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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

 

 
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
Drift Ghost X

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
Dec232012

Christmas Surprise - GoPro Hero3 White Review (Coming soon).

Yes - I know I said that I'd never review the GoPro because there was no point, everyone already knows that it's the best action camera. Well in a U-turn worthy of a politician, my next video will be an action camera comparison featuring the GoPro Hero3 (White) in a head-to-head battle against the Sony AS10. I'll explain the reasons behind my change of mind in the review. 

Unfortunately I've realised today though that I'm not going to be able get this video finished this side of Christmas. The bad weather in the UK over the last couple of weeks has delayed shooting and currently my rough-cut of this review is still over an hour long and is missing a few sections. 

I'll therefore be spending all the time I can find over the holiday period to get this review completed as soon as I can. It probably wont come as too much of a surprise to regular readers/viewers to find that my favourite camera of the two is probably not the one that most people will end up choosing.

In the meantime - all I can do is wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a gadget filled new year.

Mat ™Techmoan.com

Thursday
Dec132012

Rechargeable Hand Warmers (Winter 2012 update)

Just a quick video about rechargeable hand wamers. You may decide that you prefer the more readily available lighter-fuel powered Zippo Hand Warmers. After all having something in your pocket that's on fire is always going to be cool.....and hot.

Battery powered devices do have some things in their favour though. For exampe, they can easily be switched off and recharged from an office PC ready for the journey home, and you wont get far trying to charge your phone with lighter fuel (at least not until fuel cell chargers become readily available anyway).

I should have mentioned that these hand warmers take a good few hours to charge up (a full morning or afternoon) and they take about 5 minutes to reach their maximum temperature. I've been very glad of these in recent weeks...it's just a pity I can't find a similar piece of technology that could unblock my head before I recorded this video voiceover. 

 

You can buy the Blue one here and the red one here. There are also other colours available if you have a search around on ebay.

Saturday
Dec082012

A Cheap Mini HD Car Dash-Cam with GPS

My Car DVR reviews are usually quite popular, but with so many models available and a limited amount of time and money to allocate to them, I have to choose which ones I'm going to review very carefully. To catch my eye a dash-cam must offer something that sets it apart from the crowd.

The stand-out features of this particular camera are that it is both affordable and small,  but is it a bargain or is it just cheap and nasty? Decide for youself after watching the video below.

 

The auction I used is no longer live - CLICK THIS LINK for possible sellers.

MORE INFO - 

The camera is 74mm long and 28 mm in diameter. It weighs 1.48oz / 42g (without cables).

Someone wanted me to explain how to format a card without using the onscreen menus. Well the easiest way is to put a card into is that is formatted as NTFS. When the camera is switched on a Menu comes on screen that says "Card not Formatted - Format Yes/NO" - To choose Yes press the down arrow once then press the centre button. It takes about a minute or two to format the card. After that you can power it down. It should now work as normal - however you really need a video cable to be able to alter any of the other menu settings. The card format is identified by my PC as FAT.

The other small camera mentioned earlier in the video can be found on ebay by

Thanks to John in the comments who discovered that they do make a model with a 12V plug on it - I've now ordered the

UPDATE - 25 Dec 2012

Download Sample Day & Night Clips Here (If you really want)

The original AVI files were all too long. Unfortunately my video trimming program (MPEG Streamclip) refused to handle the original .avi files so I've had to convert then to .mp4. This has had no effect on the quality though. 

Sunday
Dec022012

Henge Docks Clique - Apple Bluetooth Keyboard and Trackpad holder

I've got three video review projects on the go at the moment and all of them seem to be getting increasingly more complicated each day. So to give myself a break, I've decided to create a quick and easy video instead. 

This is a video about a simple product that does it's job perfectly. The Clique from Henge Docks. It's an Apple Bluetooth Keyboard and Magic Trackpad holder. In my opinion it's an essential purchase for anyone who is planning on using a Mac Mini as a HTPC. It's the closest thing possible to an Apple made all-in-one HTPC keyboard and trackpad. 

Now back to editing those other more difficult videos…perhaps there is a video reviewers equivalent of writers block?

Saturday
Dec012012

The Winners of the ACase Superleggera Pro iPhone 5 Cases

Congratulations to the three lucky winners of the ACase iPhone 5 cases. 

The winners are;

cuddles6938
argentinadrivers
prt1667

I hope you like your case (even if you got the pink one), I'll be in touch with each of you via email.
Thanks to everyone who entered, and I'm sorry for those who missed out this time.
I'm off to do some more editing/filming....I'll try to get a new video out this weekend.

 

Sunday
Nov252012

Heads-Up! Here's a HUD that plugs into your car's OBD socket.

It's good to review a category of device that I haven't looked at before, and whilst there probably is no reason why anyone would need a Head Up Display in their car, it's still quite a fun (but quite expensive) gadget.

Concept cars have featured HUDs for years now, but there are some less exotic vehicles already on the market that are fitted with these, most commonly to show the speedo. I'd be interested to find out how the manufacturers resolved the double-image issue that I experienced with this device. I assume that most would use an angled piece of perspex or a reflective sheet…but it's something that I'll need to look into. If anyone reading this has a car with an HUD, please let me know how well it's implimented.

If you do want to purchase the Actisafety ASH 3, it is  for about £90

Technical details abut this review (people might ask - so I'm pre-empting the question)

This was a difficult one to shoot because of all the low light footage. You will notice a lot of blocking and grain in some shots taken inside the garage. The blocking gets added when I render out the finished video from iMovie (it looks fine during editing).  I've tried using different bit rates and formats without any success.  My camera also didn't like focussing on a reflected object on a windscreen in the dark….normally this would be a good thing, but on this occasion, that's exactly what I wanted to do. The cameras used were as follows. The Sony HX100V for the product shots. The moving in-car night footage was shot with the Koonlung Wired Bullet Camera, and the parked-up night footage was an iPhone 5.

Sunday
Nov182012

iPhone 5 Cases from ACase and Tech21

A quick look at a couple of cases for the iPhone 5, the ACase Superleggera Pro  and the Tech21 Impact Snap Case with Cover.

It's a bit of a shame to cover up the iPhone 5 with a case, but if you want to protect it then it's an unfortunate necessity. I saw Jerry Seinfeld mocking his friend's use of an iPhone case in 'Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee', suggesting that he might as well walk around wearing a protective helmet too, which did make me smile, but Seinfeld could afford to buy a new iPhone whenever he wants, whereas most people are not so fortunate.

I did try using my phone commando-style for a couple of weeks but that meant that I was reluctant to put it in the same pocket as my car keys, and as the other pocket of my jeans barely holds my wallet, this was not a sustainable situation.

There was a Kickstarter project for a case similar to the one from Tech21 but with the addition of a magnetically closing flap, unfortunately it didn't get funded. I doubt I'll ever find the perfect case, if such a thing could even exist, but I'm going to keep looking.

These are just two of many iPhone 5 cases already on the market, and countless more will no doubt launch over the coming months, but I think that it is very unlikely that I'll revisit these in the form of another video, they aren't really interesting enough things to talk about.

Buying links (Ebay searches)

 

COMPETITION

I'm going to give away the three Superleggera iPhone 5 cases from ACase shown in the video. If you want a chance at winning one of these then here is what you have to do.

1) Subscribe to my channel on Youtube.

2) Using the 'Contact Me' form (over on the right) send me a message with the subject "ACase Competition" and in the message just put your youtube username, nothng else.

On the 1st December 2012 I'll pull out three usernames and contact you on the email address you have provided to organise delivery. (Yes this prize draw is open to any of my subscribers around the globe).

Colours will be allocated at random...so I apologise in advance to the person who gets the pink one...you will both win and lose at the same time.

Good luck. 

Sunday
Nov182012

The Tiltpod - is that a tripod in your pocket...?

I really appreciate clever little products like the Tiltpod and I think that it's the kind of thing that would make for a good stocking filler this Christmas. Mine were sent directly from the US, from the Manufacturers Gomite - they seem to ship to most countries However the best price for UK buyers currently seems to be from Amazon UK....link below.  

Tiltpod on Amazon.co.uk

 

It's a shame that the Tiltpod Mobile wouldn't fit my iPhone 5 but I won't be holding my breath waiting for a version for the iPhone 5 because I don't think there will be enough of a border at the side of the screen to secure the holder without it getting in the way of the display.

UPDATE 20 Nov 2012- Good news....Gomite have confirmed to me today that they are working on a new iPhone 5 compatible version of the Tiltpod.

Sunday
Nov112012

Carry Speed Advanced Camera Sling Strap System

You know what's better than being sent something for free....getting something that you'd gladly have purchased yourself. It was only last month that I spent an hour or so searching around on the net for a better quality replacement for my current bargain-basement camera sling strap. In the end I couldn't find what I wanted at the right price so I gave up.  

It seems like someone was reading my mind, because a few days later, out of the blue I get an email asking me if I want to test out a couple of sling straps from a company called Carry Speed. I went on their website to see what this company was about. Not being a professional photographer, their site was rather really confusing to me. There seemed to be far too many configuration choices to make. I wrote back to suggest that they may want to reconsider sending me their review samples as I didn't think I was sufficiently knowledgeable about photography, and didn't even own a DSLR. They decided to send them anyway....so here is the video I made.

 

You can buy Carry Speed Sling Straps from a few places, but I think the best option might be to buy them from the Carry Speed website. That way you can get the exact configuration you want. Just remember it's easiest to start by choosing how you want to attach the strap to the camera and then work your way up from there. 

Friday
Nov022012

The Philips In.Sight WiFi camera vs Techmoan

I'm a fan of Philips and their Sense and Simplicity design philosophy.  Their product aesthetics share a lot of the same simple but smart design elements seen in the best Braun, Ikea and yes, even Apple products. Many of Philips neat and sleek designs wouldn't look out of place on the set of a futuristic science fiction movie. 

I'm always looking for the next thing to review. One good place for me to look for suitable candidates is in the third party accessories section of an Apple store. The space available here is rather limited and therefore I would assume the products that make it into this exclusive club are in some way a step above the norm. To get into the Apple stores I would guess that a product's aesthetics must be a good compliment to the official Apple product range, and secondly I assume that they must be easy to use.

I make this second assumption based on the fact that the Apple stores provide product support for the items they sell. Whether this product support officially extends to non-Apple branded accessories I don't know, but I would imagine that their friendly staff would be reluctant to refuse help to any of their customers for whatever reason.

Anyway with these things in mind I happened across the Phillips In.Sight in an Apple store. It was available in two packs. A single camera version for £99 or a dual camera pack for £179. The obvious Apple connection was the fact that the camera used its own Philips IOS InSight App to view the camera's feed (Android app also available). I was intrigued to see how Philips had managed to make a WiFi camera that could be easily setup by a novice, because I.P. cameras can be a nightmare to set up. If you don't know what port-forwarding is, how to manually set up static IPs and what a DNS server is,  then usually it's better to steer well clear of them, unless you want to spend hours tearing your hair out, something which I can ill afford to do.

£99 is quite expensive for a fixed lens camera when you consider that the cheaper Foscam camera I reviewed also has excellent night vision and as it's motorised, you can control its position remotely. I can however make a calculated guess as to where Philips have spent their money. Beyond the branding and high street presence, the other costs must be swallowed up by a subscription to the streaming go-between Yoics. This is the company that Philips are using to facilitate their easy set-up external streaming. This would explain why the two camera set is better value than the single camera…a proportion of the cost of that first camera will likely be getting forwarded to Yoics for their services. The convenience of the 'easy set-up' of this camera comes at a not inconsiderable cost to your pocket.

I can now understand why you have to pay an extra fee for the ability to stream over  3G for periods longer than 5 minutes. You aren't just streaming directly from your house, you are pulling data from Yoics servers. There is one thing that I should have mentioned in the video. Streaming over 3G worked as well for me as the WiFi streaming did….but you'll need to watch the video to see if that is actually a good or a bad thing.

You can read about the In.Sight camera on Philips website here.

UPDATE - JANUARY 2013 - IT WORKS!!!!

Philips have updated their IOS app and everything works fine. I'll post another update soon - but rest assured it now works properly, like is should have all along.

Sunday
Oct282012

Using the 120º ACT20 Action Cam as a car DVR.

For a while now I've been hunting for a car DVR that's small enough to be hidden away. I don't like the idea of detaching something from my windscreen every time I park up...I'd much rather have a camera that could be installed and then forgotten about. 

Well one of the contributors to the site (apologies, but I've forgotten who) suggested that I should take another look at the ACT20 action camera because following a firmware update it is now able to function as a car DVR.

The ACT20 made for a pretty mediocre action camera, but perhaps it could redeem itself when repurposed as a car (or bike) DVR. I picked up a new 120º version and gave it another shot. Watch the video to find out how it fared.

I bought mine from

 

My full review of the original 60º ACT20 camera can be found at the link beow.

http://www.techmoan.com/blog/2011/6/21/the-act20-action-camera.html