Thursday, November 17, 2016

Review: Omorc Foot File

Today I'm reviewing the Omorc foot file for £22.19.  I got the product as  a free sample, but this won't influence my review.

Pros:
Waterproof (ipx4)
Works
Comes with 2 replacement

Cons:
Turns off automatically

In the box is a useful instruction booklet, containing the all important information about the operation of the device a well as a short USB charging cable, 2 spare rollers, a cleaning brush, and the device itself. Also there is a cover that can be put on the device to protect the roller.

The product works as expected so nothing to comment on that aspect.  It removes dead skin as described.  The product has an IX4 rating, so it can withstand water splashes.  One thing I do not like about the product is that it turns off automatically after a certain amount of time.  Also, to charge the product, there is a small hole in the product.  However, the rubber is so thick that I was initially not sure whether I was in the charging hole or not.

All in all, it is a good product, but I do not like the auto turn off feature.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Omorc Smart Fitness Tracker

Today I'm reviewing the Omorc Smart Fitness Tracker with Sleep Monitor which cost £20.99.  I have received this device as a sample for review, but this won't influence my opinion of the device.

Pros:

  • Comfortably fit on the hand
  • Does the job
  • Show time and date
  • Show notification


Cons:

  • Non intuitive settings
  • Can show notification but cannot interact with them
  • Hard to put on the wrist

One thing I need to make it clear is that this fitness tracker is no smart watch.  It comes nowhere close to the Android Wear.  For example, although it can show notifications of incoming emails, you can't see the details of the emails.  In the same vein, although the device show incoming calls, there is no way to pick up the call without using the phone.  Furthermore, the "find your phone" feature never worked for me.

In addition, I feel the user interface is non intuitive it's clunky and hard to use.  It uses a combination of top to down swipe and left to wipe swipe to navigate the menu.  Also in the mix is tap to access a menu and then hard long press to select the menu item.

Wrist secure pongs
When I first got the device I had trouble registering to the Zeroner app.  However, apparently one of my attempts got through, but when I tried to reset my password, I wasn't able to.  It would say reset password sent but as of the writing of this email, I have received no reset password emails.  This is a severe oversight.

Now going to the physical aspect.  The watch is quick slick and goes on comfortably on the wrist.  However, instead of using the traditional clasp system found in traditional watches, it has two prongs that pushes into the hole bands.  To charge, the entire watch face has to be disconnected from the band to reveal a USB male port.  This is quite inconvenient to remove every time I need to charge.  Other reviewers list this as a pro but I find this a con as the rubber is quite stiff and I fear breaking it every time I remove the product from the band.


USB interface

Would I recommend the device?  No.  The non intuitive interface combined with the problem with the Zeroner companion app, and the charging mechanism prevent me from recommending this device.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Review: VicTsing 20000mAh Power Bank with LED Flashlight

Today I'll be reviewing the VictSing 20000 mAh power bank with LED flash light.  The device costs £28.99 on Amazon.  VictSing has kindly provided a sample device but this would not influence my decision.

Pros

  • 20000 mAh, which can fully charge a Sony Xperia Z5 from flat to full at least once
  • Two out port to charge two devices simultaneously
  • Contain a flashlight
  • Charges using MicroUSB
  • Battery level indicator

Cons
  • Heavy
  • NOT Qualcomm QuickCharge.  Charges phone using standard charge.  Charges itself up with standard charge as well
  • Rather chunky
First off the bat you would notice is it's weight and the size.  This is not a light weight battery bank.  However, for it's size you get 20000 mAh of juice.  According to calculations, that is enough to fill the 3430 mAh Xperia Z5 Premium from flat about 5 times but I haven't personally tested the number of times you can fully recharge the phone.



Would I recommend the power bank?  No.  For the price you might as well get one with Qualcomm QuickCharge 3/2.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Review: VicTsing Fast Qi Wireless Charging Pad

Today I will be reviewing the VictSing Qi Wireless charging pad.  The item cost £17.00
VictSing Qi Wireless Pad
 on Amazon.  I got the item for free from VictSing but this will not influence my review.


Pro
  • No bright light
  • Contemporary design
Cons
  • Pricey
This is perhaps one of the first device I have had that had no listed cons.  Unlike other Qi Pad I have, this didn't have a bright blue light that can disturb sleep.

It used micro usb to power the device.  It can charge other Qi compatible devices.

I definitely like the contemporary design.  It had some weight to it so it stayed in placed compared to my usual pad.
Victsing Qi pad reverse side
When adapting (automatically) to fast charging, the LED light will be green, rather than blue.  But this only work with compatible phones like Samsung Galaxy S7.

Is this a device I would recommend?  Yes, but it verge on the expensive size.  There are cheaper Qi wireless pads out there.



Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Review: VictSing Professional LED Optical 5500 Gaming Mouse

Thanks to VictSing to providing a sample of the wired Professional LED Optical 5500 gaming.  The mouse sells for £11.99 on Amazon.

Pros

  • Can control DPI without software
  • Have dedicated button for double click
  • Quite ergonomic
Cons
  • No side scrolling.  You can't tilt the middle wheel to side scroll.
  • A little too wide for my taste
  • Wired mouse
  • No free scrolling present in Logitech mouse devices


I am reviewing the VictSing Professional LED Optical 5500 gaming mouse.   The mouse feel quite comfortable in my hand.  However, it was a little too light and too wide for my taste.

One plus of the mouse is that can change the dpi to the following: 1000DPI / 1600DPI / 2400DPI / 3200DPI /5500DPI.  In addition, the side light indicate the DPI being used.  It also pulsate when not in use.  The mouse also have a tiny double click button to the left.  According to VictSing it is used for fire during games.

In conclusion, for £11.99 I think it is a comfortable wired mouse.  But it nowhere set the standard set by the Logitech MX Master mouse (which cost £71.99 on Amazon).

Monday, October 31, 2016

Review: VictSing DisplayPort To HDMI Cable

Thanks to VictSing for providing the cable for review.

Today I'm reviewing the VictSing DisplayPort to HDMI Cable for £6.59. The cable is 6 feet long so it's adequate for most cases. This is both a pro and con, but the cable has a kind of "clip" that locks it in place. This clip makes it hard to remove from the monitor, especially if the monitor has an awkward position like my Dell 4k Monitor. That means I had to use two hands to remove the cable. However, the clip means that it is port is securely in place.

Quality wise, it seems sturdy and like all DisplayPort the picture is quite clear.
I made the mistake thinking that it is reversible but it is not. It connects to a DisplayPort computer and connects to an HDMI port in the monitor. IT WILL NOT WORK the other way around ie HDMI --> DisplayPort. For £6.59, it's an average cost for a cable.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Making the most of Amazon Prime


Amazon Prime is a £79 service from Amazon that enables free one day delivery as well as access to Amazon's streaming service. However, if you opt to ship your item with the slower 3-5 day shipping Amazon GIVES you £1 for each time you do that. Therefore, it would be beneficial to split each items into individual transaction.

Let's take an example.  Let's say you have 5 Prime eligible items you want to purchase. The easy way is to add all to basket and check out all at once.  If you opt for the slower standard delivery you will only get £1 in Amazon digital voucher (that can be used to redeem digital downloads).  The smart way is to add only one of the five items into the basket and then checkout.  Then once you check out, rinse and repeat with the other remaining items.  That way you will get £1 for each time you checkout bagging you £5.  That's a difference of £4.

Here's another sneak trick.  If one of the items was purchased using Prime one day delivery, there is a very high chance that all the unshipped items will be packed together with that prime item even though you selected a slower shipping speed with the other items.  Amazon is very savvy at saving money so why waste postage and send out a nearly empty box when you can stuff the box with the other items also going to the same customer.  That means you will get the other 4 items at Prime speed while also bagging £4 in mp3 vouchers.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Review: VicTsing Mini Bluetooth Headset

Thanks to VicTsing for providing a Mini Bluetooth Headset for review.  The item costs £9.59 on  Amazon.

Pros:

  • Sound quality
  • Firmly held in ear
Cons:
  • Mono sound
  • Small button to pick up and end call
  • Ear bud not snug




Box content:

  • Headset
  • 2 spare ear piece's
  • Ear clip
  • Charging cable
  • Manual

First off we start with sound quality.  Though the VictSing bluetooth headset cannot compete with a Bose QC20i, the sound quality from the product is descent.  The music came out clear.  In addition, the product is easy to set up but for me it took quite a while to find the power button, which doubles as a start / stop button as well as a accept and reject button.  The button is at the top of the product and is quite small.  VictSing could have used the whole silver plate as a button, but they opt to use a small button on top.  Also, there is no way to adjust the volume from the headset.  However, I like the added plastic ear clip.  It works to hold the headset around my ear.

Would I recommend it?  I fault it with the less intuitive button placement.  Other than that, the sound was descent.  Other than that it is an OK headset.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Review: VicTsing Dehumidifier


Disclaimer: This product was provided by VicTsing in exchange for an unbiased review.


Today I'm reviewing the VicTsing Dehumidifier, which cost £47.99 on Amazon.

Pros
  • Compact
  • Works as expected
  • Long cable
  • Easy to use
  • Sturdy construction
  • Large water catchment container

Cons:
  • High pitch whirring
  • Need to be plugged in
  • Limited by 2.5m power cable

At first I quite skeptical about the product after reading the negative reviews on the Amazon page.  However, to my surprise it works as expected.  During my week of use it managed to collect about a mm of water in the container.

In the box you get:
  • 1x Dehumidifier
  • 1x Adapter
  • 1x Instruction Manual

The dehumidifier is quite easy to use.  On the back of the product there is an on button and that's it.  There is no other dials or switches on the product.   Plug it in and switch it on and it starts working.  At the top there is an LED indicator to check if the water tank is full.  This also doubles as a shut off system as if the water tank is full it will automatically shut the system off so it doesn't overflow.

The water container is easily removed. Just give it a tug and it comes out.  One thing I dislike about the product is the high pitch whirring it produce when it is working.  I am using it in an ensuite room and I can hear it through the closed bathroom door.  Though it doesn't disturb sleep, this, in my opinion, is quite annoying.  I had to turn off the product at night.

The product is light weight and portable.  However, you are limited by the length of the power cable (2.5 m).  So if there isn't an outlet near the place you want to use the product, you will need an extension socket.

I can't comment on whether it's worth the price or not or how long it would last, but if you're skeptical on the quality, all I can say is that it works.  For how long, I don't know.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Review: VicTsing 4k Action Cam

Disclaimer: This product was provided by VicTsing in exchange for an unbiased review.

Pros:
  • Light weight
  • Easy to use interface
  • Does as described
  • Stabilization of shots
  • Can use larger than 64 GB microSD Card mentioned

Cons:
  • Annoying prompt saying "video start."  But this can easily be turned off.
  • Not so great at night shots.
  • Can be a bit grainy and overexposed


Today I am reviewing the VicTsing 4k action camera, which cost £65.99.  The product directly compete with the GoPro Hero3 action cam, which cost £324.

Package Contents:
1x Camera (match box size)
2x Rechargeable batteries
1x Waterproof case
…. Lots and lots of accessories for different types to use, like helmet, motorbike, bicycle, etc.

It has a basic user interface which is quite easy to use when you get used to it.  According to the manual, the camera uses a Sony IMX117 Exmor R CMOS.  It also shoots UHD 4K(2880*2160) in 24fps, QHD 2K (2560*1440) in 30fps, and FHD 1080P in 60fp, etc all the way down to VGA.  The still picture resolution is touted to be 20 megapixels.

Here is a sample video of the Swansea University's 2016 Fresher Fair.  It was taken in 1080p 60 hertz.

VicTsing camera sample

GoPro Hero3 Sample - From YouTube

As you can see foreground objects are quite clear, but the background ones are a tad blurry.  Also, there is an annoying "video start" announcement captured on the start of the video.  However, this can easily be turned off under settings.  It is labeled as "voice prompt."

Furthermore, VicTsing had informed me that the largest micro SD card this camera can go is 64 GB.  Although VictSing said it wouldn't recognize larger sizes, but I was able to use up a 128 GB microSD card..  Also the camera enclosure is a little tricky to open up as you need to lift the hinge a little while pulling on the indicated tab.


Sample from my Xperia Z2 phone



Sample compilation comparing the VictSing Action cam and the Xperia Z5 Premium


Would I recommend to buy this product?  Maybe, if you're into action sports.  It is certainly cheaper than the GoPro Hero3 it is trying to compete with.

If you already have a phone with a good camera and just want to take casual videos, this would be an unnecessary purchase.

Review: VicTsing Universal Waterproof Case Underwater Pouch

Disclaimer: This product was provided by VicTsing in exchange for an unbiased review.

Today I'm reviewing the VicTsing® Universal Waterproof Case Underwater Pouch which cost £5.59.

The pouch

Pouch joints


The pouch certainly does the job of keeping the product dry.  I placed a paper towel in the case and it came out dry.  Unfortunately the material looks a bit flimsy and the bag is rather thin.  I was able to rip a small tear at the joint where the black plastic clamps joins the plastic bag.  That means it would be suitable for thin phones only, and not thick ones.  One benefit of this product is that it enables the phone to be used through the case.

All in all I think this is a nifty product and for what it's worth it's a better solution than placing the phone in a ziplock container.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Review: VicTsing 2-in-1 LED Camping Lantern and Flashlight

Disclaimer: This product was provided by VicTsing in exchange for an unbiased review.

Pros:

  • Light weight
  • Dual use
  • AA battery
  • Low price
  • Feels sturdy
Cons:
  • Not waterproof

I am reviewing the  VicTsing 2-in-1 LED Camping Lantern and Flashlight.  For £11.99 these flashlights are a steal!  With two flashlight in the box,  this works out to be about £6 per flashlight.  The package includes

  • 2 LED Camping Light
  • 6 AA Battery (hooray!).  Product uses 3 AA batteries
  • 1 User Manual

Box contents
Unlike traditional flashlights that uses large chunky D batteries, this product requires 3 AA batteries, which are included in the box (unlike those * batteries not included products).  Despite relying on AA batteries, light is surprisingly bright.


Lamp mode

Flashlight mode



As shown above, the product can switch between the two modes quite seamlessly.  The product works on a cycle.  The first press turns on the flashlight.  Second turns it off.  The third and fourth presses toggle the lantern on and off. With 3 AA batteries, I'm not sure how long it will last.  One reviewer said it lasted 7 hours for him.  But on the flip side is that you could use rechargeable AA batteries to save the cost of disposable ones.

The product is a bit plasticky and thus very light.  There's a convenient leather handle to use when in torch mode.  The handle isn't much use in lanturn mode as it becomes taut.  There is no indication of waterproofness of the product so I wouldn't use it anywhere near water.

For what it's worth, this is a sturdy low cost 2-in-1 LED Camping Lantern and Flashlight device.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Review: VictSing Waterproof Mechanical Keyboard


Disclaimer: This product was provided by VicTsing in exchange for an unbiased review.

Today I'll be reviewing the VicTsing Waterproof Mechanical Keyboard, which sells on Amazon for £28.99.

Pros
  • N key roll over - all key strokes recognize
  • Waterproof - IP X4 unknown
  • Keys replaceable if faded away
  • Wide space between keys
Cons
  • Rather pricey
  • US layout
  • Can be rather loud
  • Keys smaller than traditional keyboards
  • Heavy
  • Not wireless
In the box it comes with the keyboard (of course) with attached USB cable, manual, key cap puller.

The keyboard is a bit on the heavy and loud side.  When you type it you can hear the clicky clacky of the mechanical keys that reminisce of old style typewriters. In addition, the keys are fully replaceable.  So that means if any keys are faded away, they can easily be replaced.  There is adequate space between the keys, which make it easy to type.  Also, because the keyboard has n-key rollover, all keys can be pressed at once and be registered.  I have tested it with the Microsoft tool and it showed that if I press all the keys (or most of the keys), all of them were recognized.

One drawback is that despite buying in the UK, it is in US layout.  However, this can be easily remedied by buying replacement keys or stickers.  It also doesn't come with a number pad, which kinda sucks.  It is also not wireless, which means you would have to think about cable management.

One benefit of this particular keyboard is that it's waterproof.  It has an Ingress Protection (IP rating of X4) meaning "Protected against spray up to 60° from vertical."  I tested it by pouring a cup of water on it.  Though it doesn't say the rating of the keyboard, it withstood the dunking.  Immediately after the water bath, tt didn't type anything and I was getting worried whether I have damaged this fine keyboard.  But my worries was alleviated since when it dried out it started to work.

For £28.99, the keyboard leans on the expensive side.  Based on an Amazon search, I found cheaper waterproof keyboards but I can't vouch for their quality.  Personally I like this keyboard, but I am more used to ergonomic keyboards.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Rant: Windows 10

Is it just me or does the Windows 10 Anniversary Update start menu looks suspiciously familiar?


Windows 10 Star Menu - I mean Linux Mint

Windows 10 Anniversary Update Star Menu


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Review: VicTsing Electric Pencil Sharpener

Disclaimer: This product was provided by VicTsing in exchange for an unbiased review.

Today I'll be reviewing the VicTsing Pencil Sharpener, which sells on Amazon for £15.99.

Box contents. Pencil not included.
As seen in above, the sharpener comes with 1 spare blade core. However, I couldn't find the blade core for sale anywhere. So it's good that VicTsing provided one in the box.

The sharpener uses 4 AA batteries, which doesn't come in the box. With a potentially power hungry appliance I would probably get a rechargeable battery such as the Eneloop AA batteries.

The sharpener does the job well. The pencil comes out reasonable sharp. One thing I like about the sharpener is that it stops automatically when the pencil gets sharp. This prevents you getting stubby pencils from over sharpening.

Close up of sharpened pencil

The drawback of this pencil sharpener is its design. The core is behind a metal mesh, which traps the pencil shavings. Therefore, cleaning the sharpener isn't as simple as dumping the catchment container.

Container case
You have to unscrew the cage and then dump the trapped shavings.
In conclusion, the sharpener does the job well. For £15.99 it leans to the expensive size. Granted there are cheaper sharpeners, I can't vouch for their effectiveness.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Review: VicTsing 3 in 1 Clip-On Lenses for Mobile Phone

Disclaimer: This product was provided by VicTsing in exchange for an unbiased review.

Update: On request to VictTsing I have re-reviewed the wide angle lens.  This time I have opted to use the Xperia Z5 Premium for the test.  As seen in the photograph below I could certainly see more.  However, the original problem with the black rings


Photo of Halbullock View without the lens

The black splodge in the right hand side is due to the edge of the wide angle lens, which I have simply slid away from the camera aperture.

Wide angle shot with VictSing lens

As you can see from the reshoot the wide angle lens certainly gives a wider view.  But the problem of black rings is still present.  Also it seem to me that the picture is less clear with the wide angle shot.







I received the VicTsing 3 in 1 Clip-On Lenses for Mobile Phone from Amazon.  I was quite skeptical over whether the product would work or not.  After testing it, I got mixed results.  The micro and fish eye lens worked quite well but the wide angle lens didn't.  I couldn't see a difference between the picture shot with the lense and one without.




Box content: Fish Lens, Micro / Wide Angle Lens, Manual, Clips to hold lens, carrying case



Test shots:
I took the pictures using the well renowned Sony Xperia Z3 running the experimental Android N Beta 3.

First up are the macro shots.  The macro and wide angle lenses are combo lens.  Unscrewing the wide angle bit gives you the macro lense.

I tried to take the shots using the same distance from the subject, an unappealing orange.



Macro lens


Orange shot without micro



Macro of orange peel


Macro of orange stalk

The macro lenses work particularly well.  It managed to enable the phone to capture the details of both the orange peels and the stalk.

Next up are the wide angle lens.


Wide angle shot of Habullock View



Non wide angle shot ie plain Z3

The wide angle shots weren't particularly impressive.  I couldn't see a discernible differences in the view captured.  And to make matters worse, it added a dark ring to the shot as seen in the wide angle picture above.

The last lens in the package is the fish eye test.


Fish eye lens

This lens certainly give that classic fish eye effect so nothing much to say here.


Fish eye shot of Halbullock View

Conclusions
The lens clips damaged my glass protectors, chipping them slightly.  The manual instructed me to "spread" the to fit but I was scared to do that in fear of damaging the clips.  In addition, unless you align them properly, you will get a black ring effect around the photos as you can see in the corner of the wide angle shot above.  All in all a mix bag.  In conclusion, unless you want to take macro shots and fish eye lens, you should stay away.  For £8.99 (as of the writing of this blog), you can't go wrong.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Report: Impact of our action on the environment





A giant armed galaxy called the milky way whiz through the void of space at 220 km/s (kilometer / second). Each arm of the galaxy is formed of millions perhaps billions of stars. Zooming in closer we can see a cluster of rocky bodies orbiting a yellow dwarf star call the Sun. Looking from a distance, one planet stands out, with its dark blue seas dotted with green blobs of land. What makes this third planet from the Sun unique is the abundance of life, from the tiny bacteria to the giant whales swimming around in the sea. However, one species have evolved to harness the resources of the earth and have the power to cause the destruction of the planet. The name of this species? Homo sapiens or the common human being. Humans have colonized almost every landmass on earth, utilizing our amazing intellect to shape the environment to our needs. However, whether by ignorance or a feeling of grandeur we seem to ignore the negative effects of our action on the environment. We forget that we only have one planet we can call home and our fates are tied to its well-being. The sustainability award opened my eyes to the consequence of human actions on the environment.

One of the activity we have to do as part of the sustainability award is to watch the documentary Home serves as a poignant reminder of what could happen if we continue down the current vice of reckless resource use.  Poor environment laws had led to the loss of rainforests worldwide.  The picture below shows the border between Brazil and Bolivia.















The stark contrast between this borders shows the effect of the difference of environmental laws between the two countries. Bolivia, which has stricter environmental laws, still has a luscious green rainforest, while on the Brazilian side, the same forest had been chopped down for cattle breeding.

Another example that showcases the importance of caring for nature would be the Rapanui civilization, or rather their downfall.  In the documentary, the downfall of the Rapanui civilization on Easter island was pinned on poor resource management and overpopulation.  Like us, the people of Rapanui were innovative farmers, sculptors, and exceptional navigators.  They have built a successful civilization that thrived for centuries.  However, the civilization suffered overpopulation, and coupled with their poor resource management, hastened their downfall.  The picture to the right shows the effect of their destruction.

However, we don’t need to venture far to see the effects of human destructions.  During the beach clean we found bagfuls of man-made waste littering the beach in front of the Swansea University Bay Campus.  Granted that most of these wastes may be flotsam and jetsam washed ashore, they are just as harmful to the environment.  In addition, during the clean, we found a creepy doll arm.


Unless we make changes to our lifestyle and reduce our footprint on the environment, we’re heading down the path that would lead to our destruction.  One simple way to do this is to recycle as much as possible.  Recycling reduces the need to obtain new resources and ripping out the earth doing that.  The Rapanui civilization on Easter island serves as a warning of what would happen if we continue our destructive ways.  As the ancient American Indian proverb says, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Call for cross platform unity

Every company are determined to build their own walled gardens and tighter integration with their own products.  Apple is one of the biggest culprit.   While it might result in more proprietary features that better experience the customer's experience, they can exclude users of other products.  A recent news in 2014 tells of how former users of iPhones can have their message redirected to Apple iMessenger service if users on other iPhones send a message to their text.  This can cause annoyance, especially if one of those emails are important.  If you're in one of those camps you can deregister your number through https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT203042

Also, Apple watches won't work with Androids at all but Android watches work with Apple products.  Heck you can find Google products on the App store, but don't just expect Apple to reciprocate.

Also rumors are speculating that Apple are deciding to do away with the ubiquitous 3.5mm audio jack in favor of a single lightning port.  I have seen that with old Sony Ericsson phones and their headphones are pretty much useless if you decide to upgrade.

So say no to proprietary software.

Cross promotion for rooftops and body clocks

My friend Shona Johnson writes a blog at https://rooftopsandbodyclocks.wordpress.com/ and it is a fairly interesting read.  While it might be a significant departure from this tech oriented blog, she tells about her experience of being a student at Swansea University.

I think you should give her site a visit.  And tell her "Tyw7" sent you.