While most will know Brando for ‘Everything USB’ they do have other items in their portfolio and here is one a Weather Station complete with an external measure and a plus point over lots of others the internal unit can be both wireless and wired.
This weather station comes with one external sensor as well as the internal unit so you get both internal temperature and humidity readings as well as a four colour weather symbol. The main unit is 14.5x13.5x1.5cm and weights 213grams with three ‘AAA’ batteries inserted. The actual display is 10x8cm. The external unit is 11x5x2cm including its small stand this weights 63grams with two ‘AAA’ batteries inserted.
While the main purpose of this is to improve the air quality for those who unable to cope with less than perfect quality, I found quite by chance another feature of the product that might improve the chance of success with a partner.
Not the first one of these devices to get tested by myself. This unit arrives ready assembled but not ready to use as the filters although in place are sealed and need their plastic wrapping to be removed and discarded. So follow the instructions to open the unit remove the wrapping around the filters and replace in position.
The Homedics MyChill Personal Space Cooler operates on the evaporative cooling principle and can sit on the corner of one’s desk to provide a localised stream of cooled air.
Roughly 20 x 17cm and 20cm high, it is light grey and white in colour and has adjustable louvres at the front to direct the air flow which the makers claim is effective up to a range of about 4ft. On top of the machine there is the power on/off and the fan button which steps between the two speeds at each press of the button. Dependent on the speed, either one or two LEDs is lit.
Smart devices for the home continue to be a hot topic with both manufacturers and users. The latest such offering to come my way is the Lightwave brand developed by LightwaveRF.
LightwaveRF has been in the business of developing devices to turn the home into a Smart automated area since it introduced the market’s first Internet enabled products in 2008. During the intervening period up to the present day, the company has produced devices to help with the monitoring of aspects of lighting, heating and power through the Lightwave platform and its collaboration with Amazon, Apple and Google Smart home offerings.
This is a column fan described as a ‘Mini 15ʺ Desk Fan’ but it also works just as well on the floor, any fan is likely to disturb papers and while this at lower levels did not do this the rotating action of the unit is likely to catch the eye when on a desk.
The fan is round at 4 inches diameter and not surprisingly 15 inches tall, the vents are between 5 and 12 inches from the base and the five wide openings are spread over 2 inches and are five deep so a total of 25 vents, each is 2/10th of an inch wide and around an inch deep they are slightly staggered.
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.