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NeuTab N10 Plus 10.1 Inch Octa Core CPU 16GB ROM Tablet PC Google Android 5.1 Lollipop OS UK Plug
NeuTab N10 Plus 10.1 Inch Octa Core CPU 16GB ROM Tablet PC Google Android 5.1 Lollipop OS UK Plug

5.0 out of 5 stars Good value, impressive features... but charging speed is pitiful., 17 April 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Unlike some reviewers here, I did actually pay for this NeuTab N10 Plus tablet! With 1GB DDR3 memory, 16-Gig storage (extendable by another 32GB with a micro-SD card), 1024x600 resolution LCD screen and an eight-core A83T processor, this seemed to me to be very well specified for a keenly priced £60-ish entry-level 10.1” tablet. If this were a top-of-the-range Samsung or iPad, if I lost it, left it in the pub or on a train, or trashed it by standing on it or dropping it, I’d be seriously hacked off. The beauty of this NeuTab N10 is that at this price I frankly wouldn’t really care...

This Chinese built NeuTab 10.1” tablet doesn’t pretend to compete with a fully loaded Samsung or iPad... but build quality appears good and technically it’s a well-balanced combination of features and performance that’s more than adequate for general every-day use: It ran just about everything I could throw at it faultlessly. With Android 5.1.1 OS and impressive file support, web-browsing, games, audio/video-streaming, email and a few business apps in practice all seemed to execute faster and run far more smoothly than I was expecting. Wi-fi connected easily too: Several common-use apps are pre-installed and there’re over a million apps, films, books and games available from Google’s Play store.

As is common for all Android devices, especially those with more limited memory, the first thing you really should do is to download a “Task Killer” app from the Play store (several are free – “Purify” works well). Several common use Android apps (eg: BBC iPlayer) and many “bloatware” apps will start automatically and run in the background whenever the tablet is switched on (whether you intend to use them or not): Multiple apps all starting together in the background consumes far too much memory (and consumes extra battery power), which means that what’s left of the 1GB DDR memory can soon become slow, sluggish and annoying trying to run the app you want to no matter how fast the impressive A83T 8-core processor fitted here may be. Fortunately, NeuTab haven’t installed the excessive amounts of bloatware usually found, but even so, a task-killing app will prevent any apps you’re NOT intending to use from starting and slowing down this tablet unnecessarily. For those who want to “root” this device and simply remove privileges from these unused/wasteful apps at source, KingRoot works well: KingRoot also allows removal of any pre-installed apps and bloatware that’s of no use to you personally, freeing-up extra valuable storage space too. As always, I rooted this tablet early on and performance/speed is – with the octa-core processor - vastly improved to equal that of a well-specified/expensive but un-rooted Samsung Tab. Battery life is much longer too. But be aware, “rooting” makes the tablet more vulnerable to hacking and may invalidate your warranty, so be sure to read-up first.

I downloaded/ran a few apps including Facebook, Netflix, Youtube, BBC iPlayer, Radio, ITV Hub and several others: At 1024 x 600 pixels, the screen is not the high definition 2048x1536/264 quality of Apples’ iPad Retina display. It’s perfectly watchable, but a higher resolution and wider viewing angle (IPS) screen would’ve been preferable... although I suspect that would likely add significantly to the current overall low cost of this tablet. Nevertheless, streaming video and running games is fluid and there’s no stuttering or notable pixilation, giving smooth video replay; excellent. Usefully, a screen protector is included in the box.

Volume is limited from the built-in speaker: Decent headphones will reveal the very high audio quality actually available from this NeuTab tablet, or use the inbuilt Bluetooth to connect to external/better speakers: Downloading using Amazon's own Music App as a source, and connecting to both a £300 Samsung M5 external speaker and also a £650 Samsung TV Sound-bar with sub-woofer, the sound quality is - frankly - simply stunning... it really is that good! As is common with all tablets at this lower end of the price spectrum, photos taken with the cameras appeared a little fuzzy and washed-out, but for a multi-use tablet, its fine for spur-of-the-moment selfies and Skype use, although I wouldn’t want to rely on either for capturing your treasured Wedding event or Birthday celebration. Unusually, there's even a flash for the rear-mounted camera, and there's also a mini-HDMI socket for porting images or playing/streaming video onto your HDMI-equipped TV.

The internal 5000mAh Lithium battery started to request a recharge after 12 hours of intermittent email, web-surfing and iPlayer/Radio use with 15% charge remaining: With intensive use/applications, 5hrs constant use proved more realistic. Charging proved a problem: The supplied USB charger in-it-self is quite capable, but the micro-USB port used for charging with this charger accepts no more than a maximum of 440mAh, taking an absurd 12 hours for a full charge. I tried no less than TEN other USB chargers and battery-packs too, some up to a fast 2.4A, some “smart”, SIXTEEN different charging cables, and TWO different power meters to measure the actual charging current... through both the micro-USB port and the separate 5v charging port. Nothing I could do would charge this tablet any faster than between a pitifully slow 350mAh and equally limp 440mAh (that’s roughly equal to the current the tablet itself is consuming in actual use!). Contact with NeuTab support suggested this dedicated charger... and suddenly, this tablet charged from 5% to 100% at a near 2000mAh (2A) charge rate in just over 2.5 hours! Fabulous! Quite why NeuTab aren’t supplying a fast charger such as this as standard – or at least offering one as an extra cost option – is a total mystery to me. In my view, such a fast charger really IS essential, so my advice would be to budget accordingly.

The 16GB internal storage can fill up moderately quickly if you intend to download/store a lot of material - photos, video, music, games, apps etc: I added a Samsung 32GB micro SDHC class-10 card (currently under £10 here on Amazon) which simply slots and locks into the bottom of the tablet. The NeuTab found and mounted it without any fuss whatsoever, and reads and writes to it as quickly as if it were a permanent fixture. Great! Also worth a quick mention is that replacement screens and batteries do seem to be available on-line (currently around a very reasonable £16 each) should an accident occur.

If you’re used to a highly specified iPad or Samsung Tab, operation here can be just a little slower by comparison. The supplied charger works but is painfully slow, the cameras are basic, and the screen is acceptable but not outstanding... but that’s no different to many other tablets I’ve used, even those sold here at a much higher price than this. This NeuTab N10 Plus tablet is at this price understandably a compromise, but nevertheless it’s a good combination of features and performance that are well-balanced and well enough specified to still make it a very capable and perfectly usable tablet for day-to-day general, leisure, and business use. The latest Android 5.1.1 OS and the upgraded A83T 8-core processor perhaps place this tab a notch above much of the current competition, especially at this lower than average price.

In my view, this NeuTab N10 Plus 10.1” tablet is an impressive piece of perfectly usable, well balanced tech making it excellent value. Sold by NeuTab but shipped from here in the UK by Amazon, delivery is very quick too. For me, balancing performance, features and quality of construction against this modest cost, this NeuTab – despite its minor flaws – still fully justifies 5-stars at the current £60-ish price.

The Financial Freedom Guarantee
The Financial Freedom Guarantee
by Marco Robinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! Let’s all make a fortune from Buy To Let!, 6 Mar. 2016
This book is subtitled “The New Buy To Let Award Winning Retirement Plan”

I was hoping for some revolutionary new insight, but there’s nothing new here that isn’t already extensively blogged about across the internet. But if making money from property is new to you, reading one persons experiences contained in one book might be useful... to a point.

The book opens with 6 pages of self-promoting testimonials on “how good Marco Robinson really is”: The first page alone recants how a housewife in her first month “made $49000 without breaking a sweat”, and how Marco “made me an iron-clad, money-back guarantee... that within one year I’d be financially free”... and that they were. More on that “iron-clad, money-back guarantee” later.

There are currently more than 1.4 million Landlords here in the UK, and none of the maybe 100 that I personally know – some seriously successful, the majority less so - have experienced such an easy ride. As a Landlord myself of some 30 years, who (through as much luck as sound judgement) first managed to retire with a small(ish) portfolio of property at age 42 (I’m now 55), Marco’s “plan” as presented here isn’t all guff, but it does have more holes in it than a broken colander.

Marco’s plan relies heavily on the established idealistic principles of buying the right property, in the right area, at the right time, negotiating hard and buying cheap (below market value), borrowing cheap, improving the property, hard leveraging... using rates of 3.99%-4.5% interest only and 30 year loans, and capital growth assumptions such as “imagine in three years your property increases in value by 40 percent (this is easily achievable in the right market)”. History tells us growth of that magnitude has occasionally happened... but oddly, Marco makes scant mention that prices can also collapse by 50% in 3 years too (Ireland is just one of many recent examples). Importantly, none of Marco’s general assumptions holds consistently true over any market over the whole term you’re likely to own the asset(s). Factors outside your control will change, and if you’re heavily leveraged as Marco suggests you should be, Marco’s Property Plan is certain to fall flat on its face. It happened with the financial crash in 2007 – and before that in the 1990’s, and before that in the late 1960’s... some may even remember mortgage interest rates sky-rocketing overnight to 15% in October 1989. The impact of such uncontrollable external factors has ruined many a property investor. From what we read, it seems Marco has acquired much of his property in more recent times of rapid growth and keenly priced money (He personally owns 200 properties; 107 properties were acquired in the last 12 months).

There’s also a distinct absence of costs being accounted for in Marco’s income/yield examples – legal and financing fees, void periods, repairs and renewals, insurance, Tenancy Agreement and Inventory fees, HMO licensing costs... no account in his income/yield calculations for troublesome Tenants who don’t pay rent, smash up your property, and the legal costs of eviction (if you’ve been in the game long enough, it will eventually happen however thorough you are). In mitigation, Marco does appear to employ a magical Management Agent that manages to avoid all of this cost, trouble and inconvenience... one that works for an average of just 5% of rental income. Really? Maybe by this time I’d just lost interest and read that wrongly. Either way, the example figures are glossed over – with remarkably few exceptions, the reality isn’t nearly as attractive as it’s being made out to appear here.

Many have been lured by low-cost easy finance, rapid price growth, and leveraging (and this book relies on it)... There is no doubt that several speculators have made handsome returns using Marco’s core principles, but for most it’s easy to get caught with your “trousers down”: This book is overly confident, idealistic and optimistic, with few clues given on how to spot forthcoming market trouble, when to apply the brakes, consolidate or even liquidate your assets before that trouble hits you squarely in the face and ruins you... as it consistently has proven to in the past and inevitably will again at some point in the future (study the cycles/bubbles of house price growth and corrections over the last 50+ years – there are plenty of internet sources). The clever money spots these signs and retrenches, but Marco doesn’t seem to be concerned with such possibilities (or did I miss that chapter?). The book is titled “Financial Freedom Guarantee... a Retirement Plan”. Property values are cyclical. The market will almost certainly cycle (drop/crash) at least once before you retire. If you’re financially geared according to Marco’s plan – for most ordinary folk – it’s fiscally reckless and (I’d guarantee) almost certain to fail...

Read the story of Judith and Fergus Wilson: Two maths teachers from Maidstone who in 20 years and starting with nothing – at their peak pre-2007 – had amassed an empire of 700+ BTL properties worth £180 million... using EXACTLY the same principles Marco is endorsing here... although it was never made known how much of that £180m headline wealth was really debt/mortgage. According to newspaper reports, the Wilsons also believed that property values could only rise, and with more leveraging, further expand their empire. The property market subsequently collapsed, and by late 2009, the Wilsons were (reportedly) in serious debt with negative equity, empty properties, unpaid mortgages, court action for unpaid council taxes, and mass repossession orders being threatened. It is also speculated/reported that it is largely only because one of their lenders (holding 177 mortgages, and themselves in dire trouble with sub-prime loans) renegotiated the high loan-to-value mortgages, cutting the interest payments in half, and avoided the whole enterprise folding with bulk repossessions. Such pragmatism from a lender certainly isn’t to be relied upon.

I didn’t pay for this book and I’m glad I didn’t (it was sent to me as a free review sample). The book is an easy read, and some of the advice is undeniably sound. But frankly much of it, from my own 30 years of personal Landlord/Speculator/Developer experience, is made to appear far easier to follow than it really is... an abundance of contradictions, unrealistic/unachievable expectations, and an acute lack of risk being discussed (especially considering the heavy promotion of interest only funding and maximum leveraging). There is no balance. Maybe I’m just not bold (or stupid) enough to want to take the level of risk Marco enthuses bullishly about here, or want to work that hard at it. Marco’s “Guarantee” of your success (by the way) is assured by his underwriting your purchase price of his book plus interest at 24% PA. Great. You’ve had all your properties repossessed, you’re homeless and bankrupt, and he sends you a cheque for $58.80 (p211). That’s reassuring.

If you want to know the real truth about investing in property, explore the internet for real-life Landlord blogs, or join one of several Landlord Groups who meet to discuss their true-life experiences of property investing - including the pitfalls, of which there are many. Many property investors are indeed very successful, and achieved that success – and resultant wealth - without putting their necks in a noose...

“Banks are happy to lend you an umbrella when the sun shines, but the first sign of rain and they want their umbrella back” – My Uncle Steve, a now retired CEO of a large American Bank.
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Mylek Cube Low Energy 350ml Portable Mini Air Dehumidifier (Energy Saving Only 27 Watts)
Mylek Cube Low Energy 350ml Portable Mini Air Dehumidifier (Energy Saving Only 27 Watts)

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better performance than Amazon’s current “best selling” dehumidifier... but at the same price!, 22 Jan. 2016
I initially intended to buy the Pro Breeze 500ml - the "best selling" Peltier dehumidifier here on Amazon - which uses 20 watts of power to extract a maximum of 250ml of moisture over 24hrs (at 30c/80RH). But then this Mylek Cube caught my eye: As “the best selling Peltier dehumidifier” on a certain auction website, it costs the same price too.

This Mylek Cube is to my eye certainly better looking... but far more importantly, it extracts far more moisture under those exact same conditions: It extracts up to 350ml of moisture over 24 hours and has a larger 650ml tank. To be fair, it does use just a little more energy at 27 watts, but that still does make this Mylek Cube the most energy efficient overall and best performing of all the smaller model Peltier dehumidifiers in this class (including the Duronic, Puremate, Dihl, or AirPro – which are largely identical to the Pro Breeze model in both looks and construction anyway).

Taking this Mylek Cube apart, what I do think is really clever here is that the condenser, peltier element, and heatsink arrangement of this Mylek Cube are custom-made for this machine. It’s distinctly different from all those others mentioned which use generic off-the-shelf components; this Mylek Cube offers a far less tortuous, “straight line” air path through the machine (see the photo). That seems to give it far better air flow and circulation and I suspect accounts for that better than average performance too. The fan is made by Jane Electronics (who specialise in fans designed for permanent running): It seems to me to be generally of a higher build quality than the many found in most of these low-cost dehumidifiers (some are appallingly cheap and fail early), although it remains about as quiet/noisy as the Pro Breeze model (maybe 35db-40db?)

This Mylek Cube is powered by a separate, small, low-voltage 9-volt, 3-amp switch-mode “wall-wart” mains plug, giving the 27 watts of power needed. At a standard 14p/kwh tariff, it means that this Mylek Cube costs about 9½ pence per 24hr day to run. The cooling module itself is capable of taking more power, but the best energy efficiency obtained by any peltier module is when it’s being “under-driven”. This means the power supply is operating at 100% of its capabilities, and so (as with nearly all other dehumidifiers of this type) the “plug” power supply does tend to run quite hot when new, although they generally run a little cooler once they’ve been in use for a week or two. If there is a bad point here, it is that the supplied power-supply is itself not the most power efficient at a measured PF of just 0.5 (it should ideally measure 1, or “unity” for optimum efficiency).

I do also own several “normally sized” compressor and desiccant dehumidifiers too which all offer far higher moisture extraction rates under similar conditions: They are much better at extracting moisture from larger rooms and for “whole house” use where damp, condensation and mould might be causing more serious problems. But they are physically much larger (see photo), and they do all cost significantly more to buy and significantly more to run. This Mylek Cube Peltier-driven dehumidifier isn’t intended to compete with those: It’s only designed for small areas (perhaps as an alternative to the usual moisture traps) where there’s some heat combined with high humidity (bathroom, kitchen, wardrobe, small bedroom, caravan/mobile home etc). In these small area settings, it’s very happy to purr away 24/7 at its own gentle pace.

It has a blue LED to show it’s working, and that same LED turns red once the internal 650ml tank is full of moisture and needs emptying. The basic plastic construction is perhaps of fair quality if not outstanding, but the core condenser, peltier, heatsink and fan assembly (the “engine” of the device) - being purpose designed and made for this specific model – is I think very well constructed indeed.

Given the limitations of Peltier dehumidifiers generally, this Mylek Cube technically outclasses all the others I’ve looked at or tried in terms of small size, high energy-efficiency, and overall performance. It’s certainly technically better and in use more efficient at extracting moisture than even Amazon’s best selling Pro-Breeze. I think it looks a little more stylish too. For me, weighing looks, general performance, and overall build quality against the competition and cost, this Mylek Cube easily earns the full 5-stars for value.
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VicTsing® LCD Display 30A PWM Solar Panel Regulator Charge Controller 12V/24V 360W/720W with Dual USB For Camper / Caravan / Boat
VicTsing® LCD Display 30A PWM Solar Panel Regulator Charge Controller 12V/24V 360W/720W with Dual USB For Camper / Caravan / Boat

5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding features make this Solar Controller good value at this price-point, 12 Jan. 2016
The outstanding features of this LMS2430 PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) Solar Regulator/Controller are the high 30-Amps current-handling capability, the large back-lit LCD display which shows exactly what's going on, and the intelligent charging and control options.

The LCD displays a graphic icon to show solar panel, battery, and light-bulb (to indicate load), each lighting up when connected/available. The display also shows in a large four-digit format real-time 1) battery voltage, 2) solar panel voltage, 3) charge current, 4) load control mode, 5) charge energy. Holding the function button allows a sub-menu to set output timing options and battery low/over-voltage thresholds. The display also has load "short circuit", panel "over-current", and "battery low" indicators, system voltage (12 or 24 volt), and shows the battery charging status. There are 2 front mounted sockets for charging USB devices at 5v/1A, a green LED to show when output from the panel is being received, and a red LED to show when the outputs are providing power. That's pretty comprehensive for such a low-cost device as this.

The battery charging methodology uses the excellent "IUoU" 3-stage Bulk, Absorption and Float system to optimise the storage battery(ies) without overcharging or gassing: The control panel also allows you to a set your own low-voltage cut-off point (between 10v and 12v) to prevent draining the battery too far and causing damage. You can also adjust the minimum voltage at which the controller will then reconnect the battery to the output once lost energy has been replenished (10.8v to 12.6v).

The 12-volt output is for controlling lighting and lower current uses up to 30-Amps (overload at 39A); that excludes many high-current 240-volt inverters (which should ideally always be directly connected to the battery). The output features permanent 24-hour, manual on/off switch, or 6 user-settable timing options to allow (for example) timed lighting/load on/off switching, even automatic "lights-on" at dusk.

I bought this controller to use on an off-grid 12-volt system: In my system, as this controller chip is using PWM (rather than the more expensive MPPT), I'm only using panels with output voltages of around 20v to avoid wasting panel output, but it states the controller will take solar panel voltage of up to 40 volts. Bear in mind the number of panels needed to generate anything near that maximum handling capability of 30A (eg 3 @ 150-watts = approx. 450w/19v = 24A) may need some wiring ingenuity as the integral wiring block seems a little small for heavy/low-loss cabling to me. My 2 x 100w/19v panels work fine though, and leaves comfortable headroom to avoid stressing the components and some future solar panel expansion potential.

The core of this LMS2430 controller is an "industrial-grade" STM-8 (a flash programmed chip with real-time memory access) and MOSFET(s?): The entire rear plate is a ribbed metal heat-sink that will get hot when the controller is worked hard, so you will need to consider standing this off the mounting surface to allow air to circulate behind, or mount the controller to a metal plate for additional cooling for heavier current inputs/loads. Allowing it to get too hot will normally shorten the working life of these type of components.

The controller measures 150 x 86 x 35mm, and weighs 230gm. As mentioned, the entire rear plate is a ribbed aluminium heatsink; the front moulding is plastic screwed to this. It is NOT water-tight for outdoor or marine use. The three buttons are light-click membrane types with a good positive action. With fair use, I'd think this controller should be robust enough to last a good few years at least. In the box is an A6-sized 20-page printed manual that's actually written in good, intelligible English.

Overall: Great features, great LCD display, great power-handling ability, excellent battery charging characteristics, fair but not outstanding build. In comparison to several other PWM controllers I have owned over the last 10 years, I think this LMS2430 offers great value at this price-point, and for me that earns it the full 5-stars.
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MD400 Mini Compact Dehumidifier with Humidistat and 1.5 litres tank
MD400 Mini Compact Dehumidifier with Humidistat and 1.5 litres tank
Offered by Appliances Direct - UK
Price: £44.98

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good... when used in the right environment, 2 Jan. 2016
This Electriq MD400 is a thermo-electric/peltier driven dehumidifier that appears to be made by the Coolwhist Group in China. As one of the largest Peltier dehumidifier manufacturers in the world, Coolwhist seem to make the majority of all the smaller Peltier dehumidifiers being sold here on Amazon and elsewhere (whatever brand name happens to appear on the front).

This model – bearing the Electriq brand name - is one of their more stylish models: It features a more powerful Peltier condenser than most for increased performance, a larger 1.5 litre container (the dehumidifier stops and a “full” LED lights when the condensate bucket is full), and a built-in user-settable humidity level control with digital LED display: This last feature is a very useful yet rarely found feature on any Peltier dehumidifier. It stands 286mm tall, 180mm wide, and 134mm deep – although an extra 30mm or so depth needs to be allowed for the detachable power plug inserted at the back.

This Electriq MD400 claims to remove up to 400ml (0.4-litre) of moisture at 30c temperature and 80% relative humidity every 24 hours (the standard benchmark for measurement). At more normal room temperatures of say 20c/80%RH, that extraction rate is somewhat less at (in my tests) around 100-130ml. That’s still quite good performance for a compact Peltier dehumidifier of this size (and better than many similarly sized models), but for some that may be too low an extraction rate; the size and type of room/area together with typical temperature and humidity levels would need to be carefully considered before buying as this MD400 will only work best in an enclosed or localised area /smaller room /kitchen /cupboard /wardrobe /boat /caravan /motor-home where there’s some warmth combined with that high humidity (it isn’t designed for use in temperatures much below 15c where the condensing plate may freeze over). That may all sound quite restrictive, but these limitations are common for all smaller Peltier dehumidifiers. A compressor /condensing type dehumidifier can typically extract 20-30 times more moisture under similar temperature/humidity conditions making that type of dehumidifier better suited for larger/wetter areas, although such a machine will typically use far more energy and cost at least twice this price to buy... but a compressor (or desiccant) dehumidifier would likely be a better choice where more serious damp, condensation or mould problems exist around the home.

In my own testing with a professional hygrometer, air entering the MD400 at 18c/72%RH was exhausted at 27c/36%RH – an excellent result for a compact peltier-driven dehumidifier of this size, proving this dehumidifier does function very well indeed. But the relatively small condenser (although bigger than most competitors) and the limited airflow from the 90mm 2300RPM axial fan to drive air through the machine means this dehumidifier isn’t likely to have much impact in a room that’s too big. Also, in truth, the humidity display on this MD400 is not the most accurate, but it performs its function well in being able to maintain a set, stable humidity level. Noise levels aren’t stated, but similar models from this manufacturer that use this same size computer-style axial fan claim less than 40dB noise (Coolwhist make their own fans specifically for these units) – that’s not at all loud (relative to other dehumidifiers), but some light sleepers may have a problem trying to sleep if this were being used in a small bedroom.

This Electriq MD400 uses a separate 240-volt/60-watt (54w measured) mains switch-mode power supply that converts that power to a 12v/5A DC working supply (shown in picture). At a tariff of 13p per kWh, it would mean this MD400 will use 1.44kW of mains power costing just 19p per day if run continuously. In reality, the user-settable humidity control will reduce this consumption further by turning the device off when the pre-set level is reached, and on again if/when the moisture level rises.

I do already own 3 larger desiccant and 2 compressor/condenser style dehumidifiers of various makes for different “full house” applications (I work in property development), and my photo shows the substantial size difference between this small MD400 and regular dehumidifiers. This MD400 isn’t designed or intended to be used as a substitute for any of those in terms of performance: I actually bought this specifically for use in a ground-floor shower-room where for reasons of security and privacy (overlooking from neighbours) it just isn’t practical to open/leave a window open to vent steam – especially in winter! In such a small, enclosed, warm and very moist environment, this Electriq MD400 performs brilliantly. For a “localised” use such as this where the advantages of small size, safe low-voltage operation, a large(ish) collection bucket with auto cut-off when full, and (importantly) a pre-settable humidity control to save power when the steam has been removed, the towels are dry, and humidity has been lowered to a “normal” level, this unit is ideal. I did also try using this MD400 in a “stored for winter” camper van which had the benefit of a 240-volt mains supply and a small 200-watt electric “frost” heater maintaining at 15c; in that situation, this dehumidifier worked exceptionally well in keeping humidity down and damp out of the soft furnishings. In theory, there’s no reason why this couldn’t be run directly from a 12v DC car starter or leisure battery... although power usage would need to be considered.

There are other Peltier dehumidifiers that use a little less energy for each millilitre of moisture removed, and for me that slightly lower energy efficiency of this model does lose it one review star. But balancing its very good overall performance, better features, good construction quality and its clean, modern styling against the cost - whilst remembering the limitations of Peltier dehumidifiers generally - I’d suggest this Electriq MD400 is probably one of the better small peltier-driven dehumidifiers of its type. It won’t suit everyone or every purpose, but to my mind, within the stated usage limitations, it certainly justifies a very credible 4-stars.
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Cigarette Lighter Socket / Idealeben 12V Dual USB Car Adapter for Apple and Android Devices with Digital Voltmeter - Black
Cigarette Lighter Socket / Idealeben 12V Dual USB Car Adapter for Apple and Android Devices with Digital Voltmeter - Black
Offered by DerekGruppe
Price: £24.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly well made, 8 Dec. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
With a standard 12-volt cigarette lighter socket, a volt-meter, and 2 x 5-volt USB sockets (the positions of which can easily be changed with each other in the panel), this is ideal for adding convenient power sockets to a caravan, motor-home, truck cab, boat, van, solar battery bank, the boot of a car... or even discretely hidden within the glove-box of a classic car for phone charging or sat-nav use.

Nice details are that the cigarette socket has internal side indents that “grip” the plug in the socket to help stop it inadvertently jiggling out with vibration when on-the-move. The volt-meter is a clearly defined LED display that’s not too bright to distract, giving at-a-glance indication of the connected starter or leisure battery voltage; it measures accurately too when checked against my Fluke multimeter. Of the two USB sockets, one outlet provides 1-amp current and the other a fast 2.1-amps output; these are ideal for charging apple/android phones, portable mp3/dvd players, game machines and tablets easily from the starter or leisure battery.

The panel looks surprisingly well made from a nice matt-black ABS-type material which allows a little flex to mate cleanly with the mounting surface, and the rubberised covers offer useful protection from water/rain/little fingers when the outlets aren’t being used. Overall panel size is 150mm x 42mm; behind the panel, you’ll need about 65-70mm clearance for the sockets and wiring (see photo). Each of the inserts are properly CE quality marked (rather than the oft-found and misleading CE China Export mark).

This panel was given to me by DerekGruppe for testing and review as I was about to buy one anyway for fitting into the rear of my VW Transporter van – which doesn’t even have a 12-v socket other than on the dashboard: If this were junk, I'd say so and wouldn't be using it in my own van. But this really is a well made and useful combination of socketry on one panel and just what I needed: This adds a useful 12-volt power outlet for my cool-box and USB sockets for tablet/‘phone charging/music player and a portable LED camping lamp... without the need for long leads running from the dash and separate 5-volt USB charger(s). The built-in volt-meter should help ensure I don’t inadvertently over-drain the vehicle battery: This panel, wired directly to that battery, will also prove useful for recharging the van battery itself using my Ctek charger with its cigarette lighter charging adaptor.

There are mounting screws and standard 30-amp push fit "spade" wiring connectors provided... but no wiring instructions. Obviously a little automotive electrical fitting/wiring knowledge and in-line fuses need to be added here, but for those that need a socket panel of this type, this is in my opinion nicely made and very good value: The quality of build and attention to detail at this price easily earn it the full 5-stars. Worth noting too that DerekGruppe ship this product via Amazon here in the UK so there's no extended wait for it to arrive from overseas.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 10, 2016 11:55 PM GMT

Belkin BSV603af2M 6 Way Surge Protection 2 m Strip
Belkin BSV603af2M 6 Way Surge Protection 2 m Strip
Price: £18.24

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Less protection than older Belkin surge protectors, 14 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This newer range of Belkin Surge Protector sockets and extension leads may look more stylish, but all seem to provide far less surge and spike protection than the several older Belkin models I own.

For example, the new 1-way BSV102 provides 306 Joules energy dissipation, whereas the older 1-way SurgeCube model it replaces provided significantly more protection at 861 Joules.

I bought the BSV603 extension: 13-amps/3250 watts total load across all 6-sockets. It provides 650 Joules total energy dissipation across all three poles (LN=250J, LE=200J, NE=200J), 15,000-amps/6000-volts maximum (again much less than Belkin’s similarly priced, older equivalent model). Response time is stated as being the same; better than 1 nanosecond. As with those older models, there’s some EMI/RFI high-frequency noise filtration provided; up to 40db reduction between 150 kHz and 100 Mhz... the sort of interference that cheap switch-mode power supplies can sometimes generate (phone, USB, etc). It’s not a cure-all against all mains interference, but it can provide some electrical noise reducing benefit.

The sockets are positioned pretty close together: Normal 3-pin electrical plugs are fine, but a wider-than-normal plug-in adaptor, timer, power-supply or other device might obstruct the adjacent socket(s). Disappointingly, there isn’t any provision made for mounting or fixing this extension to a wall or surface, but the recessed power switch is a nice idea to help prevent accidental switch-off, as are the indicators to show the surge protection is still working and if there’s an inadequate safety earth connection at the socket.

The old Belkin SurgeMaster models had a lifetime replacement warranty should the surge/spike protection stop working; this new one states a 2-year warranty only. This BSV603 6-way extension provides a £30,000 “connected-equipment” warranty, but the terms and claim process seems fairly convoluted; reading through the small-print I’d think you’d need a pretty severe/costly case of failure to warrant making any claim.

What is improved with these newer Belkin models is that the active energy absorbing components (self-sacrificing Metal Oxide Varistors) are protected by safety fibreglass covers to “help contain or smother fire if a large surge causes the MOV’s to ignite”... which is not unknown, certainly with lightening strikes. Some surge protectors use thermal fuses to disconnect the MOV’s or even the complete circuit, and some manufacturers case the MOV’s in sand to suppress fire, but you’d be surprised how many makers use no safety protection at all against catastrophic failure, which is a very real if rare possibility. Even so, it’s best to unplug during electrical storms as these devices work best to suppress small, less significant spikes and surges which cause phenomena such as data dropouts and screen blips and generally shorten the working life of electronics... All domestic surge protectors of all makes are pretty ineffective against a direct lightning strike.

As a qualified electrician, I’d say general construction and electrical protection performance of these new model Belkin Surge Protectors is probably fair value at these prices: It’s adequate basic protection rather than a catch-all fail-safe measure... even if the like-for-like protection levels are not quite as good as several of the older Belkin models I still own and use. But the enclosed MOV’s of these new models is certainly a valuable safety and “peace of mind” improvement over some other makers models, and in my view make this product more worthy than several others I could mention.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 16, 2016 10:54 AM GMT

Swees 14000mAh Portable Power Bank Charger External Battery Pack (Dual Smart USB Port, 3.5A Output) for iPhone, iPad, Samsung, Nexus, HTC and More - Black
Swees 14000mAh Portable Power Bank Charger External Battery Pack (Dual Smart USB Port, 3.5A Output) for iPhone, iPad, Samsung, Nexus, HTC and More - Black

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid build, 2 smart-charging ports, and a true 14000mAh... Great value!, 8 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This Swees PB07 14000mAh portable charger seems to me to be a good balance between size, weight, power and price.

The 14000mAh Li-Po battery equates to a battery capacity of 51.8Wh: In reality, in a cycled charge/discharge test using a fixed 2-Amp resistive load and a Drok power meter, I measured the capacity to be exactly that... a true 14,668mAh. Excellent.

Both of the “smart” USB ports “handshake” with the power-management chip in your device to enable maximum/rapid charging speeds of up to 2-Amps per port (3½-Amps total when both ports are being used). That’s often a faster/quicker charging speed than the manufacturer supplied mains charger, provided your device allows it.

As most Apple/Android/Windows smart-phones use batteries between 1800mAh and 2200mAh, the high 14000mAh capacity means around 6 full charges should easily be achievable: In reality, it’s the age and condition of your device’s battery as well as it’s capacity, and how deeply that battery is discharged that will also affect the true number of charges you’ll get, so it’s pointless making any specific claims of “I charged my iPhone 3 times, my camera twice, and my tablet once”. All that can be said is that – when measured - this Swees PB07 does deliver the full 14000mAh capacity it claims (and that can’t be said of a few other battery packs that I either own or have tested in the past).

Charging of this Swees PB07 battery is by the standard micro-USB port; using a fast 2-Amp mains charger or USB port takes about 7 hours. A 100cm USB to micro-USB charging cable is supplied, but note that this pack cannot be used to charge a device whilst it is itself being charged. The power level is indicated by 4 small blue LED’s on the top of the pack, and the side-mounted press-button switches it on and off (it turns itself off when the device is fully charged or disconnected). The case is printed to show capacity, CE, RoHS and FCC safety/emissions certification, so there shouldn’t be any problems passing airport security when taking this Lithium pack aboard a flight.

At 272 grams, this PB07 is a slick, solidly built, yet comparatively lightweight design that fits easily in the hand, pocket or bag. A nice detail is that the black plastic casing appears to have a subtle silver-metallic fleck in its finish, making it appear just a touch classier than the regular black of most others. There’s a full one-year guarantee too.

This is the second battery bank Swees have supplied to me free of charge to test and review: That it was “free” doesn’t alter my personal opinion/judgement in the slightest. As with that previous Swees battery pack, when you balance the quality of construction, the smart-port features, and the genuine (measured) power available, Swees again deliver a portable battery pack that fully meets the advertised claims... and again at a cost that’s somewhat lower than many of their competitors. I just can’t argue with the excellent value being offered here. 5-stars.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 28, 2016 12:42 PM BST

6000mAh 2-Port (2.1A Output) flashlight Portable Charger with smart quick charge technology for iPhone 6 Plus 5S 5C 5 4S iPad Galaxy S6 HTC One Most other Phones and Tablets(White)
6000mAh 2-Port (2.1A Output) flashlight Portable Charger with smart quick charge technology for iPhone 6 Plus 5S 5C 5 4S iPad Galaxy S6 HTC One Most other Phones and Tablets(White)

4.0 out of 5 stars Solid, stylish, nicely compact... but a little light on power, 31 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If all you need is a compact battery pack capable of giving your smart-phone or tablet an extra 2-3 charges whilst you’re out and about, this could be a good choice.

Although the pictures above don’t show it, it’s branded “Romoss - Sense 3”.

There are two ports, one giving 2.1 amps, the other 1.0 amp, or a combined power output of 2.1 amps. A short press of the power button switches the pack on or off; holding the button for a couple of seconds and a bright-white LED provides a useful (if basic) torch function too. 4 top-mounted orange LED’s show the charge level in (roughly) 25% increments.

Most smart-phones use batteries between 1800 and 2200mAh: This battery pack is rated at 6000mAh (the case is marked as 22.2Wh@3.7v): In a measured discharge test using a Drok power meter this pack delivered a little less – typically giving around 5000mAh at cell voltage. Usefully though, you can charge your device whilst this pack is itself being charged (not all packs allow that). A mains charger isn’t included, but any standard USB mains charger or USB port will do, taking about 4 hours for a full charge at 1.4-amps.

At just under 200gms in weight, it’s comparatively light, solidly constructed, and at 101x61x21mm, the curved-edge case fits nicely and feels comfortable in the hand.

In the box comes a flexible 47cm long white USB to micro-USB charge cable, and (disappointingly) a not-English manual. The box itself states a 1-year warranty is provided.

This is one of several portable battery packs I’ve either bought myself or now been sent by Amazon suppliers at no cost for testing and review (this Sense 3 is a free review sample): Most are of larger charging capacity and physical size. Some are better built and seem more robust than others. When actually tested and measured, some do deliver their rated power whilst others fall woefully short.

This Sense 3 is one of the smaller size and capacity of the many now available. That capacity in my tests measured a little short, but delivered enough power for 2 full phone charges with some to spare. Being physically smaller and lighter than many, it’s ideal for carrying in a pocket or bag/purse.

Coupled with the basic torch function, I’d say this Sense 3 is ideal for day or weekend trips away rather than long holidays or intensive festival use where a larger pack might be better suited. It’s certainly solid, stylish, and compact, and even if this sample did prove to be a little short on power, it wasn't significant and measured better than several others I’ve tested. 4 stars.
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PYRUS Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker 3600mAh Portable Power Bank, Bluetooth 4.0 with NFC, 2x3W Stereo Bass Sound, Built-in Microphone Wireless Speakers- Black
PYRUS Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker 3600mAh Portable Power Bank, Bluetooth 4.0 with NFC, 2x3W Stereo Bass Sound, Built-in Microphone Wireless Speakers- Black
Offered by PYRUS UK
Price: £19.99

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bluetooth speaker AND battery bank for recharging, 30 Aug. 2015
This Bluetooth speaker claims to contain a larger-than-normal 3,600mAh battery to give you up to 10 hours of listening time AND the ability to charge your ‘phone/tablet from the built-in USB socket. Great idea!

The claimed 2 x 5 watts power output stated above is marked as 2 x 3 watts on the box. Whatever the truth, it’s still noticeably louder than a few others I’ve tried, even compared to my 8 watt Revo Axis when used in Bluetooth mode. A closer look shows this PT390 uses at least two 40mm front-mounted drivers, and it sounds as if it relies on bass-porting to achieve the extended 20hz-20,000hz frequency response Pyrus claim: This means that orientation/placement can notably enhance (or limit) the sound quality, but when placed with some care it can sound great. There can be some resonance (rattling) when the volume is pushed hard, but it goes pretty loud without distortion. For a compact speaker measuring 66 x 66 x 170mm and a not excessively heavy 600gms, the sound quality is surprisingly good (many of the others I’ve used don’t give bass lower than 60hz).

Audio connection is either by an included 54cm long 3½mm-3½mm jack stereo audio cable, or by Bluetooth v4.0 which works up to a claimed 10m range in free space; I easily got a reliable connection over 7-8m, less through walls/obstacles. There's "NFC" too (Near Field Communication) that enables Bluetooth connection simply by bringing your phone/tablet within a few centimeters of the speaker, which worked well. The English voice announcements of “power on”, “power off”, “discovering”/“connect me!” (waiting for a Bluetooth signal), “pairing”, and “battery low” are a nice touch, and it’ll turn itself off after a few minutes when there’s no signal or the host has been turned off.

The internal 3,600mAh Li-Po battery is bigger than the 1,200mAh usually found: This gives much longer playing time with the added option that the you can also use some of that power to recharge a phone or other USB device either separately or whilst using the speaker (a micro-USB to USB charging lead is included). You can charge this speaker and also charge a device from it whilst listening too, which I found very useful. In Bluetooth mode, this PT390 claims to work for up to 10hrs (it’s less at high volume), with a standby time of better than 90hrs. A full charge takes 3-4hrs (it charges at around 0.7A): A red LED flashes 1 flash when the battery is low on charge, and up to 4 rapid flashes when nearing full charge; that LED goes off completely when fully charged. The manual doesn’t mention anything about this flashing sequence to show the battery’s state of charge. In reality, I measured the actual battery capacity to be 2802mAh@3.7v cell voltage in a discharge test using a Drok power meter: That’s less power than stated (as many of these capacity claims often are), but it’s enough for a full charge of an android/apple phone with some power to spare.

The packaging also states “waterproof and shockproof” but then contradicts itself with the statement “Water Resistance: IPX4”. IPX4 is technically “splash-proof” and not fully waterproof. Perhaps I’m quibbling, but I’d think “light shower and knock resilient” might be nearer the truth.

If you can move beyond some of these marketing claims, omissions/errors and even a reference to a different model in the manual (all of for which this product loses one review star), it doesn’t detract too much from what you’re getting here: This unit does seem solidly built and does perform surprisingly well. I particularly like the tactile silicone outer sleeve which gives it a rugged look and makes it easy to grip.

Pyrus did supply this to me at no cost for the explicit purpose of giving it a good thrashing and writing a review: If it were junk I’d say so... but it isn’t. The solid feel, compact size and modest weight belies its’ impressive, powerful, fully rounded sound, and comparatively large internal battery which makes it especially suited for on-the-go use. Whether at home, or away on holiday or a weekend trip, this is a useful combination of Bluetooth speaker and portable battery bank. For this money, I still think this PT390 represents very good value and well worth 4 stars.
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