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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%! 

 
Saturday
Oct192013

Sony MDR-1RBT Premium Bluetooth Headphones

I decided I wanted to get some good quality headphones. I was also determined that this should be the last pair I'll have to buy for the foreseeable future, and therefore I was prepared to pay a bit more than usual. Over the last few years I've spent a lot of money buying half a dozen different sets of earphones and headphones...most of which still work, but for some reason I no longer like. This time I'm going to choose more carefully and I now finally know what I want. I've gone off in-ear buds, I'm cheesed off with wires and I don't care whether I look like a lunatic any more. So therefore...it's time to get a big ol' set of bluetooth headphones.

After a bit of research (you won't find a better online resource for headphone reviews and advice than Head-Fi.org) I've found that there are a only a couple of pairs of bluetooth headphones that people really recommend. I then spent some time hunting these down in shops so I could try them on and in the end whittled my selection down to one...the Sony MDR-1RBT.

Now I'm aware that Bluetooth headphones are not the best way to listen to music, but more often than not, I'm using these on a noisy train listening to podcasts of people talking. I'll be connected up to my iPad and will be either reading RSS feeds or answering emails. When I get to my destination the fact I'm wireless means I can pack my iPad in my rucksack and continue my journey on foot whilst still listening to the podcast. If I want to listen to music, Bluetooth usually sounds good enough, however if I attach the wire, the sound does get a tad richer and warmer, although it's not a massive difference.

These headphones reduce background noise significantly, but they don't completely block it, which is actually preferable for me as I like to maintain some awareness of what's happening around me. For example on a train I'll be able to tell that they are making an announcement, but I'll have to lift a cup off my ear to be able to understand it. The fact that these are over the ear headphones means that there is no sound leakage, but that also means that your ears can get warm in hot weather. 

Sony are also introducing a smaller and cheaper version of these headphones called the MDR-10RBT which sport an on-ear rather than over-ear design which might be more suitable for some and I'd imagine they will prevent your ears getting too hot. The new model also supports Apt-x for potentially even better wireless performance.

I bought my headphones when a high street store had a sale on and I also had a £50 off voucher. At the moment the best deals for UK buyers seem to be from Japan on ebay...but I'm concerned about the potential import duties. When it comes to buying high value items like this you would be better getting it from somewhere you know like Amazon.

 

UPDATE - I forgot to make any mention of the range. In my modesty sized two story house I can put my iPad in one room and the headphones will stream the sound to me in any other room in the house without breaking up. I've got plenty of other wireless devices operating, so that's pretty good going. 

Monday
Oct142013

1080p Waterproof Helmet Cam Disappoints (again).

My quest to find a decent cheap helmet camera with an accessible mic-in socket continues. As Alec Guinness once (never) said....'This isn't the helmet camera you are looking for'.

I receive a lot of data about each video I upload, which ones are popular, how many people bought the item I linked to and how many places have referred to or embedded the video. From this I have gathered that I am best concentrating on sub £100 cameras. Whenever the price exceeds this, people still watch the video out of curiosity, but very few go any buy the product itself. So whilst I may still review the occasional expensive camera that piques my curiosity, I'll concentrate mostly on cheaper cameras because that's what the majority of people are interested in.

Anyway the hunt for the perfect cheap helmet camera continues. I've already got another action/helmet camera in to test, and this one promises much, so I hope that it hits the mark. As winter approaches, suitable days to test these helmet cameras on the bike are becoming scarce...so after the next review, I'll may have to hang up my helmet and call off this hunt until the spring.

If you can see some merit in this particular camera that has passed me by, you can buy one from here.

 

Sunday
Oct062013

Monoprice MHD Action Camera Review

I've finally got around to reviewing the Monoprice MHD Action Camera.

I've found that my reviews of relatively common cameras like this, haven't been too well received recently, so in future I'll try to stick to testing cheaper lesser known alternatives.

By concentrating on reviewing untested products off ebay I'll get a lot more misses than hits, but every now and then I'll come across a gem like the Mobius or the SJ1000. I've found products like the Monoprice MHD to be a bit bland, it works exactly how I'd expect, to a mediocre standard and nothing more. There really is very little fun to be had in reviewing something that's so middle of the road. 

So after that big build-up, I present my Monoprice MHD Review.....

US buyers can get this from Monoprice, but in the UK - Amazon.co.uk is your best bet. The UK price at the time of typing is £72.42.

Tuesday
Oct012013

Mio MiVue 358 Car DVR Dash-Cam Review

This is a review of a car DVR (dash-cam) from Mio, a company whose car sat-nav devices you may be familiar with. I picked up one of their range of diminutive MiVue car cameras, watch the video to see how well it performed.
 
 
Purchasing Link
I managed to find my Mio MiVue 358 for sale on ebay for approx £86 ($140 USD).  
 
The camera is small and neat, but I'm not a fan of the suction cup mount, I'm concerned it could draw unwanted attention to a parked vehicle. If I were using this camera myself (something that I'm contemplating) I would need to find a different way to mount it. The video quality is good in all lighting conditions, sound is clear and the operation is simple and intuitive. If you are looking for an easy to use, quality dash-cam then the MiVue 358 should definitely be on your list.
 
Here are some downloadable sample clips (Includes Day, Night, 1080p & 720p).
 
I can imagine that a good proportion of the comments on youtube will relate to the motion-activated parking mode and ultimately it will be down to the individual to decide whether this feature would be useful or useless for them....but with a battery life of under an hour it's definitely got its limitations.
 
Tuesday
Oct012013

Accu-Chek Mobile - Compact Blood Glucose Meter for Diabetics

 

You may have heard someone say "I'd die if I lost my phone" which is a tad melodramatic, but when it comes to my blood glucose meter it's really not too far from the truth. 

It's very important for a Type 1 diabetic to know what their blood glucose level is...if it's allowed to get too high or too low, really bad things can happen. I'm not going to go into detail here, after all if you are a diabetic you'll already be all too aware of this and if you aren't, then you won't be interested. Needless to say though that whenever I get into a car to drive I need to know that I'm going to be able to safely operate the car without blacking out and my test meter gives me this vital information.

Since I carry my meter with me everywhere, the size is very important, the Accu-Chek mobile is the most compact all-in-one glucose meter I've found. 
Whenever a new headline about the rumoured Apple Smartwatch speculates about its ability to measure blood glucose, I sigh to myself. As much as I'd like a device that could constantly monitor my glucose level (indeed I'd probably pay £1000 for such a product) I know that measuring glucose requires blood or another body fluid or some kind of invasive probe. I can't just see Apple selling a watch that puts pins into your wrist any time soon. 
 
I try to keep up to date with any advances in this area, and know that there are numerous devices that promise to offer a better and easier way to test glucose, like swallowing a tiny sensor, or sticking one in your tear ducts. Unfortunately most of these are still stuck in clinical trials so at the moment the easiest and most common method is still to just prick a finger.
 
As I mentioned in the video, you can pick one of these up with a 50-test cartridge which should give you ample opportunity to decide whether it's suitable for you. A pack containing everything you need can be picked up from Amazon
 
A lot of people tend to stick with their test meter for years, but it's definitely worth trying newer devices because even in the world of diabetes, technology moves on pretty quickly. 

 

Sunday
Sep222013

Time-lapse fun with the DXG DVS-5K8 Action Camera

The Sport Action Camera (DXG DVS-5K8) is designed as a Waterproof Action Cam, but I gained the most enjoyment from experimenting with its excellent Time-lapse function.

Any time-lapse capable cameras I've used before just stored folders full of jpeg photos that then needed to be assembled frame by frame into a video. I did this on my Mac using Time Lapse Assembler. This laborious process is made difficult by file-naming conventions which often required foldera of jpeg files to be renamed and sorted before importing. The Helix makes creating long and complex time-lapse films something that anyone (with a bit of patience) can do. It also proved to be very reliable....I left my camera plugged in to a USB charger and recording the back garden for a full day at 5 second intervals. The camera captured everything from sunrise to sunset in a 700MB 1080p h.264 .avi file, and the most interesting thing that happened in that time was four visits from the same fat wood pigeon.

Outside of the time-lapse function the camera is a competent if not outstanding performer. The OLED screen is excellent and the video is sharp (in 1080p mode) but could be a little bit more vibrant and the mounting options would benefit immensely by incorporating a couple of tripod screw threads.

I consider the price of £105/$168 very reasonable for a 1080p action camera with an OLED screen, a wrist remote and a decent waterproof case. Remember to budget for a decent SD card as well  - you can see my recommendation on the right of this page.

UPDATE: This camera is now more common in it's WiFi guise - and this is sold as the Helix Sport Action Camera.

The links below are for the upgraded WiFi version (Originally known as the DXG DVS-5G9)

You can BUY ONE FROM HERE (UK LINK)

or HERE (US LINK)

The camera is made by DXG  and the Manufacturer's website is HERE

Here are my downloadable sample clips and photos  

(I've included some time-lapse videos).

Update 5/1/14 - Changed the title of the entry as everyone is now calling this the Helix Sport Action Camera.

Update 13/1/14 - Realised the Helix was the WiFi version, so changed the title back and editied the contents.

 

 

Wednesday
Sep182013

The Blue Mic Nessie USB Microphone

I recently switched to the Blue Mic Nessie to record my video voiceovers. I chose this particuar model because it had all the features I needed in a neat design at a sensible price.

If I were choosing a microphone based purely upon its style and build quality my old Samson Meteor microphone would win hands-down, but as you can witness in the video, the Blu Mic Nessie is the clear winner in the only category that really matters...sound quality.

I bought my Nessie for £100, which is also the current price in the UK Apple high street stores, however Amazon have a deal on (at the time of writing) at the even more reasonable price of £79.99 (or $99 in the US).

Buying links direct to the product page are below.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

You can read more info about the Nessie as well as the rest of the Blue Microphone range on the BlueMic website.

 

Monday
Sep092013

Chip-Making Kitchen Gadgets

I'm back in the kitchen trying out some gadgets that are geared towards preparing and cooking chips.

As usual I have mixed results - (the Pifco Potato-Twerker is particulary unusual) but I still manage to end up with a really good plate of chips. Despite the loss of most of my sense of taste (anosmia), I can still appreciate a good chip. They should be hot and crispy on the outside, dry, not greasy and soft in the middle and fortunately I can still taste the salt that I probably shouldn't put on them.

 

Being a Type 1 Diabetic for the last couple of years has meant that I had to switch away from a low carb diet to a high carb one. Each meal needs to have some form of 'stodge', bread, rice, pasta or potatoes, something that will be be digested slowly over time. I bought the Actifry to make healthier chips as Type 1 diabetics are a lot more prone to getting clogged-up arteries than a healthy person.  I can now have chips a couple of times a week with a meal without worrying about the fat content. 

If you want to buy any of the products shown the links are below. eBay links are only for for the UK. 

Actifry (Amazon US)  Actifry (Amazon UK) 

Pifco Peeler (eBay UK)  Spinning Peeler (eBay UK)  Chipper (eBay UK) 

Saturday
Sep072013

The Discovery HD - Demonstrating how good the SJ1000 & Mobius really are

When I reviewed the SJ1000, it was the cheapest action camera I had tested that produced decent HD video. Many of the comments about the SJ1000 have been from people who are understandably dissatisfied with its mounts or the fisheye lens. The Mobius camera is a great alternative which doesn't have these issues, but also doesn't have the SJ1000's LCD screen or waterproof case.  I therefore tried to find an alternative camera that met all the requirements.

As usual I trawled through the latest offerings from China for sale on ebay. Now, years ago many of the 'HD' cameras I picked up from China were just upscaled SD cameras, however after recently reviewing a series of cameras from China all of which produced decent HD video, I assumed that the days of being mislead by dishonest specs were behind me....I was wrong.

This video isn't a proper review. It very nearly got scrapped, but I've quickly cobbled this together to demonstrate why buying a camera from ebay can still be a game of Russian Roulette.

Now I don't like throwing £60 away any more than the next man, but I do get some satisfaction from knowing that by 'taking one for the team' and making a video about it I may have helped some other people to avoid repeating my mistake.

Sometimes the videos I make are to spread the word about things I've found, sometimes they are just for fun and then other times they show what to avoid. This video is supposed to fit into the latter two categories. I'm expecting a few people will be upset about the fate of the camera, but it was going in the bin anyway. Every now and then people ask me to send them things I've reviewed but are not using any more. I'm not in the mail-order business and dislike trips to the post office, so this is not happening. Besides, you really would be better off trying to record your videos with a potato than using this camera. 

Mics - I was testing out the Lavalier Mic on this one, because I knew it wouldn't be a full length review. I'm not happy with the way it sounds when I'm talking through the close up macro work - too thin and too much echo. Therefore in future I'm only going to use this mic very sparingly...if at all, I'll stick to doing the voice-overs with my new USB mic (review coming soon). 

Saturday
Aug312013

The Mini 0801 - Tiny 1080p GPS Car Camera with an LCD Screen

UPDATE 2014 - be sure to look at the New Improved 0803 Model HERE.

I finally have an answer for the people who ask me which Dashcam I use…. it's this one.

Up until this point whenever I finished reviewing a car camera, I removed it from my car and boxed it up again. This is the first camera that's earned a permanant place on my windscreen.

There are a couple of reasons for this - firstly one thing that shouldn't be underestimated is the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). I may be perfectly happy to live with a big piece of electronics hanging from the windscreen - but it's not completely down to me. The truth is though that I'm just as unhappy with anything messing up the car, however another more important concern is theft. Leaving an expensive device like a BlackVue camera in the windscreen is just not a good idea. To the average drug addict looking in car windows for something  to fund his next fix, you may as well have just left £50 on the passenger seat. However I'll be damned if I'm going to install and remove a camera every time I go for a short drive to the shops, I know that after a while I would get fed up doing it and leave it under a seat, and of course that's when something would happen.

However all those concerns are behind me because I've finally got a small car camera that appears to perform as well as any of the large devices that I've tried but that can be discretely mounted in a car and forgotten about.

Just prior to this camera's arrival I was thinking about how to permanently install the Mobius camera in my car and I still think that this would be a good alternative option if you can find some way to mount it, but I find that the design of the Mini 0801 fits better with my requirements.

You can download Sample Clips HERE 

You have a choice of sellers, 

 

ebay options for UK buyers

ebay store in USA

Amazon US

Amazon UK

If you want to download the Windows only GPS Playback software I used in the video - here it is.

Friday
Aug232013

Audio Technica ATR3350 Lavalier Microphone

In the video I refer to this as a review, but that may be overselling it a bit, it's really just more of a quick product demonstration.

The ATR3350 must be one of the cheapest condenser Lavalier Microphones available and yet it still manages to sound better than the microphone that's built into my expensive new camera.
 
Unfortunately most cameras don't have the ability to use an external microphone, however if you are fortunate enough to own a camera with a 3.55 mini-jack mic-in socket, and you record live voice-overs, then this microphone is definitely one worth considering...especially when you consider its discounted price.
 
You can see the current price or BUY ONE using one of the links below: