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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

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
Jan302011

The £34 HD Media Player

Sometimes you can get a bargain from HK and this is an example. Amazingly this tiny cheap unbranded black box is capable of playing full HD 1080p videos. Even more surprising is the fact that it will down-mix DTS soundtracks into stereo so they can be played back in stereo via an HDMI lead on a normal TV and this is something that my old Popcornhour NMT A-100 media player couldn't do. 

I currently use Boxee on my Mac Mini or my Revo 3610 for viewing MKVs  - so I only bought this box to test it out. I already have someone who is waiting to take this device off my hands. It's exactly what he needs - he doesn't care about network streaming and doesn't have an AV system and therefore is unable to decode DTS soundtracks. Until recently he was viewing MKV videos on his PS3 - splitting them into two halves so they would fit within the 4gb limit of the FAT file format the PS3 supports and also re-muxing the sound from DTS into AC3. Its definitely worth £34 for him to avoid all that hassle. 

I ordered my media box before Christmas and turned up in January.  If you want to order one of these yourself - it came from DEALEXTREME.COM and the SKU (product number) is 50567 (type this into their search box to find it yourself.

 

Tuesday
Jan252011

Possibly my most useless video yet (unless you own a Mini)....

I found when I went looking at cars inside a dealer showroom that they all seemed easier to get into than my car at home. I realised that the cars I tried all had their windows wound down, so I went home and tried to get into my car with the windows down and found that it made it a lot easier. The difficulty was finding how to wind them back up from outside the car. When I figured it out I had the idea to post this video for a while but was a bit apprehensive in case everyone were to say that they knew this already, that it was obvious and made me look daft.

In the end I made this video for a couple of reasons. Firstly because I think that this tip might be actually useful to a handful of people across the world (but only a handful). Secondly I am testing a camcorder out.

Sanyo have been kind enough to lend me a Xacti VPC-CS1. I am currently collating some footage for a review and I thought what better idea than to create another youtube video using the camera itself. That way I can see how the Xacti HD footage works with iMovie. 

So unless you own a BMW Mini and regularly park it in a narrow space this video probably won't be of use to you - unless perhaps you instead want to see how the Xacti VPC-CS1 copes in the low light conditions inside my garage.

Full Sanyo Xacti VPC-CS1 review coming in a week or two....

 

 

 

 

Friday
Dec312010

Car DVR Review part 2

In a bit of a departure I've made a 'part 2' to a video review. I've included a demonstration of a few features that I missed out in part one,  a comparison with the DVR D011 and shot some night footage. I think I've exhausted this camera now - and there might be a bit of a break before I post up my next video. I hope everyone has a happy new year.

 

Tuesday
Dec282010

TRITTON AX PRO Gaming Headphones with 5.1 Surround Sound 

On Christmas eve the postman braved the snow to deliver me an early present. It was a parcel from a new website called Gamingzap.com (the latest venture from the people behind Gearzap.com).  The parcel contained what must be one of the most expensive gaming headsets available for the PS3 or 360, the £145 Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound, Tritton AX Pro

Reviewing audio equipment is particularly difficult because as a potential buyer, you really need to audition it yourself to make your own mind up. So with that in mind I put together a video giving an overview of the product that is more based on facts than personal opinion. I will say that the headset did sound very good to me. I've owned plenty of decent headphones over the years and these were as good as any I've tried. They are definitely a big step up over the standard 360 or PS3 headsets for sound quality as well as comfort.

The surround effect is definitely present and is considerably better than a normal stereo image. The soundstage isn't as clearly defined as it is with a multi-speaker system, but it is amazing that you can get this level of surround from a set of headphones. I'd recommend these to people who take gaming very seriously and want all the best kit. I should also mention for non-gamers that these are good for watching films late at night without waking up the rest of the family.

It's good that console gamers can finally get their hands on some pro gaming equipment, this was a segment of the accessory market that for too long catered solely to PC gamers.

Make sure you check Gamingzap out and have a look at their range of gaming accessories for 360, PS3 and PC at prices to suit all budgets.

This is their preferred link >>> Xbox Headset

 

Sunday
Dec262010

Car Windscreen HD Video Camera Review

I've made another video review - this time for a purpose built car camera. People who drive professionally (taxi drivers, truckers etc) like the idea of using a camera to capture accident evidence to use for insurance purposes. Others think that they may just capture something that could end up being used on the news or posted to youtube - whatever the reason, a demand definitely exists for a good cheap dashboard camera, watch the video to see if this camera does the job. ... Incidentally what do you think this particular type of camera should be called - car dash camera, windscreen/windshield camera, accident camera, incident camera, Car DVR? I think we should decide on a standard name for these kind of products to make searching easier.

Tuesday
Dec072010

Rechargeable Hand Warmer

A very seasonal, brief, and I'll admit largely uninformative review of a rechargeable hand warmer. There are a couple of reasons why I put this video together. a) To show that I'm still around & b) To inform people that such a product category actually exists. It is very unlikely anyone would go searching for a rechargeable hand warmer without knowing that you could actually buy one. 

This is the first video I've done where I've overdubbed the narration with my new Samson Go Mic and I think it sounds fine. The Go Mic is the cheapest Condenser USB microphone I could find.

I needed a separate mic as my Macbook's inbuilt one kept picking up the sound of the fan (jet engine?) going into overdrive whenever I played back an HD video clip for overdubbing. I kept having to stop whilst it cooled down. The last time I made a video I had to sit the Macbook on a bed of ice packs from the freezer and after that I decided that enough was enough. I think I made the right decision.

For those who are interested in Car Cameras - I've just had a delivery from HK today of a new HD, Motion Activated car camera. I'll be testing this one out over the Christmas break and will endeavour to get the full in-depth review out before New Year.

Anyway..... hand warmer video 'review' below.

Friday
Nov052010

Hard Candy iPad Stylus and Pen

I've been making youtube videos for some time now - some of my clips get 200,000 views and others get just a few hundred. I appreciate any views because I know that my videos are competing for attention against thousands of clips of people getting hit in the crotch - and that's pretty tough competition.

Therefore I was surprised when someone from Gearzap got in touch after seeing my video review of their iPad Keycase folio case. They asked if I'd like to review a new deluxe iPad stylus pen they'd just got in, I said that I'd love to,  and the next day it turned up in the post.

There are a number of models of iPad Stylus available from Gearzap - but the Hard Candy Stylus and Pen they sent to me is the most luxurious stylus I've seen. It comes in at a premium price of £30, but the build quality, weight and stylish design all exude class. I have tried a mini Pogo Stylus before and really wasn't impressed - it seemed to require a lot of pressure and the rubber tip was rather inaccurate. The Hard Candy stylus feel exactly like it should. 

 

It might help that my iPad has a matt screen protector applied to it - the slightly rough surface of the protector feels more like paper and causes the stylus to drag less than smooth glass would. I suggest everyone gets a matt screen protector whether you are getting a stylus or not. You can see the difference it makes in reducing glare compared to my bare iPhone screen in the picture below.

-  and of course I should mention that Gearzap also sell anti glare screen protectors in their iPad accessories selection.


The full video review is below,

Thursday
Nov042010

Voice Activated Remote Control

Ten or so years ago I bought a voice activated remote control from a Brookstone store whilst on holiday in the US. It didn't work and if I remember correctly, a button had to be pressed before each command was spoken - negating any the point of having free voice activation  

Well enough time has gone by for things to improve significantly and I've decided to revisit voice activated remote control by testing out the Voice Me from Hotech.

A couple of things that I should have pointed out in the video is that I reviewed a Version 1 model. This can only recognise one voice but the Voice Me II can be trained to respond to up to four voices. 

The full review is below - but there is one overwhelming and not unsurprising thing that I learned whilst testing this. In films and on TV, speaking to an imaginary computer looks cool. Even in home automation demos it looks like a good idea, 'close curtains', 'heating up 2 degrees', ' dim lights 20%'. However in reality speaking commands out loud looks and sounds pretty ridiculous. Picture the scene, you are sat on the couch with your partner, he/she says 'lets watch a film'. You say 'OK that sounds like a good idea' then proceed to shout out a string of commands into the room'.  It would be much quicker and a lot less disruptive to just silently press a few buttons on a remote control.

Anyway, I'm really not sold on the idea - but you can make your own mind up...video below.

 

Friday
Oct222010

G200 Mini Video Camera Review

I bought another Mini Video camera purely for review purposes. This one cost me quite a bit more than some of the other cameras I'd reviewed and I therefore hoped that the money had been well spent. Initial impressions were great, and my confidence in the device grew as a result of the solid build quality, good packaging and professional instructions. The promise of wide angle HD Video at 1280x960 was the icing on the cake - could this be the best mini video camera yet? 

You'll have to watch the video review to see if the G200 lives up to expectations.

 

Wednesday
Sep222010

Keycase iPad Folio Case with integrated Bluetooth Keyboard

This is the best iPad Folio Style Case with Integrated Bluetooth keyboard available today. It's also currently unique. There is, however no reason why another manufacturer couldn't release a cheaper alternative with a much better keyboard tomorrow. By next year there might be half a dozen of these things on the market.

I'm not normally the kind of person who is happy waiting patiently for the next iteration of product. However if you have more willpower than myself, I suggest you might want to wait it out for another couple of months so that you at least have something to compare this against.  I believe that a more suitable price for these keyboard cases would be £40-£50 and I think we'll see the current prices moving downwards pretty quickly. I'm also confident that another manufacturer can put together a better keyboard than the one built into this case. 

If however you can't wait, then this keyboard works fine and it's more comfortable and quicker than banging away on the screen for long periods of time. In fact last week I typed a thousand-word report on it, something I'd never consider attempting on the iPad on screen keyboard.

As a footnote I'm always amazed at the anti iPad vitriol on the net. When I don't want to buy a product I don't try and rubbish it, I just ignore it. The reader-posted comments about this keyboard on the various gadget sites seem so angry and judgemental. The most common comment was based around the idea that if you want to buy this case then you should have bought an Netbook instead. I don't want a netbook. I want a 10" iOS device together with an occasional keyboard for those times I need to travel for work and write up reports in my hotel room. This case, or something like it, is exactly what I need.

It was purchased from Gearzap here in the UK - Product link here.

Gearzap also have some other interesting accessories for the iPad (including other more traditional bluetooth and folding keyboards) - check them out, they are friendly people to deal with.

I paid the full retail price for my keyboard - £60.

My video review is below.

Sunday
Sep192010

The Hamburger Speaker (it's garbage).

A month or so ago I made the mistake of buying a cheap knock-off version of the X-Mini Capsule speaker which went by the name of the Hamburger speaker. The Hamburger's 'improvement' over the original official X-Mini speaker was that it incorporated a built-in MP3 player….it's a one-stop party in your pocket!

I unpacked it in front of the video camera with the intention of putting together a video review. Unfortunately It soon became apparent that the Hamburger speaker was complete and utter rubbish. I forgot about putting the review together and the video footage was stored away into a folder. 

Just today I ordered the official XMI X-Mini II speaker for £14 from Play.com (it's in their sale) and this reminded me about my poor experience with the Hamburger speaker.  I worried that without an impartial review to watch, someone else might make the mistake of wasting their money on the Hamburger rather than buying the X-mini II.

So in the interest of trying to help people avoid wasting their money too - I've resurrected the Hamburger video, edited it together and and present it here for you as a cautionary tale. Not all cheap things are bargains, sometimes they are just cheap.