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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%! 

 
Thursday
Aug042011

Jumbo 808 Micro HD Camera Review

I’ve decided to grab the bull by the horns and do something about the naming convention of these cameras because it’s getting out of hand….. let me explain.

If I were to go on Google with the intention of finding a review of the Sony HDR-TG7 camcorder, I’d search for “Sony HDR-TG7 Review” and amongst all the spam link-bait sites, I'd get some results that met with my requirements.

Unfortunately it's not as easy for people trying to find out information about this camera. The manufacturer goes by at least eight different names and they don’t have a homepage. The camera itself doesn’t even have a defined name. The previous model was known as the 808 #11 only because Chuck Lohr had been diligent enough to determine that it was the 11th Revision of the 808 camera. Versions 1-10 had varied resolutions between 640x480, 740x480 and upscaled 1280x960.

Version #11 of the 808 camera was the first one that recorded using the h264 .mov format in 1280x720. Prior to this model coming out, version #3 was generally considered the best one – but most of them had circuitry that was made by a number of different manufacturers incased in the same car keyfob case design.

This latest larger model has already been referred to as the Jumbo 808, the HD818, HD828, the V3 etc. So to make things easier for myself from now on I’m going to simplify things.  

I’m going to call all these mini cameras that use MicroSD and record in HD – “Micro HD Cameras” and I’m going to call the older camera the “808 #11” and this new one the “Jumbo 808”. Hopefully this will make things easier to undstand.

So with that said,  below is my review of the Jumbo 808 camera. I originally intended to just make a brief update – but in the end I decided upon making a full review. So if you’ve seen my 808 #11 review then you'll know most of this info already.

There are two important bits of information below that will hopefully pre-empt the majority of queries.

BUYING A JUMBO 808

Here is a link to Eletoponline 365’s Jumbo 808 Auctions on ebay UK - You will find the camera here.

SETTING THE TIME & DATE

                      &

FLASHING THE FIRMWARE

I've made a video that’s only been posted on this blog – because of it’s limited interest. This video explains how to change the Time & Date or flash the firmware. These procedures are identical whether you are using the 808 #11 or the Jumbo 808.

I put this instructional video together so that I can send people a link to it when I get asked about either of these procedures.

I have uploaded the firmwares used in the video on my Files & Drivers page. I am aware that people were having problems with some of the firmwares I’d uploaded in the past, I have no idea why as they all always worked for me. So again I’ve tested these firmwares and they work for me but I can’t guarantee that these are going to work for everyone.

There are only two firmwares this time to make things easier.

One that creates a new file every 50 minutes and overlays the footage with the Time & Date stamp and another that creates a new file every 20 mins but without the Time & Date stamp.

The stock firmware that came on my camera recorded in 20 minute segments with a Time & Date stamp. 

Now, other firmwares may be available from other places (RCGroups Forums for example) but I’m only going to post these two here. Now, if you do somehow manage to knacker your camera up – you are on your own, so please take care.

 

Saturday
Jul302011

Laser Car Garage Parking Assistance

I put this video together last weekend.

It's a look at a £10 laser parking device, bought from Dealextreme. I'd recommend that most people just use the tennis ball on a string solution if they just want to determine length - but I wanted an inch perfect width measurement - and this did the trick.

Direct link to product here

Wednesday
Jul272011

Just something to keep you occupied

Maybe someone will find this video useful, but if you don't, remember that it hasn't cost you anything, other than 2mins 57 secs of your precious time.

It's an explanation of how I added a DAB radio into my car discretely. The main special ingredient is the CableJive Dockstubz, available in the UK from Mobilefun.co.uk

I'm currently messing with another couple of mini HD cameras - but it may be a couple of weeks before I have anything to show (camera reviews take forever) - so in the meantime.....here's something completely different.

Friday
Jul222011

The Sky Watch Watchphone - It works fine - but someone moved the goalposts

OK, so I bought a watchphone and I can now tell you that the idea of owning a watchphone is a lot more exciting than actually owning a watchphone. At least this kind of lesson can be learned relatively cheaply. There are plenty of other ideas where the concept is a lot more exciting than reality - like getting a dog, getting married or having children, all of which are a lot more permanent and expensive.

I mention in the video that speaking into your wrist makes you look like a fool, I'm still relatively OK with this,  but there is another big insurmountable and fundamental flaw in the concept of a wrist phone, let me explain….

Most people nowadays have a mobile phone that does more than take calls. At the minimum most people can receive Email on their phone, but many more have now come to rely on a smartphone containing a hand picked suite of apps. Now there is no way that a device that can fit on a wrist could compete for features & usability with a proper smartphone. For example, attempting to read a full webpage on a device with a 1.8" screen will never be a pleasant experience.

Most people also now have a mobile phone number that has been ported from phone to phone and been with them a few years,  it has in effect become their personal identification number. Now that number can only be on one sim, in one phone at at time. I choose to keep this number, the one that all my contacts know, in my most capable device - my iPhone. The watch therefore has to make-do with a pay as you go sim - the number of which only I know. 

If I were to be asked for my  telephone number , the number that I'd give out would be the one I've been using for years, not my secondary number, that is in the watchphone - that I may or may not be wearing on the day.

So that's the fundamental problem, who is going to call my watchphone? Answer; nobody (well except for me when I was shooting this video). Perhaps I have this wrong and lots of people use multiple mobile phone numbers - however I don't, so the watchphone ends up being pretty much useless in the end, but most of you probably already figured this out without actually having to go and buy one - so well done you.

Anyway, wrists-on review below.

Saturday
Jul162011

Cheap Mood Lighting - From Chinavasion

 

A couple of weeks ago Chinavasion sent me a over a list containing a few of their lower priced items and asked me which one I'd be interested in reviewing for them. I chose an £8 mood light. The reason I chose this is because I already have a Philips Living Colours lamp and was interested to see how the £8 lamp would stack up against the £100 Philips version.

You may be wondering why anyone would need a mood lamp - and the fact is that no-one really needs one - but if you have a room with an uncluttered light-coloured wall they do make for an entertaining home decoration. Rather than paint an accent wall with one colour which you soon get tired of, instead paint that wall white or cream and then uplight it with a different colour every night - or have it continuously cycle through hundreds of colours.

The £8 lamp does feel quite cheap - but that is probably because it actually is cheap. Although, that being said, the internals do perform as advertised, after all they are only a control circuit, a battery and an LED. Makes you wonder what else goes into the equivalent mini Philips lamp to warrant their £50 premium. 

The bigger £100 Philips livingcolours lamp is brighter,  more stylish and comes with a remote. However you can also get a very similar large style lamp from Chinavasion (some might even prefer this design over the Philips one) for about £60.  I wish this had been available before I spent £120 on my large Philips light - it looks to do exactly the same job, and maybe the remote control won't eat through batteries like my Philips one does.

One thing really surprised me when I was doing my tests on the lamp -  the 4hr 10min battery life, I wasn't expecting anything beyond about 2 hours. By the way, the image at the top is a screenshot of my edit timeline in iMovie11 - I thought it was too interesting not to share.

Here are some links to the products on Chinavasion

The £7.72 small mood lamp (minimum order 5)

The £53.91 large mood lamp (minimum order 1)

Note these prices are without postage.

Although amazingly quick - international couriers can be rather expensive, so it is better to buy a few things at once to get the maximum value out of the postage cost.

Monday
Jul112011

A quick tip for Sky Satellite set top box owners.

You might be unaware that this product exists or what search-term to use to find one.

For a week this 44 second long video will only be viewable via this Blog (I've set it as unlisted on Youtube) and there should also be no adverts on it. In a week I'll set it loose on youtube as normal - with the usual ads.

 

 

Saturday
Jul092011

RD32 HD Waterproof Action Camera

Wow I've really bought some rubbish recently. The problem stemmed from the fact that I felt I was taking too long between posting updates to the site so I decided I should buy a a few more things to review. In hindsight I would have been better off saving my money, but I suppose that I'm doing a public service by warning people away from repeating my mistakes This camera really does have some serious issues that needed demonstrating.

 

As I say in the review - this will be the last MJPEG HD video camera that I review. I've yet to find a single camera using this compression method that doesn't create jerky video. In comparison the HD808 #11 camera records at a constant and smooth 30fps and it's h.264 files are a fraction of the size of the equivalent mjpeg ones.

 

If you really want one of these cameras (why?) then here a couple of links to online retailers. 

Chinavasion

Dealextreme

Why is this review so long….we'll the camera claimed to do a lot of different things, waterproof, motion-activation, night vision, so all of these needed to be tested in some shape or form. 

So here is my longest review so far - and unfortunately it's of a product that you shouldn't buy.

 

 

Sunday
Jul032011

Routon RC100 Bluetooth HTPC Keyboard & Trackpad

I'm going to have to rename this website Failblog (unless that name is taken) if I keep buying things like this.

Video review of the RC100 "HTPC" Bluetooth Keyboard below. The reason for the quotation marks will become apparent, when you watch the clip.

Friday
Jul012011

1st July Random Update

ACT20 Sample Files

A couple of people have asked for samples of the files from the ACT20 camera to see if these work with their editing package. So I've put a couple of clips - one 7 seconds and one 15 seconds in a dropbox folder (the reason that the audio fades is because my thumb covered the microphone hole).

Right click and save these files to your computer

File 1   File 2 

HD808 #11

The chaps behind the HD808 #11 Micro HD camera got in touch with a nice email. 

They explained their company consists of eight stores on ebay

 eletoponline365   hxelepro360   digitalele889   beetleonline 

power-gps     eletech086    internet-shop365    powerdigital898 

They have a few new styles of keyfob incorporating the same HD808 innards -but with a larger 100-120 min battery and a 'better quality car charger' 

It's clear from their email that they are both the sole manufacturer and reseller of these cameras. That explains why these aren't available anywhere other than eBay. 

I replied to them with a list of requests for any future new models…

My list was as follows;

Flashlight/Bullet Camera Shape

Water Resistant/Water Proof Case

Long Battery Life (2hr+)

Fisheye/Wide Angle Lens (120 Degree)

Optional Cycled Recording

 ……and they responded with 

 "yes,we're planing to make different shapes in the future,and we're improving this HD camera steps by steps"

So keep your eyes on these people. I really like the h.264 .mov encoding on their HD808 camera….even more so, now that I've used a couple of jerky, stuttering, frame dropping .avi mjpeg cameras.

Chinavaison

I've also been contacted by Chinavaison - a China based wholesale retailer that always seems to be the first to get the latest and greatest gadgets. They asked if I wanted to review something for them……. so of course it's on it's way to me. I won't spoil the surprise, but it's the kind of gadget that would make a really good gift. I'll put a review together when it arrives. 

Hopefully this will be the start of a collaboration  - I can quite happily browse their site for hours looking for ideas for things to review, so getting the occasional item for free would really help. Co-incidentally, the week before they contacted me through the site, I'd ordered something from them to review. It's currently on my wrist, telling the time (amongst other things…..) review will follow of course.

That Other Upcoming Helmet Camera review

The other helmet camera that I'm reviewing will take me a while - but unfortunately it already seems to have serious frame rate issues, as well as one really unusual problem. It's a shame, because there is a lot to like about it as well. I'm going to give it a fair crack of the whip, before I commit anything to youtube. 

One More Thing..

There will however be one new review uploaded this weekend - I just need to get James May or Ringo Star in to do the voiceover....

Tuesday
Jun212011

The ACT20 Action Camera

My review of this camera was negatively coloured by the fact that I couldn't edit or convert the footage using my Mac.  I edit all my Youtube videos using iMovie on my Mac and not being able to properly utilise the original footage from this camera meant that I couldn't do an accurate video review.

There is definitely something non-standard about the .avi files created by this camera - however after I posted this video review, I tried editing the footage on my PC in a trial version of Power Director 9 and it worked without a hitch. 

So unfortunately this camera is still not ideal for me - but if you use a PC as your main machine, this camera might possibly be just what you are looking for.

To me, the main headline feature of this camera is the fact that it can record for 3 hours on one charge. The HD808 can only manage about 45 mins and then often stops recording after only a handful of minutes (for reasons that I really can't determine). If I ride my motorcycle to work it's a 2 hour round-trip, so for the moment I'll be using the ACT20 as an incident camera - attached to my helmet. I'll set it to loop-record continuously (in 20 min segments) and I'll only pull the footage off the camera if I need to use it for some kind of evidence.

I think when I make my next video review when my new action camera arrives from Dealextreme, I'll give the ACT20 a bit more screen time to redress any disservice that I may have done to it in this video.

UPDATE: I've decided to add a brief clip below of some car footage with the original soundtrack intact so that you can get an idea about the camera's sound quality. I've also noticed that this camera drops a heck of a lot of frames. From my examinations, some seconds of video only consist of 21 individual frames with the other 9 frames being made up of duplicates. So if you notice the video stuttering or think that the motion seems unnatural, this is the reason.
Sunday
Jun122011

The Video Message Machine

In today's second update, I present to you The Video Message Machine. I had high hopes for this - thinking it would be a fun novelty that might actually see some use. Unfortunately it turned out to be completely useless, purely because of its poor implementation.  

All a device like this needs, is a nice clear screen, three big round colour coded buttons labeled Record, Play and Delete,  a bright flashing light to show that an un-played message is waiting, and good clear sound. The 'Message Machine' has none of these.

If this had been any good, I'd have made a bit more effort with the review - and properly show all the features, but since it's useless I decided to cut the review short. There was no point in wasting any more of your time or mine.

Anyway, below is a video review of something you shouldn't buy…. and here's where you shouldn't buy it from (and no longer can).