A black leather book with creamy white pages looks very innocent until you open it, red, blue, green, purple and white light emerges in sequence from the pages, yes not a book at all but a light powered by three ‘AAA’ down the spine.
This mood light measures 16x13.5x2cm and weighs 270 grams. Anyone opening this not so little black book is certainly in for a surprise it is held shut by magnets and you need to exert a good force to open it at all. At first I thought there must be some tape holding it shut but no it’s just its magnets. So no addresses, phone numbers or emails of past or present lovers or friends just a light so here the black book has a new twist.
A new name to me but I got up at the crack of dawn – or what is the crack of dawn to me at my age – and travelled through the London rush hour for a briefing held at a house in the Kings Cross area of London to get to know their products, I liked what I saw and in time you should hear about three of the items I saw, first an overview of their whole range.
If you have a decent bicycle you will know that keeping it safe from being stolen is not easy and in the back garden of the house I saw a number of locks that would defy almost all thieves and send them looking for an easier target. These range from locks and chains to multi sided metal that will make bolt cutters small enough to carry ineffective. They have locks with key entry so small that picking them would only work in TV programs.
A lot of homes will have a Dimplex radiator, they are ideal for an extra splurge of heat. The latest offering does exactly that and a bit more for a start it can be remotely controlled by Bluetooth and an App but while earlier offering had a thermostat not much else, with this you can set in advance the times to go on/off automatically and still have a manual override.
In the past most electric radiators were oil filled, this offering from Dimplex has no liquid in it at all and test show this heats up a room quicker and for less cost than the oil filled alternatives, it has another plus it is lighter to move around. Open the box and remove the radiator it is 42x55x13cm, it has two feet (each with two castors) and these increase the width to 30cm and add 6cm to the height.
So many of these latest crop of bulbs have screw fittings and even if you have a suitable fitment they tend to be too fat to screw in, so when I was offered a pair of Bayonet fitting units that can be used either with a SmartPhone App or a remote control I said yes please.
The bulbs themselves are about the same size as a 60watt filament bulb but do weight around three times as much. If you fit one in they will turn on normally with a white light but the magic happens when you use the supplied remote control or even better with the SmartPhone App as you then have any shade of white or any colour you want you can even set them to strobe - ideal for a party.
Having recently told you about a larger unit from Dimplex here is something a lot smaller and intended to work in smaller spaces such as maybe a damp cupboard or wardrobe rather than a larger room the main reason is the small water tank capacity.
The VAVA Quiet Portable 700ML Dehumidifier measures 26cm tall, 15cm wide and 10cm deep, it weighs just under one kilo. I used this in my small bathroom for a week and it extracted just under one litre of water that for those who have not converted is just less than two pints. The VAVA website talks of (US) oz of liquid which I find hard to follow but one litre was easily held although the maximum stated on the downloadable .PDF file is 670ml.
When I inquired about one of their Dehumidifiers it was suggested that Gadgetspeak readers might also be interested in this small personal heater that is ideal for just heating a small space, it also has an added plus but you will need to read on to ascertain what that is.
The overall size of the heater is 16cm tall at the rear, 13.5cm at the front; it is 10cm wide and 12cm deep. There is a hard wired mains lead that is 150cm long that emerges from the base of the back. The sloping top has a 340 degree rotation on/off switch that controls the heat level. The possible power is 250watts a thermostat cuts it in or out at a set level. It sits on my desk 15cm to the left of my keyboard and depending on how cold my hands are affects the amount I twist the heat control.
Over time descriptive terms can come to have different meanings. I am thinking in particular of “smart home”. While my parents would have taken “smart home” to mean a place that was neat and tidy without needing any decorating, you and I, as member of the current generation, would use the term when describing the plethora of interlinked devices within the modern home.
In some cases a modern “smart home” could be regarded as a one-stop shop with all the various elements belonging to a single brand but this is not always possible. For a variety of reasons, some users opt to mix devices from different brands which can cause communication problems. Offering to help ease any communication issues between devices of different pedigrees is the UK developed nCube product.
I have an older property and one side of my building especially prone to damp in fact I have had a Dehumidifier in use in one room for 35 years. However recently things have got worse and a second more transportable unit allows it to be moved about between the other two affected rooms the bathroom and kitchen and it can even be used to help dry clothes.
It is 53x18x30cm and weights close to 13Kilos. Dimplex do three models in this range each with a slightly different water storage capacity, I was sent the middle offering the 16litre, the figure relates to the amount of moisture it can extract in 24 hours. For really bad areas of damp the unit can be connected to drain automatically but I very pleased to say my case is not that bad so the internal tank can be emptied as required. The tank capacity is 2.3litres.
In the weather that prevailed just before Christmas fixing a new door bell was not the most pressing thing on my mind, or course once fitted the various groups of carol singers that seem to materialise can safely be ignored from your indoor comfort.
It was only when the thermometer rose slightly that I persuaded myself to install it and as it has video I can then safely ignore all those ringing my doorbell trying to sell ‘x’ or ‘y’ the worst I find are those who start off by saying ‘I am not selling anything’. While a video doorbell may for some seem ‘anti-social’ for those with disabilities or those of us who are older they become more important.
An alternative to a standard light fitment fitted with a bulb for special effects like colours or moods is to have something like this offering from ‘jedi lighting’ which provides the whole gamut of colours, shades and effects in a single clip on fitment.
It is controlled by a supplied remote control so unlike other such offerings does not require Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to use. The only things not included are the three ‘AAA’ batteries and possibly a magnifying glass for the limited multi language instructions provided on the box. A few minutes with the twenty button remote control that also has a double centre joystick (another six choices) and a flip switch on side, so yes the instructions on the box are inadequate.
I thought it would be good to take a longer term look at a few products, some of which will no longer be on the market but that will give an insight into the quality and concerns of different manufacturers. First up is this JVC mini hifi.
After a couple of years getting by with an ad-hoc combination comprising various wireless Bluetooth speakers I was sorely missing a 'hifi' box with good speakers and quality sound. After shopping around I settled on this product from JVC. I can't say the decision was very informed.
Brando used to use the strapline ‘everything USB’ this was rather disproved by an excellent electric screwdriver set recently reviewed that used standard batteries to power it stil looking at their website most thing are still USB orientated.
A lot of homes need a Dehumidifier as there is too much moisture in the air or even the walls of a property but almost as nasty is having a too dry atmosphere especially if you have frail people, by trying to keep a home warm you could also make it too dry.
This item from Philips is circular 33cm tall and 22cm wide. It is in two parts with the point where the two parts join together being slightly wider than the top or the bottom. Where a Dehumidifier starts without water in its talk and stops working when the tank is full a Humidifier cannot work without water in it and once its tank is empty it will stop working until more water is poured into it.
Moods can come and go, often influenced by outside conditions such as lighting.
Cinema, television and theatre directors have proved over the years that different lighting conditions can evoke a variety of moods within the audience. More recently this technique of using lighting to create an atmosphere is being used by companies developing lighting equipment for use in the home environment as a mood generator.
Not a small creature that lives in bedding but a bedside light that has no less than twenty two levels of brightness from a dull red up to a bright white. Designed primarily for young children I must admit that it has been a hit with me.
The Lumie Bedbug measures 16x10x10cm and is supplied with a 1.5metre micro USB to mains plug lead. However should it be required it could run off a standard micro USB to USB lead which could be powered from a charging port on a notebook or other device. As an experiment I also ran it using a ‘PowerBank’ mobile phone charger as the input and this worked correctly as well. This would be ideal when mains power is not available.
One of the stranger items that was in the bag from Amazon at their Christmas In July event - and checking round this is the last item yet to be reviewed - or those received. While it is rather late to start planting for cropping this year everything apart from gloves are supplied in this kit.
As its now well into the autumn I will not get a chance to test these out till next year. I have however opened the box and read the dual language sheet to try to get an idea of exactly when and how to proceed. My normal gardening goes as far as cutting things down and mowing the grass so actually watching something – other than weeds – grow will be a plus and it might even mean I have a partially green digit.
I am sure we all know how to make money disappear, the trick is to make it reappear again and while I saw this trick demonstrated when visiting one of the ‘Xmas In July’ events. The wallet it is meant to work with arrived but so far I have failed to make money disappear or reappear.
The demonstrator had a £5 note in one side of the wallet he opened it again and it had gone, reopened it and it was there again. So sadly all I can tell you about is the wallet. It consists of two separate parts both 10.5x8cm, the first part is a small zip up purse on one side and a clear side for the reverse. The second part has three credit card slots on one side and the other side being clear.
Having had a rather good fan in my office for some of the hottest part of the summer now a slightly different device this one from Philips aimed at those who may struggle without better air quality so here the Philips Air Purifier.
This Philips Air Purifier measures 66cdm tall, 35cm wide and 25cm deep. It comes assembled but not ready for use as you have to unwrap the filters which although in place are sealed until removed unwrapped and reinserted. The filters are in line, first the HEPA filter, then the NanoProtect AC and then the Pre-Filter. All the controls are on the top surface and are invisible when the unit is off.
Certainly not my favourite job and one that only gets done when things get really bad or as in this case when I am sent a tool to take the hard work out of cleaning windows and best of all remove the mess so all you see is clean windows.
I seem to remember a strap line that I think referred to a vacuum cleaner ‘so easy to use even a man can use it’ it seems appropriate here but no doubt if someone used it today there would be a pack of lawyers claiming certain laws had been broken. So I will simply say I found it easy to setup and use and yes I am a man.
Often things arrive at totally the wrong time of year, sometimes however they arrive exactly when you can get the best from an item, here one of the latter category a column fan during the hottest part of the year and over the next few weeks it got lots of use in both my office, lounge and bedroom, in the case of the last mentioned because it was nearly silent.
This column fan measures just over a metre tall and around a quarter of that size at the base, it weighs just under 5.4 kilos. It can rotate 90 degrees or be used in a static position. It is ribbed all the way up in horizontal increments and starting 27cm from the base there are 59 rows of three spaces where the air is expelled. The area they cover is slightly decreased as they near the top. The top edge is slightly sloped and the manual controls are on this area.