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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%! 

            

 
Sunday
Mar012015

K1S - The first Front & Rear Hidden 1080p Dash Camera

My full video review for the K1S 2ch HD Car DVR is below. 
   
  
If you want to watch my 'Beginners Guide To Dashcams' video - Click here.
   
The K1S manufacturer website is here, and pdf manuals for the camera can be found here.
   
For my downloadable sample videos click here  As always, download these files to your machine before viewing them - streaming will make them look worse than youtube.
Note: These files have been manually trimmed for length (and filesize) - therefore the start and end points for the front and rear clips no longer match each other perfectly.
  
Size Comparison
The control unit is approximately the same thickness as a box of cards but a bit smaller overall (without cables).
   
Buying the K1S
I’ll add links below as and when I discover additional resellers. 
 
EBAY
US link here
UK link here
  
AMAZON
(US) With GPS: http://amzn.to/1MKU4lY
(US) Without GPS: http://amzn.to/1DBbUpZ
  
  
 
   
UPDATE 02 March 2015
I've received the answers to a few questions I asked the manufacturers.
 
1) The Car Lamp Open/Closed menu as expected does warn the driver if they are driving in the dark with the headlamps off. It judges this by the exposure.
  
2) Apparently the battery used is a Standard GoPro size....which is great. Normally I try to avoid dashcams that use batteries, because when the internal battery fails you have to replace the whole camera - in this case you can buy a new battery. Just a reminder -  I can't comment on the long term reliability of any cam after only a month of use.
 
3) I wasn't sure how the emergency button handled the files. I was concerned that if you saw something you wanted to keep - but the camera started recording the next file before you managed to press the button then you would be protecting the wrong clip. Well it turns out the manufacturer has thought of this. "When this button is pressed, if current recording is less than 1 minute, then current file and the file before this (together 2 files) are locked"
 
4) Not a question, but I have raised the issue of the need for resellers in China who can export to Europe and also the Speedcam database is no use in the UK until the camera can support additional database formats. Both these things are being explored...but the database issue isn't a simple quick fix.
>>>>>IMPORTANT - READ THIS... (OCTOBER 2016)
Both my cars had a K1S installed until a couple of months ago - They were still working 100% at the point I took them out. I removed them so that I could test other cameras, although I was getting a bit sick of the rear wire interfering with the rear hatchback door on both cars - this would work better in a car with a fixed rear window.  It seems that my experience is not the same as that of other people - perhaps the manufacturer changed the product after I purchased my cameras...but if you read through the comments it seems that other people are having lots of reliability issues. You may have noticed that this is no longer on my list of Recommended Cameras - and this is the reason. I was happy with the performance of both of my cameras for 18 months...but perhaps my experience was uncommon. 
Saturday
Feb072015

The Big SJ5000+ Action Camera Review

Twenty-odd years ago I worked in HMV. I remember being amazed when people came in the shop asking whether the latest cinema release was also available to buy on video. Fast forward a couple of decades and within a few hours of the  SJCAM SJ5000+ being announced as a preorder, scores of people emailed me to inform me that the camera was out now, asking me when my review would be ready. It seems like some things haven't changed much.

I don't know why people thought that I wouldn’t have heard about the SJ5000+. My previous SJCAM reviews have amassed a couple of million views, so it's a company that I naturally keep a close eye on. I bought their SJ5000+ as soon as it went on sale and I've been testing it for the last few weeks.
 

The reason I mentioned the fevered anticipation for the SJ5000+ above, is because I wonder if the pressure on SJCAM to deliver a follow up to their big hit, the SJ4000, may have resulted in this camera being rushed out before it was ready. It's definitely in need of a few firmware tweaks to get rid of bugs and the battery management could have done with optimising before the camera went on sale. 

I'll have to consider this to be a review of an unfinished product.  I intend to revisit this camera if improvements are made to the way it performs and perhaps then I'll also get the chance to take it out on the motorbike on a sunny day.
 
Watch the video below to find out all about the SJ5000 Plus. Both the good.... and the not-so-good.
 
 
  
If you want a 1080p60 SJCAM now, there are some affiliated buying links below:
The ebay links are here: (click your country) UK  US  AU  DE  NL  FR
   

As always, download these files to your machine before viewing them - streaming will make them look worse than youtube.
Other cameras I've recently reviewed in the SJCAM range (all capable of 1080p30).
 
Also note that at the time of posting - Amazon UK have a great offer on the Sony AS30 at £130. This camera may not have a live video screen, but it does record 1080p60 video and has excellent quality video stabilsation, stereo sound, WiFi and GPS logging.
IMPORTANT UPDATE - the Battery life is now approx 55 Mins (Using firmware 1.7) 
See video below for more info.

 

Sunday
Feb012015

JBL Pulse - The Bluetooth Speaker Party in a can

If you've seen some of my other HiFi reviews you'll know that I prefer to enjoy my music with a healthy dose of visualisation. Whether it's VU Meters,  Spinning Reels or LEDs, I like my music to move as well as it sounds.

So with that in mind the video below is my first (and likely my last) review of a Bluetooth speaker.

 

I bought mine as a refurbished model from the UK JBL outlet store. I have no idea if they will ever have these on offer again so if you really can't wait, the Amazon links are below.

 

Wednesday
Jan282015

For crying out loud - just stop getting scammed.

I’ve received an email from someone who has sent money to a random paypal address and are now asking me where their goods are. Apparently the people who requested the money must have said that they are associated with Techmoan.com. I have no idea what the scammers claimed to be selling. 

Let me spell this out. I do not sell anything. I do not charge for anything. I do not want your money. 

The way that this website works is as follows. I buy things. I make youtube videos about those things. I then link the video description box back to Techmoan.com where I have useful links or sample clips. It’s the simplest idea in the world.

The way I make money is from the youtube and website adverts that are automatically served by Google Adsense, as well as from any purchases made via the affiliated ebay and Amazon links you’ll find under each article. That’s it. Nothing else. 

If a manufacturer of a product wants to contact me (I’ve stopped interacting with resellers) then there is a CONTACT ME box on the ABOUT page. This sends me an email. If I respond to the email, the response will only come from the domain @TECHMOAN.COM. 

Just in case you don't know how a scam works, you may recall the bloke who sold the Eiffel Tower for scrap or the chaps who sold the Statue of Liberty, or Tower Bridge. Those items weren’t really for sale and the person ‘selling’ them was not acting on behalf of the true owners. Anyone who paid money to acquire those items will have lost it 

Scams nowadays are easier because the internet means that there's no need for face to face contact. So there is nothing to stop someone setting up the email address HRHTheQueen@GMAIL and then offering to sell the Crown Jewels for a tenner.  It’s highly unlikely that you would fall for that, so don’t fall for someone setting up a I’mTechmoanHonestGuv@GMAIL and asking for your money or products. 

I never actively ask anyone to send me anything. All contacts are first made as incoming messages from the CONTACT ME form on this website.  

All I want to do is make videos and I really don’t need this extra nonsense. The last thing I want to receive when I’m sat at my desk (doing my day job) is an angry email threatening to get the police on me and shut down the website. 

This is a one-man website - I’m that man. I do everything here, my name is Mat. The person who emailed me apparently sent their money to two people called Adam and Jamie - neither of those are me. You may have seen the warning I posted on my website last year about a scammer using the email address techmoanreviews@gmail that isn’t me either.

All you have to remember is that I just make videos and you don’t have to pay me anything. If you want to give your money to a random stranger, then put it in their hand in the street, don’t send it to a paypal address for someone you’ve never met or researched. 

I don't do Facebook, I rarely post anything to @Techmoan on Twitter (other than automatic youtube updates) and I have just one youtube account (youtube.com/techmoan). 

Now please let me get back to making videos...that's all I've ever wanted to do since I started this back in 2009. 

Sunday
Jan252015

The Epic Drift Ghost S Helmet Camera Review

I say epic because it took me almost three months to put this video together. Pretty much everything I can say about this camera is covered in my half hour video review below.

Click Here for downloadable sample clips. As always, don't try to stream these, as (obviously) you'll just get streaming quality, instead download the clips and play the files locally. If you find this link to be unresponsive - try using the Chrome browser and if that fails, take a break and try again later. The Dumptruck website I use sometimes has issues - but it's the only file sharing site I trust not to auto-delete my files after a few days.

If you want to buy the Drift Ghost S... there are some affiliated links below.

 Ebay: UK  US  AU  DE  NL  FR

  

Monday
Jan192015

Mini 0806 and SJ5000+ have arrived...

My inbox is full of people asking whether I'm going to review the Mini 0806 dashcam and the SJ5000+ action camera. For every email that I answer with "yes, I will when they arrive, but my reviews take two to three weeks to put together, so it will take a while, but you'll know when the review is finished because I'll post it on youtube and it will show up in your subscribed videos feed", I'll receive another three people asking the same thing. 

So I'm just posting here to say that my Mini 0806 and SJ5000+ both finally arrived yesterday and it will take me a couple of weeks to shoot and edit a full review of each. I like to test things thoroughly and discover as many quirks and features as I can (like the undocumented orientation sensor on the Polaroid Cube ). So I may not be as quick as the typical youtube video 'review' of a mumbling kid opening a box in the dark filmed with a potato...but hopefully the results will be a bit more worthwhile.

If you don't want to wait for my review, there are some affiliated links below.

 

UPDATE - The Mini 0806 was faulty and has been sent back for a refund.

I've really lost confidence in this particular camera now. I received a pre-production model in October 2014 direct from the manufacturer that never worked properly (it wouldn't auto start recording)... so I felt that it wouldn't be appropriate to make a video about it. However the model that arrived yesterday was the final retail version bought from an ebay store. It wouldn't receive power or GPS data from the new mount supplied with it or the mounts from my pre-production version. This confirmed the fault was with the camera and not the mount. I checked the wiring and saw no obvious issues. I also noticed that the buttons and case felt a lot cheaper than those on the pre production version I received last year and the rotating mount was difficult to move.  I did successfully update the firmware on it to the 16th January 2015 version which suggests to me that the camera wasn't a fake even though it felt and acted like one. 

Well that's one less thing to test, just the SJ5000+ to work on now.

Sunday
Jan112015

The HTC RE -view

One of my more popular videos of 2014 was a review of the Polaroid Cube camera. The HTC RE appears to be aimed at the same audience as the Cube. It's a hard device to categorise, it's not really an action camera but it has a wide angle lens, can be attached to a bike and record rain or shine for 90 mins on one charge. Now whilst the Cube just recorded video or stills, the HTC RE ups the feature list by including WiFi, slow motion and timelapse. The extra features packed in the RE result in it costing more than the Cube and it's up to you to decide whether these features are worth the price premium. Watch the video below for the full review.

The slow motion feature whilst fun doesn't produce the sharpest results and the timelapse mode requires the camera to be paired via wifi to a smartphone app - but it can be disconnected once recording has started. I've never been a fan of smartphone app controlled devices - I find them to be a hassle to connect up, so it's a shame that the timelapse mode can't be accessed without the app.

I'm glad that companies like HTC are trying out new concepts and designs. For some people the HTC RE will be a very handy mini camera, it is definitely not for everyone, but it's clearly not supposed to be.

I enjoyed using the HTC RE, and I plan on featuring the timelapse feature again in a future video, once the weather has improved a bit.

DOWNLOADABLE CLIPS
I have uploaded some sample videos and photos - these are avaliable here. Do not stream these as this downgrades the quality - you need to download the clips and then play them back from your computer to see their true original quality. 
  
PURCHASING
I imported my camera from the US via ebay, but it's now officially available in the UK so you can buy the camera and accessories from the official HTC store. 
 
There are links below if you prefer to buy the HTC RE camera from Amazon.
 

  

Thursday
Jan012015

Zmodo Outdoor Night-vision WiFi IP Camera

I thought I'd mix things up a bit and start looking at some new IP cameras this year. Modern IP cams are often capable of transmitting HD video over wireless-N Wi-Fi and this has piqued my interest in this segment. So in amongst the dash-cams, action-cams, vanity projects that hardly anyone watches and my other flights of fancy, I'll be throwing in the occasional IP camera review. 

Since this is a relatively new segment for me, I'm still working out the best way to showcase features, so videos like the one below may be a bit rough around the edges, but with each new camera I test I hope to learn a bit more about what features are important and which can be ignored. 

This video is about the Zmodo ZP-IBI13-W camera. I got this for £59 in a December deal on ebay. It now appears that I bought an end-of-line model as the current Zmodo Outdoor WiFI QR cams have received a slight facelift and come with a new ball-joint mounting system. I expect the performance of the newer cameras will be the same or better than the model reviewed here. 

Below are some purchasing links for the current Zmodo range.

EBAY (Click a Country)  UK   US   DE   AU   NL  

   (UK Amazon Price is Crazy! - use ebay links instead)

Saturday
Dec202014

Six Things of Christmas - 2014 Holiday Special

For 6 days before Christmas 2014, I uploaded a short video each day - the intention was to make a show-and-tell Advent calendar featuring interesting or unusual things that I'd bought via ebay.

Now that it's all over I can reveal the objects are:

1) David Niven's Signature on a Cheque from 1958

2) The Eumig C3R 8mm Cine Camera

3) A Nixie Tube Calculator - the Olympia CD401

4) The Planetron Space Age Radio & 8-Track Player

5) A Curta Model 1 Mechanical Portable Calculator

6) A Starwars Pachinko Machine.

   

   

The most viewed video is the first one by about 30% over any of the others  - which makes me think that this whole idea might have backfired and wound up most of the subscribers. However if you do plan on viewing any of these - I'd recommend number 5 - the Curta Calculator, it's probably the one that is best put together and features the most intersting gadget.

If you need to know about the theme tune - yes it's me playing on kazoos and trying to make a shambolic Christmas style intro. I thought it was funny - but it seems like I might be the only one. 

Sunday
Dec142014

Instant Photo Shoot-Out: Zink Printer vs Film Camera

I've wanted to try out the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 for a while now, so when I saw a deal on ebay that included the camera and film for 100 photos I decided it was finally time to buy one. A few days of testing revealed that the pictures it produced were a much less impressive than I anticipated, so I then bought an LG PD239 ZINK printer, to see if that was any better. 

You can see the results in the video below. 

If you do decide to buy either of these, I found the best deals were on ebay, and whilst the company I used quickly sold out of their stocks of both devices, it's worth waiting for the special offers or bundles that turn up from time to time.

LG PD 239 Portable Bluetooth ZINK Printer

Ebay links (click a country) US UK DE AU NL 

Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Camera

Ebay links (click a country) US UK DE AU NL

Monday
Dec082014

Want the Nintendo New 3DS now - then buy one. 

I'm never one to wait if there is an alternative, so rather than hang on until its offical unspecified 2015 UK release date I've imported the Nintendo New 3DS-XL.

Now whilst I'm unable to properly demonstrate the amazing improvement in the persistence of the 3D effect I can give a quick tour of the machine and run a few benchmarks against the old model, so watch the video below if you want to see more.

I should mention though, that the 3D effect is incredible. I've seen all sorts of 3D tech over the years, and I own 3D cameras a 3D TV, projector, etc, etc but the New 3DS totally blew me away.  It's leaps and bounds ahead of the old model, but you'll only know really what I'm talking about when you see with your own eyes, so if you do get the opportunity to try one, make sure you take it.

If you are in the UK and want to buy New 3DS (that name really isn't the best idea ever) - I really don't see any reason to hang around until the official release. I imagine that the current ebay prices for the imported models won't be too dissimilar to the store price when it eventually does come out here.

There are three New 3DS models available. Click the links below to be directed to an ebay store with a good reputation. 

Buy one on ebay here

UPDATE: One thing that I've discovered since uploading this video. It is possible to play any Youtube 3D videos (R/L L/R O/U) by going to the Youtube website using the new browser (rather than using the old Youtube App) and it works amazingly well.