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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
Nov232013

Vico TF2+ Dash-Cam Night Mode is really something to see.

The TF2+ is the second of two cameras sent to me by Vico, the other was their WF-1. This model is a more traditional design of dashcam and despite being the cheaper of the two models, its video performance is amongst the best of any camera I've tested. When night comes this camera really stands out from the crowd with the best low-light video I've seen in a dash-cam.

Downloadable Samples

Buying Links

Ebay UK

Ebay US

Wednesday
Nov132013

OK so I bought a "1080p" Dash-Cam for £30.

Not much to say about this one, other than I bought this fully expecting the worst, whilst also hoping to be pleasantly surprised. See how I got on in the video.

 

This is a shorter to-the-point video format I'm trying out for products that don't warrant the normal full in-depth treatment that decent products get. When I start testing something that turns out to be a dud, rather than bin it (or subject it to the sledgehammer of justice) - I may try to knock out a quick no-frills video like this instead.

You can buy this camera HERE (if you've lost your marbles).

 

Sunday
Nov102013

SVC200 is the best £100 action camera I've found (So far).

***UPDATE - Now available for £25****

 

I think I've come out ahead in the great ebay crap-shoot this year. In amongst the usual dross, I've picked up some excellent cameras, the Mobius, SJ1000, Mini 0801 and I now can add the TCL SVC200 to that prestigious list. 

This is the best action camera I've found in the £100 price bracket,UPDATE - now £25! and I don't believe I've tested another action camera at any price that can outperform it when it comes to video quality, and that's mostly down to the SVC200's unusually high 18Mbps data rate.

My full review is below - and below the embedded video you'll find the downloadable clips and buying links.

 

I've uploaded some clips to PCloud. You can access those here: SAMPLE CLIPS

You can BUY ONE USING THE LINKS BELOW:

ebay(US) (US Sellers are calling this camera the Coleman Conquest)

ebay (UK)

Amazon US 

Amazon UK

  

Saturday
Nov022013

The Amazing Solar Powered Nixie Watch

If you’ve read my blog for a while you’ll know that I like unusual digital clocks. One of the more interesting things I saw while on holiday this year was the clock tower in St Mark’s Square, Venice which displays the time digitally in Roman Numerals.  I had assumed that digital clocks were a relatively modern invention, but this clock's mechanism dates back to 1857.

I always enjoy expanding my knowledge, and that’s why when a chap called Michel from Australia got in touch and asked me if I’d like to make a video about his new Solar Powered Single-Tube Nixie watch, I jumped at the chance. 

Michele, like myself, is a one-man operation but that’s where the similarity ends because his skills far exceed anything I can comprehend. Being able to design and manufacture something as complicated and intricate as a solar powered nixie tube watch requires an exceptional set of skills developed over many years and Michele tells me that he has been working with electronics since he was about five years old.

 

If you are interested in buying the Kopriso Mi Esposita watch or just want to learn more, you’ll find some useful links below. (Michel is based in Australia and therefore some prices shown may be in Australian Dollars).

Here is Michel’s ebay page - his watches will go on sale here as and when he makes any more.

Here is a link to an old completed auction (to give you a bit more info).

Here is a link to his Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/nixiewatch (Lots of info here)

Oh and if you want to see more of those crazily expensive and eccentric watches I mentioned at the start of the video - the Unique Watch Guide is the site to visit.

 

Looking for Ready-made Nixie clocks? 

Here are two ebay sellers with comprehensive ranges 

Mr NeonTube Nixie Clocks

Numitronix Nixie Clocks

Any of these clocks would make an excellent and unusual Christmas gift.

 

Monday
Oct212013

Vico WF-1 WiFi Car Dashcam with Smartphone App Control

I usually prefer car cameras without a screen because they are easier to hide and are less enticing to car thieves. Even when I test a camera that has an LCD screen, I'll end up installing it behind the rear-view mirror where the screen can't be seen anyway. One problem with the screen-less cameras though, is how to configure the settings, or play back footage when you are away from a computer (as you usually are when in your car). The Vico WF-1 avoids these limitations by connecting via Wi-Fi to it's own custom smartphone application.

The camera has a few other unusual features, but you'll need to watch the video to find out about these.

PURCHASING LINKS

If you want to buy one of these cameras - the current prices are approx £200 GBP or $280 USD. The links below have been recommended by the Manufacturer (who also kindly supplied my review sample).

EBAY UK

EBAY US

DOWNLOADABLE SAMPLES

CLICK HERE - for the downloadable samples. 

UPDATE: As soon as I uploaded the review someone posted in the comments to tell me that there is a new firmware for this camera that promises improved nighttime recording, and the ability to switch the LED off. I'll update my camera and report back with my findings.

13 November NEW VIDEO - Demonstrating the new firmware and the improved low light performance. 

UPDATE 14 February 2014.

Vicovation have been in touch to advise they have added a new feature where a smartphone connected WF-1 can automatically upload clips to a free cloud service called Pushcam when the emergency button is pressed. I haven't tested this..but if you can figure out how it works, you may find this useful.  

 

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.