smallest'.

Sony had the smallest Walkman - the WM10, and with the D-88 Discman they could claim to have the smallest portable CD player too. Once you've added on the bulky battery pack, and taken into account the fact that you easily play a CD album in it whilst on the go, being smallest isn't necessarily the big advantage that it first seems, but this is what makes this machine a highly sought after collectable nowadays. 

When it comes to collectables. no one is interested in collecting the old mid-range, mass-market, reliable and sensible products. The prized electronics are almost always the crazy devices, the failures, the expensive high-end or short lived experiments. The Sony D-88 ticks most if not all of these boxes.

I mentioned that this device would be considered a health and safety nightmare nowadays with the exposed edge of a CD spinning at up to 480rpm. What damage this could really do is negligible, however you can bet that some clown, somewhere in the world would claim that they were irrevocably injured by it - causing a class action suit, a withdrawal of the product from the market and a payout to all affected customers. What a different time the 1980s were. 

There are two links below - one will search ebay for a Sony D-88 Discman and the other is a link to the renovated BP-2EX Walkman batteries retrofitted with lithium ion cells.

SONY D-88    BP-2EX BATTERY

Wednesday
Nov182015

The WiFi Coffee Machine

You've probably figured out by now that I love a good gadget, and you may also have spotted that I enjoy a cup of coffee. Therefore you'd think that a WiFi enabled Coffee machine would be right up my street.....well so did I, until I bought one. 

If you like the look of this machine, or want to read other reviews. You can view it on Amazon.co.uk

Sunday
Nov152015

The Giant ready-made LED Music Visualiser 

I like to bag a bargain as much as the next person....but occasionally I'll discover something I like that is only available from one place and seems likely to be discontinued at any moment. At times like this, there is really only one choice, pay up, or miss out. 

On this occasion after months of deliberating about the considerable cost, I decided I had to pay up...and acquired what I believe to be the largest ready made LED music visualiser currently available. 
Once it arrived, I wasn't sure what to do with it...but after a few weeks I decided it would be employed as an interesting object to have in the background whenever I was doing sections to the camera. 
After it appeared in two videos I received a lot of enthusiastic enquiries about the visualiser, most people asking me to make a video about it and show where it can be purchased. It has certainly caught people's attention, however I suspect that the positive comments are going to stop abruptly once people have seen
the video below. 
 
 
Purchasing
Now if you are in the market for a giant ready-made LED visualiser, and are prepared to pay for it....the only place I've seen this for sale is on Aliexpress....click here for the details. Expect to pay import duties on top of the final price. 
If you want to see the video about the smaller cheaper LED panel that I reviewed a couple of years ago....click here. It is important to remember that this smaller display doesn't have a microphone input...it gets the sound via a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack input and also has a 3.5mm output, so it can be inserted between a source and the speaker. The small display can be purchased here.

 

 

Monday
Nov092015

The New Beginners Guide to Dash Cams

A few months ago a representative of Asus got in touch. They’d seen my 2013 Beginners Guide To Dashcams video and enquired whether I could make a new version of this for them to coincide with the launch of the Asus Reco Classic car camera. 

It seemed like a good opportunity to get a bit of exposure and perhaps gain some new subscribers, so I decided to do it at no charge providing I could use the video as well. 

You can see the video below.

 

The Asus Reco Classic Car Camera is available from Amazon; http://amzn.to/1Nkjszr (Link goes to Amazon UK)

Sample Clips from the Reco Classic can be downloaded from pcloud:  http://pc.cd/G1TrtalK
A list of my recommended dash cams can be found here: http://www.techmoan.com/what-is-the-best-dashcam/

 

Sunday
Nov082015

The simplest way to wirelessly play Streamed Apple Music through a HiFi 

Apple Music is the first streaming music service that I've subscribed to. Whilst it's fine listening via headphones when I'm out and about when I'm in the house I want to take advantages of the speakers attached to my hifi. 

With a brief of wireless, cheap and simple I settled on using bluetooth to bridge the gap. If I want quality I can use other audio components in my HiFi to play back Vinyl, CDs SACDs or lossless files, for me streamed music is all about convienience.

So in the quick video below, I show how the Logitech bluetooth receiver quickly and easily enabled this family to get the most from our family subscription and play streamed music back through a proper HiFi.

Purchasing

You can buy the Logitech Bluetooth Adaptor demonstrated in the video though Amazon - Click the following links to see the current price on  AMAZON UK  or AMAZON US 

Sunday
Nov012015

Git1 A great little budget action camera with mic-in

Luckily this camera doesn't live up to the rather unfortunate name, it's definitely not a git - it's a great little budget action camera.

People who want to try out Moto-Vlogging often ask me to recommend them a budget action camera that can accept an external microphone. The only cheap camera that springs to mind is the SVC200 I reviewed back in 2013 and that had an annoying whistle on the audio. If anyone asks me that question now, I'll definitely be recommending this little Git1. As you'll see in the video below, the external microphone works very well on the Git1, and in the video I also do some side by side video tests with the Git1's closest rival - the Dazzne P2.

Purchasing

You can pick up the Git1 with a microphone and the remote control for approximately £78. To make things simpler this time I'm just including the link where I purchased my camera from.

CLICK HERE TO BUY  I've bought cameras from these chaps in China many times without any problems - I can't recall paying any duty and the products arrive promptly especially if you pay extra for the courier option.

Sample Clips

If you are intersted in downloading sample photos and videos then they are available on the excellent PCloud service.  CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Update - Colour Mystery Solved & more info

One of the sections of the video that has generated the most questions is something that I only spotted during editing. Coloured Text on a billboard was showing as Yellow on the Dazzne P2 and Green on the Git1...so which one was right. Well I went for a stroll past the sign today and and took a picture with my iPhone. The true colour of the text is.....Green. So the Git1 won this test. I've put a thumbnail below so you can see for yourself. Bear in mind the iPhone picture was taken on a different day in different light.

Other useful information people have kindly posted in the comments include the fact that an October firmware update now enables the camera to do 720p60 and fixes the problem with the mic - it was an issue with mono mics (hence why just my stereo Sony mic worked). In addition apparently the Git1 size is the same as some Gopro models and therefore 'should' fit in various gopro cases, gymbals etc.


Monday
Oct262015

DOD Champion SP1 Motorsport Dashcam Review

The Official UK Distributor of the DOD Camera range (HDigital-EYE) have been kind enough to send me the DOD SP1 Motorsport Dashcam to review. I installed this camera in my car for a few weeks and in the video below I demonstrate everthing I discovered. 

 

SAMPLE CLIPS

I have provided downloadable sample clips on PCLOUD - you can Download these clips here.

PURCHASING (I only have UK links at the moment)

ebay UK (HDigital-eye ebay UK store) - Also available direct from their website.
 
Note the UK warranty is actually 2 years - rather than the 1 year mentioned in the video.
  
Below is a list of the Authorised UK DOD Dashcam Dealers:
   
If you like the look of the DOD SP1 but don't need the Motorsport features, perhaps you'll find the cheaper DOD LS460W more suitable. It costs approx £100 less -and can be purchased here.
    
PDF MANUAL

You can download the DOD Champion S1 manual here

Sunday
Oct182015

4K Video Test - Al Fresco Coffee & Vinyl

I've been shooting with a 4K camera for a couple of months (the Sony RX10ii) - but I've been restricted to shooting in 1080p as iMovie (my editing software) couldn't handle 4K. I contemplated upgrading to the 4K capable Final Cut Pro X - but at £229 that's a lot of money to spend when I'm happy with the iMovie software. I decided to hold out until iMovie supported 4K, and this week it finally happened, so I've made a test movie in 4K (3840x2160). You can see it below. 

4K isn't really practical for my longer videos. The file sizes for my 1080p videos already regularly go beyond 1GB, so a 4K half hour video would be unmanagable. I'll also need to make a new intro and outro in 4k before these videos can become an occasional thing, however it's been interesting finding out what is possible. 

If you are intersted in the objects shown in this video, the details are below.

The Handpresso 12V espresso machine is available on Amazon UK, Amazon US & ebay 

The Sony PS-Q7 turntable is a vintage device and they occasionally come up for sale on eBay (click to search). It's a really nice deck, fully automatic and with good quality sound.

Headphones - Philips Fidelio X2 - available on Amazon US or Amazon UK

Car 12v to 230v Power Inverter (includes battery clamps): Amazon UK

Incidentally the car power inverter introduced a buzz into the audio, so this isn't really a practical solution to powering a mains record player on the go. 

If you are interested in finding more about the handpresso range of portable espresso machines their official Website is here: http://www.handpresso.com

The video title is a 'play on words' on a 1992 Willie D gangster rap album (I'm goin' out lika soldier).

Monday
Oct122015

It's finally time I take a good look at Laserdisc

I believe that I first became aware of the existence of laserdisc in the late 70s or early 80's. I probably saw it on Tomorrows World. It was a lot tricker to see in person. Living in the North West of the UK in the 1980s you didn't get to see the latest tech easily. In London I would imagine I'd have been able to pop into Harrods where someone would be showing it off to passing customers, but I can't recall ever seeing a Laserdisc in person until 1992. I was working in HMV in Manchester (briefly) in the video & games department. They had a small rack of laserdiscs in a corner, I can't recall anyone buying one. The smart buyer at the time used the much cheaper mail order companies advertising in the back of film magazines.

I saw Laserdisc again in 1998 when I bought my DVD player from a shop that sprung up overnight in a small unit in the Manchester Arndale shopping centre. The store was importing DVD players and DVD/LD combos alongside films from Japan and the US before any DVD machines were available in the UK. I paid a deposit of £100 for my DVD player and promised to return and pay the remaining £300 over the next three months. The next time I returned a notice on the shutter explained that the trading standards office had shut the business down for selling films that hadn't gone through the BBFC certification process. It was a win for me though as I ended up paying just £100 for my £400 DVD player. I also recall that even in 1999 when I had a DVD delivered to the office some people were amazed - D....V.....D? they said, in the most surprised way you could pronounce three letters. How could you get a film on a silver disc someone else asked, as if it was a magic trick. A trick first performed by Laserdisc in the late 1970s.

Back the present. Over the last few years I've enjoyed learning about and experiencing tech I never had the chance to own when it was first available. Although I've deliberately concentrated on HiFi. Age is kind to audio, my 1976 Elcaset sounds as good as anything I've ever heard. Video is a very different story, old video basically just looks worse than new video. I find I now that I only watch the HD channels on TV and I've long since abandoned DVD as a format to purchase films on. When it comes to video, the past is the past and rose tinted glasses will just make it look worse. 

However since I've coverered all the audio formats that I was interested in, it's time I dipped my toe into video and take a look at Laserdisc. Watch the video below to see if it's now totally unwatchable or a pleasant surprise.

Monday
Oct052015

LG PF1000U Minibeam Ultra Short Throw Projector - Home Demonstration

Once you've watched a movie in the comfort of your own home on a 95" projection screen it's hard to go back to viewing films on a normal sized TV screen again. However that's exactly what I've done for the last couple of years following a redecoration and introduction of new furniture which left nowhere for my projector or screen to go. I looked at every possible way to fit them back into the living space, but just couldn't find anything that would work.

When my 60" TV recently went on the blink, I started looking at new models, and considered getting a 79" 4K screen, The sharp increase in the cost of any screen larger than 65" resulted in that idea quickly being abandoned, however I was never too happy with the idea of watching every TV show on a giant screen. I don't want newsreaders to look like big brother looming over the room, it's only when watching films where I miss the projection screen real estate.

Over the last couple of years I've been keeping my eye on developments in UST (ultra-short-throw) projectors as I hoped that this technology might one day provide the solution to my problem. There haven't been too many HD UST projectors released. One interesting model was the LG Hecto Laser Projector but it required a highly-reflective fixed screen and cost £8000. Then there is the 4K Sony model that costs $50,000. More realistic were the Philips Screeneo models, but these only go to 720p and reportedly have very low light output.

However at the 2015 IFA show LG were showing off their new Minibeam 1080p projector. It didn't get too much press coverage at the time, but in the few demos I could find, it looked like science fiction. A 1080p 100" screen could be projected from just 15" away. Amazingly just a few weeks later it became available to buy and I immediately snapped one up. 

Watch the video below to see if I've finally found the projector that enables me to get my home cinema back.

I bought my LG PF1000U Minibeam projector from Amazon US - here's a link to the product.

The Korean export version costs more - but ships worldwide here it is on Amazon

There are also a number of suppliers of this projector on ebay here.

The Optoma 95" 16:10 pull-up projection screen can be obtained in the UK from Amazon.

There is more about the PF1000U on the LG Website here.

 

Sunday
Sep272015

Three Budget Headphone Tube Amplifiers reviewed.

Until I bought three headphone amplifiers to test I'd never contemplated using one myself. The headphone-out socket on my music playing devices always seemed perfectly good enough. Even now, I believe the benefits of a headphone amp will only be fully realised by someone who has excellent hearing and is using a high-end pair of headphones that need more power to drive properly. However I'd imagine that a person like this would buy a high-end amp like the Oppo HA-1 rather than a budget model.
  
So where does that leave a £30 headphone tube amplifier? Well as far as any sound improvement goes, that's probably more snake oil than anything else, however if you were to discount the idea of the amp somehow magically improving the sound quality, then they do make a lot more sense.
A headphone amp can provide increased volume output without distortion and also add a headphone output to devices that don't have one.
    
So now that I understand where a budget headphone amp can come in handy...let's find out if any of the three I bought are up to the task. Watch the video below to find out.
   
  
Purchasing:
Here's a link to the gold amp on eBay http://goo.gl/rgR5KF
Below you'll find links to the eBay store that supplied my amps, they sell a lot of different models and I found them quick and easy to deal with. 
US  UK  AU  DE  ES  NL  IE  BE  CA  CH  FR  IT  (Click your country.)
Follow up video:
PLEASE DO NOT SEND ME ANY MORE LINKS TO THE TEAR-DOWN VIDEO BY EEVBLOG

Important note. I am fully aware of the tear down video by Dave at EEVBlog of one of these headphone amps, which he kindly performed to lay this matter to rest. 

My first video about these headphone amps was uploaded in September 2015, a kind viewer went on to send Dave one of the amps so he could perform a professional tear-down, which he subsequently did in January 2016

If you haven't seen Dave's video...here's a link.