The PAPAGO GoSafe 30G Dashcam is the third exposure I have had to their dashcams. I last reviewed the GoSafe 520 a couple of years ago. The GoSage 30G was a completely revamped Dashcam with some new great features and one feature that I could have done without.
The new Dashcam is capable of Full HD up to 1080P @ 60FPS with a 2.7 inch LCD screen with full GPS position logging. The 140-degree wide-angle recording view gives you an incredible recorded POV. The dashcam has full motion detection so that it automatically starts recording and stores the recording every 5 minutes unless the G-Sensor is activated by a sudden impact and then the device will automatically lock the file so it is not overwritten. You have the ability to also take a snapshot at any time by simply holding the snapshot button for 3 seconds. The dashcam will also record video anytime the car is sitting still and it detects the car being bumped. This can help you identify someone that may have hit your car and left the scene.
The Papago GoSafe 30G came with a couple of features that worked very well in the daytime but one struggled at night. It comes with Lane Departure Warning System and Front Collision Warnings System. While both warning systems worked great during daylight hours the Lane Departure Warning System false alarmed while driving at night. The roads in Hawaii are in many places 2 feet narrower than what they are on the mainland, whenever I was on a narrower road and not exactly in the middle of the lane the number of false warning for lane departure was almost excessive. I did not have this trouble during the daylight hours at all and the front collision warning system worked well day and nite. I must commend Papago on the FCWS system as it alerted me to cars braking hard in front of me.
Some other great driver assists features that work well including Stop Sign Recognition, Stop and Go, Driver Fatigue Warning, and Headlight Reminder all worked well day and nite. The Stop and Go feature primarily designed to detect when the car in front of you has moved after sitting still for more than 10 seconds works great in heavy traffic as well. If you have a late model car that does not have tire pressure sensors the dashcam also integrates with the Papago TireSafe D10E TPMS (sold separately), the GoSafe 30G can quickly grasp your tires’ pressure and temperature in real-time and display it on the screen.
Both Day and Nite video are exceptional and the Papago team have made significant improvements to the nite vision video quality. Priced at $172 this is a great product to add to your car, my dashcam has already recorded 2 separate accidents that I have been able to provide to the driver of the vehicle hit including one side swipe impact. You just never know today when you need to prove you were not at fault in an accident.
These are the full resolution videos 100mb per minute of video so depending on your internet connection they may load slow.
The Azulle – Access Plus – Fanless Mini PC Stick is my first exposure to a mini-computer running Windows 10. When we updated our flat screen this spring I wanted to be able to bring up a few sites that have content my family enjoys but does not have a channel on the Roku or similar devices. The Azulle Mini PC Stick was the perfect solution. The Mini PC simply connects to an HDMI port and using the Azulle – Lynk Remote control I was able to have a separate window system that we could utilize hooked directly to the monitor.
Now let me be upfront the Mini PC is not like your desktop and or a top end laptop it comes with a 64-bit Quad-core Intel Atom CherryTrail processor with and option of 2 or 4GB of onboard ram with 32gb of onboard storage with USB 3.0 x1 and USB 2.0 X1, Dual Band Bluetooth and a USB Mouse, Keyboard supported wirelessly and dual band Wifi The HD Graphics card outputs a 1080P to allow for full-screen Video playback, gaming, and home theater usage.
I will be honest I was surprised how well it operates and the best part it is a 100% out of site. You can expand storage either with a USB stick or an external hard-drive. You use it just like any other PC in your home only this one can be hooked up to a TV in the living room, standard monitor in a kids room to provide them an inexpensive PC for homework etc. The use cases go beyond the home you could use it in a board room. digital signage the list goes on. Tiny enough to fit in the palm of your hand but powerful enough to run Windows 10.
Priced between $139/$169 depending on ram choice you cannot beat what this brings to the table as a mini-pc.
Allows me to point and click the mouse with their Gyroscope technology that provides remarkable control for a mouse you wave around in your hand. The keyboard is backlit and has a standard layout for quick typing in website addresses or
standard keyboard functions. It has the capability to learn the functions of more remotes that comes with televisions or other devices you find in an entertainment system.
It comes with a microphone if you’re doing a skype call or want to use voice recognition software like Cortana. Compatible with all major operating systems. The best thing is it reasonably priced at $29.99 a great choice for those that need a remote keyboard. mouse, microphone combination.
The iClever 20W Wireless Speaker for $49.95 is a good price for what it brings to the table, the sound quality is what you would expect for a low-end Bluetooth Wireless speaker that will give your 14 hours of continuous play before charging the 4000 mau battery. I have been using it on my back porch where I go sometimes to work. This is not the speaker, you will want to use to entertain guest with, but for a young teenager it may be the perfect speaker when they do not want to be plugged into earbuds and it is not loud enough to drive you insane.
I have listened to both podcast and music on it, the speaker has great base is not tinny at all.
The Athena-R2 AC2600 Wi-Fi Router by Amped|Wireless is the first router I have tested for them so my approach to doing this review was to hook it up in place of the current router I have powering the network here and let her rip. We have had the router in place for 2 weeks and subjected it to as many as 5 simultaneous users, 2 – separate Netflix streams while at the same time a gamer on a PS4 playing a head to head game. Plus a variety of live streaming events with no issues at all.
The setup of the router was simple with setup taking about 10 minutes including the time I took to look through the various menus. For 90% of the public you’re going to be up and running faster than that. Always remember to change the default password and apply any updates that may be available. Signal strength through the 1900 square feet of working space was good even into the garage area that has had trouble in the past.
External Features are a plenty and here is a quick look of the interconnections on the router.
1x USB 2.0 Storage Port
1x USB 3.0 Storage Port
4 Gigabit Network Ports
Gigabit Modem Port
WPS-1 Touch Setup
LED On/Off Button
4x Antenna Hookups
Internal Technology Includes
4×4 Stream 2.4ghz radio
4x 2.4 GHZ High Power Amplifiers
4x 2.4GHZ Signal Reception Amplifiers
Heat Dissipation Technology
4x 5GHZ High Power Amplifiers
4x 5GHZ Signal Reception Amplifiers
4×4 Stream 5GHZ MU-Mimo Radio
256mb DDR Memory
1.3 GHZ Quad Core Processor
The router also contains advanced security features allow you to block websites and target devices within your home. Beamforming technology that targets each connected device to deliver a maximum signal. Do you have a bandwidth hog in your household or need to throttle a user you can do this on a per-device basis which is an awesome parenting tool. You can attach a storage device and share files within your network as well.
Priced at $199 you cannot go wrong with this router. It is comparable in price to other AC branded wireless routers. It is stylish enough that you will not be embarrassed to have it seen in your living room, yet small enough that you can tuck it away in family office.
Here on my desk I have an Optoma ML750ST LED projector. It’s a small short throw personal projector just 113 x 123 x 57 mm which makes it about the same size of a stack of CDs. Despite the diminutive form factor, the ML750 still comes with a good complement of ports and a couple of tricks. Let’s take a look.
White on the top and dark grey round the sides, the most noticeable feature of the Optoma projector is the disproportionately large lens on the front. It’s needed for the short-throw, which projects a large image from a short distance from the screen. Minimum distance is only 43 cm with a max around 3.5 m. At full distance, the image is around 5 m wide.
There’s a set of buttons on the top of the projector for turning it on, adjusting the image and selecting media (more on this later) but the main area of interest is round the back with a selection of connectors, ports and sockets, including HDMI and Universal I/O for VGA. The projector can read directly from media too and there are microSD and USB ports for data. A 3.5 mm stereo jack, power socket, IR receiver and Kensington lock round out the rear. Power is supplied via an external power supply, which keeps the size and weight down. There’s small remote control too.
On the bottom are three rubber feet and a camera screw mount. The foot at the front spins out to about a 1 cm to raise the projection up, and obviously the screw mount can be used with a tripod or ceiling mount. The large lens rotates smoothly through about 45 degrees to focus the image.
Connect up the ML750 to a PC or laptop and it appears as a WXGA (1280×800) monitor, and with a suitable OS you can do the usual tricks of either reproducing the current desktop or extending the desktop to the ML750’s display. The projector will lock onto the video signal and it sometimes took a second or two to pick up the VGA or HDMI. One of the benefits of an HDMI connector is that a media streaming stick like the Roku or Amazon Fire TV can be plugged straight in.
The ML750 does have a few other tricks up its sleeve (or USB port as the case may be). First of all, the projector has a built-in media player and Ms Office document viewer that will show films, play music and display Word, Excel, Powerpoint and PDF files directly from either a microsSD card or USB memory stick. Most documents that I tried worked fine, but some Powerpoint animations didn’t quite work as expected – to be fair, this is noted on Optoma’s website. The on-screen controls have big friendly icons in a subtle purplish hue.
If entertainment is more your bag, movies played well. Just for kicks, I connected up my new Sky Q and watched a couple of movies – it was all good fun with some big screen films. In a slightly darkened room, the picture was wasn’t bad – colours were good. The ML750ST puts out 800 lumens, according to the spec, whereas a powerful projector is 3000 lumens, so it’s not going to produce a bright image in a well-lit room. Bring the lights down and it’s fine. Sound from the built-in speaker was rubbish (what do you expect?) so take a feed from the source through a hifi or plug in some external speakers.
Next on the list of clever things is the USB WiFi dongle which plugs into the back of the ML750. Once connected to the “HDCastPro_XXXX” wireless network, you can use the complementary HDCast Pro app on your smartphone or tablet to play presentations and display media. You can zoom in and out of photos and documents, and the refresh is pretty snappy, though not quite instantaneous. It’s a handy feature and definitely much more relevant these days with the increasing use of tablets. The only downside is that while connected to the projector via WiFi, the tablet isn’t connected to the Internet…but Optoma’s thought of this, and with a little extra configuration the projector can be directly connected to the local WiFi network. The HDCast Pro app still works in the same way but now the smartphone or tablet is connected to the main wireless network and there’s normal connectivity.
Finally, Optoma have this really nifty software suite for projection mapping which helps create two dimensional visual displays, almost works of art. It’s quite clever but takes a good amount of work to do well. My efforts were a bit feeble so I’ll point you in the direction of Optoma’s website for now. I’m going to keep tinkering and once I have something half-decent I’ll bring it back to GNC.
Overall, I’m pretty impressed by the ML750ST. I’m used to projectors about the size of the phone book and the ML750ST was able to do everything they can do and more. The ML750ST isn’t exactly an impulse buy as it’s priced at GB£529 and the USB WiFi dongle is an extra GB£30, but as business purchase, it makes a great deal of sense, especially with HDCast application for tablets and smartphones. I wouldn’t recommend it for a permanent installation in, say, a training room because a brighter projector would be more suitable, but for ad hoc presentations and portability, the ML750ST is a good choice.
The projector can be bought direct from Optoma and thanks to Optoma for the loan of the review unit.
There’s a saying in photography that the best camera is the one that you have with you, and it’s a similar story when it comes to power packs for smartphones and tablets. The best battery pack is the one you have with you, and to make sure that you do have it with you, here’s the Dubleup Credit Card Power Bank, launching today on Kickstarter.
The Dubleup Credit Card Power Bank can be preordered on Kickstarter with a 15% discount for early birds. Coming in three different colours (black, silver, gold) and two connector types (Apple Lightning and micro USB) there should be a match for both colour preference and device type, though a USB C connector would’ve been cool. I’ve had the power bank for a fortnight and it seems well-enough made with no obvious problems – everything closes up, nothing catches, there are no rough edges. I think the top surface is metal and the back is a high density plastic but it’s hard to tell.
Physically the pack is 86 x 54 x 5.5 mm with curved edges and the connector is built-in, popping out when needed. On the back, there’s a power button and three LEDs showing the charge level in thirds. The height and width dimensions are genuinely credit card sized but the depth means it’s a little fat. To be fair, it was the thinnest one that I could quickly find on the internet from a vendor that I’d trust. The thinness comes at the price of capacity – it’s only 1,280 mAh which would about charge an average smartphone from 20% to full. Obviously it depends on the size of the smartphone’s battery! The charging current is 1A (not 2A) and in the box there’s a short USB to microUSB connector for charging the Power Bank.
I’ve done a quick unboxing video for the Dubleup Power Bank. I say quick but it’s five minutes but should give you a real idea of the size of the battery pack.
Overall, the Dubleup is a small solution to the everyday problem of not quite having enough power to get through the day. It is relatively expensive at AU$79 inc shipping, (US$60/GB£48), for the capacity but if the size means it’ll stay in your purse, wallet or bag when other battery packs get left at home, it’s probably worth it. YMMV. Delivery is expected in June and there are a few early bird discounts (AU$60) if you get in quick.
Thanks to Dubleup for providing the Credit Card Power Bank for review.
Less than a year after launching their first foray into the market, the team at Venturer have given their 2-in-1 Windows notebooks a quick refresh and adding an “S” into the product name. Consequently, on review here is the EliteWin S 11KT, the big brother to the BravoWin S 10KR, and these new editions are priced at an additional GB£50 over the original models. Let’s take a look and see if the new ones are worth the extra cash.
(The picture makes the keyboard look bigger than it is – it’s the same size as the screen..)
As before, there’s not much between the BravoWin S and EliteWin S models other than the size of the screens, which are 10″ 1280×800 and 11.6″ 1366×768 respectively. Both are IPS screens and at 11.6″, it’s a big tablet. The good news is that the bigger screen of the EliteWin S brings the benefits of a larger keyboard, which was my main gripe about the BravoWin when I reviewed the previous model. This time round, the bigger keyboard suits me much better, so it’s a good first impression.
As a hybrid, the EliteWin S comes in two pieces, namely the screen and the keyboard, which come together by slotting the screen into a hinge on the keyboard. The overall dimensions are roughly 30 cm by 19 cm (at the hinge) by 2.7 cm when closed up with a bit of an air gap between the keyboard and screen, though it tapers towards the front. The tablet itself is 11 mm thick. The screen can be positioned both facing into the keyboard or turned round for alternative viewing positions.
Opening the EliteWin as a notebook, the hinge rotates downwards to raise the rear of the keyboard up for a slight slope. Two rubber pieces on the hinge protect the desk surface and while the keys on the keyboard are quite small, they do travel nicely. There’s a small button-less touchpad at the front too where double tapping on the left and right side of the touchpad simulates the mouse buttons. It takes a little getting used to without any feedback.
The styling is much improved with the this iteration. Corners are rounded off and there’s a certain Surface-esque trapezoidal shape to the tablet section. Additionally, the flat surfaces are covered in a soft-touch exterior which is surprising in the first instance, but is much grippier than the usual metal or plastic. Coloured in gunmetal grey, the tablet looks much better, though the underside of the keyboard could do with a bit more styling and a matching finish.
Looking over the ports, there’s a microphone hole, HDMI mini, micro SD slot, DC power in, micro USB port, 3.5mm earphone, power on/off button, USB 2 port and Windows button. The EliteWin S can be charged both via the micro USB and the DC power in, with a PSU supplied in the box. On the back of the tablet, there’s volume up / down controls and camera. There are still no USB ports on the keyboard.
In terms of build quality, it appears to have improved. The keyboard and keyboard hinge seem quite sturdy, as before. The tablet itself is plastic although with the soft touch cover and gunmetal colour, it gives a good impression of being metal. It’s pretty sturdy too though it will flex if you force it. Though it’s not the best small keyboard I’ve ever used, it’s certainly very usable and I typed much of this article using the keyboard.
As before, the 11.6″ 1366×768 IPS screen is perfectly acceptable though it does continue to suffer a little from backlight bleeding around some of the edges. It’s most noticeable when the notebook is booting and the screen is black. It’s not something I’d worry about in day-to-day use, though. In terms of touch, I found the screen responsive and at times, I ended up using the touchscreen more than the touchpad.
Specwise, the processor is an Intel Atom Z3735F quad-core clocked at 1.3 GHz (boosts to 1.8 GHz) with 2 GB RAM and 32 GB (28 GB reported) of storage. A 64 GB microSD card is included in the box as there’s only around 16 GB of space free on the C: drive. Windows 10 Home is installed, though it’s only the 32bit version despite the 64-bit processor. There’s 11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth too.
Performance is perfectly adequate for what you might call undemanding tasks – surfing the web, watching YouTube, playing Cut The Rope – and you can have a few apps open before switching apps slows it down. Obviously this depends on the apps you are using and the EliteWin S is no Surface Pro 4, so adjust expectations accordingly. Regardless, I found it very usable. Battery life is rated at 8 hours and I got over six hours one day without completely exhausting the battery. However, it is possible to burn through the battery much quicker if you are streaming video.
The 2 MP cameras are a bit disappointing (tablet cameras usually are) but in an improvement over the BravoWin, all the cameras actually worked with the standard Camera app. Cortana interaction is much improved too and she was able to hear me clearly, also unlike the previous BravoWin.
Although I’m comfortable with Windows 10 as a PC operating system, I still struggle with it as a tablet OS. The tablet mode does help and the EliteWin S did detect the removal of the keyboard and pushed tablet mode for my approval, which was handy. The duality of Windows 10 is hardly the fault of the EliteWin, but it does make supporting the 2-in-1 nature of the device that little bit harder.
As I come to the end of the review, readers might be thinking that this review is very similar to the review I did before…and you’d be right because there’s very little difference between the generations. Cosmetically, the EliteWin S is much improved over the previous generation, so while S might stand for Speed with Apple, S equates to Style with Venturer. So….
Question 1: is it worth an extra GB£50 for the newer model? Probably. The S model looks better, seems to be a bit more robust, has a soft touch finish and it comes with a 64GB microSD card.
Question 2: Is the EliteWin S the best buy at GB£249? Harder to answer. There are definitely some competitors out there, even in the 2-in-1 space, and if you aren’t concerned about a detachable keyboard, there are a couple of options at the price point.
In terms of personal peeves, there’s not much to complain about. It’s a bit chunky, the rear of the keyboard could be styled better and an extra USB port would be handy.
Earbuds have evolved significantly from the wired junk that came with early smartphones to quality sound via Bluetooth and AptX codecs (and price tags to match). The apex of totally wireless earbuds has been challenging but in the last few months there have been Kickstarter campaigns and even Apple finally has their AirPods. A couple of weeks ago the team at Syllable sent me the D900 mini, a set of wireless earbuds complete with a cool charging case and blue LEDs. I’m in heaven, I thought. Let’s take a closer look…
Right from the start it’s apparent that the D900 mini is well designed and cleverly made. Take the charging case. There are small pogo pins in the cradle for each earbud. Placing an earbud lightly into the case lights up the blue LEDs to indicate the battery level of the case. It’s only when you close the lid of the case onto the earbuds, pushing them down onto the pogo pins, that the earbuds recharge. The lid is kept shut with magnets. All very smart.
The D900 mini comes with three sizes of eartips, a microUSB charging cable and a small suede-effect pouch. As usual, I needed the largest to fit my ears. All the sizes come with retaining hooks to help stop the earbuds falling out. The D900 mini earpieces do point forward slightly too but overall I found the fit was good and I was able to wear the headphones comfortably for nearly an hour, perhaps a little less.
There is a little weight to them so they never quite disappear from your consciousness. While the D900 mini is bigger than the standard earbud, it’s not so much that anyone really notices. With a woolly hat on, they’re completely invisible and the hat keeps them in too. Perfect for long winter walks. Having said that, I didn’t have any problems with the earbuds falling out once I had them in properly. As ever with earbud fit, YMMV.
The earbuds have only one button and that’s effectively the whole of the top surface. Pressing this turns on the earbuds, confirmed by a few tones, and a long press on the left bud will get them into pairing mode – the left earbud is considered the master. I had no problems getting the D900s connected up. (Syllable was even spelt right this time). Once paired with my OnePlus 2, they worked as any Bluetooth headset. Obviously with only one button per ear, the controls are fairly simple. Short presses on the button stops / starts music playback and accepts calls. Long presses reject calls and turn the earbuds off.
Battery life is somewhere between 90 minutes and two hours, which seems short, but given the tiny size of each D900 mini earbud, it’s pretty good. The charging case keeps the earbuds charged up so the D900s tend to be fully charged when starting to listen to music. The charging case is supposed to recharge the earbuds from four to six times. That seems about right be I didn’t exhaustively test this as I didn’t always run the headphones flat.
In terms of audio quality, the D900 mini is as good as any wireless Bluetooth headset I’ve listened to, especially in a quiet room, with good detail, rich sound and solid base. Yes, you will notice the difference against a pair of wired Sennheisers, but for (relatively) low cost wireless headphones, the sound is really good. The D900s are supposed adjust the frequency response to emphasise the bass even at low volumes, though as an engineer, what impressed me most was that both earbuds remained in step – I never once encountered one earbud playing behind the other. Really clever stuff.
Problems? I encountered a couple of minor problems with the D900 mini. Sometimes, particularly when outside, the bass would disappear resulting in a very thin sound. I never quite figured it out but I have a suspicion that it was noise cancellation or frequency adjustment not quite behaving as intended. The other issue I encountered was that sometimes the audio would drop out between one, other or both earbuds for a few seconds. It would always come back and faded in gently rather than just exploding back in, which was a better experience. I noticed that this tended to happen at the beginning of a listening session, so I’m not sure if this was some part of frequency setting or power level calibration. To be fair these were all minor niggles.
Overall, these earbuds are astonishing especially when the price is GB£40 from Amazon.co.uk (US$50 from Amazon.com). Certainly there are a few flaws but the D900 mini is incredible considering the engineering challenges, the technology and the sound quality. If these are first gen products, I can’t wait for the next iteration.
Devolo has rounded out the range of sensors in its smart home system, Home Control, with the addition of two new sensors for humidity and water (flood). Although previously announced over the summer, these devices are now available for purchase through several on-line and high street stores. The folks at Devolo were kind enough to send two units for review. Let’s take a quick look.
Both sensors use the same basic “mini PIR” design that’s shared with the existing movement and door sensors, though the water sensor has a long tail with the water detector on the end. Obviously this is so that the main part of the sensor can be mounted conveniently and the detector positioned down the back of the washing machine, touching the floor.
The sensors are a sturdy white plastic, much as you’d find any domestic security system. The rear clips off to change the battery which has a claimed life of up to 5 years. I’d be a little skeptical of that based on my experience of similar sensors in the range, but YMMV,
The sensors aren’t much use on their own and have to be paired into the Home Control central unit. All the sensors use Z-Wave to communicate with the central unit and getting them setup is easy to do out-of-the box. Simply pull the battery tab out of the back to put the sensor in pairing mode, and then use the app on a smartphone to detect and add the sensor into Home Control. The app goes through it step by step, with helpful videos presented for information. There’s a new Home Control app which is much improved over the previous version but does have a few cosmetic issues.
Once the sensors are in the Home Control environment, they can be incorporated into rules to do useful things. For example, if the water sensor detects water (under the washing machine), then send a text message or email to alert the owner. If the humidity sensor says that it’s too damp, automatically turn on the power to a fan (and then turn it off when the humidity falls). You’re limited only by available sensors and acting devices. The new smartphone app doesn’t provide rule editing features yet, so the full web app at mydevolo has to be used for the rules.
The water sensor isn’t terribly interesting as it’s all or nothing: either the floor is dry, or it’s time to call a plumber. On the other hand, the humidity sensor is much more fun as it records both humidity and temperature. The Devolo Home Control app shows the current state of the sensor and also historical data, so you can review the graphs to look for trends.
Overall, these are handy additions to the Home Control ecosystem. Each fulfills a slightly different role, in that the water sensor is for emergencies, whereas the humidity sensor has a day-to-day function. The sensors aren’t cheap, with an RRP of GB£49.99 (and they are a little more expensive than their main competitor) but if you are bought into Home Control, they’re worth considering. For me personally, the water sensor is ideal for my garage as it has a tap without a drain. If the tap is left on, even just slightly, the floor floods over a couple of days. With the Devolo water sensor installed I’d get a quick warning of the problem.
If you want to see more, there’s an unboxing video below.
Thanks to Devolo for providing the sensors for review.