If you know what Amazon Alexa can do then this Hub from Google goes one stage further. It is a 7inch Landscape touch Tablet with the extended back being the speaker to give excellent sound and it sits like a triangular object.
A small amount of documentation that came with the unit led to link my Nest camera to the unit at first I could find no way to get it to give the cameras live view but the moment I said ‘Hey Google show Nest Camera’ I got the live feed shown by my camera, I realised that this device does really learn and as it currently understands 444 Apps….
I am sure we all have all the devices – and more – available as single tools, however in this small multi tool offering, but when you need them can they be instantly located. You are more likely to find them if located on your keyring and this comes with such a ring attached.
The tool comes in a fabric case with the keyring attached to the ‘multi tool’ via a short 3cm chain, this enables the tool to be in the case rather than rubbing a hole in your pocket as it would without the case. The total weight with the case is 81grams. The multi tool is when folded in on itself is 8.5x3x1.5cm and as it fits snugly in the case that has a Velcro flap, that is the overall dimension as well.
Occasionally I get the chance to stay in what is called a four - or even - five star hotel for a night and quite often I am left amazed as to how far standards have dropped, for instance finding a stained ironing board and iron in the wardrobe so when the opportunity to review a small traveling iron came up I said yes please.
Don’t get me wrong I am certainly not a snob and in normal circumstances only handkerchiefs and the occasional shirt get ironed but if one is in a top hotel you probably need to look your best for a dinner or other such event. This is a light unit at only 441grams (less than one pound in total weight) in the 16.5x15.5x5cm box. There is also a drawstring bag if you prefer to take it in that way. The iron itself is 12x7x2.
While vegetarianism and veganism and both becoming more popular I am of an age when a Sunday Roast is still my meal of choice. However everyone is more safety conscious and while eating pork pink is acceptable meat does need proper cooking and the larger the joint the more important it is that it is properly heated through hence a meat thermometer is required, even in the home, especially if the meat has previously been frozen.
While I have used several other meat thermometers this is the neatest rather like a small good quality biro in size. It is 13cm long and only .5cm around, it weighs only 10 grams. The difference between this probe and all others I have used is that it stays in the meat during cooking which means you never need to open the oven to check the meats temperature. It sends signals via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to an Android or iOS App.
Having used numerous types of glues that include the notorious Super Glue here something rather different a mouldable glue marketed under the name of Sugru. I was sent a pack in what they call earth colours of Red, Green, Brown and White.
It’s been a while since a new VAX vacuum has come my way. Here an offering that the demonstrator held up with two fingers of one hand and as far as I know he was not a weightlifter so it is quite a light unit that can be used on floors, upholstery or ever picture rails.
A handheld stain and odour removal so if your pet misbehaves it need not be a disaster. So this is not a carpet vacuum or carpet room cleaner this is a handheld battery operated spot cleaner so ideal for an accidental spill or pet misbehaving.
The Bissell Stain Erasermeasures 40x11x16cm and weights 1845grams when empty. Apart from the main cleaning unit there is a different brush head the mains lead to charge the internal solid battery and two 236mL bottles of cleaning liquid which are Spot and Stain and OXY which a small amount is mixed with the water you inset in the unit. No flashy box or packaging just a plain brown cardboard container it seems at least one company has heeded the warnings on waste and recycling.
While I have a Nespresso machine I like the taste of Cappuccinos and Dolce Gusto machines do one as good as a decent Barista can make but of course there are two great advantages, you make them at Home and they are a quarter of coffee shop price.
It is 37cm tall, 26cm from back to front and 12cm wide. A rather modernistic design it can hold up to two pints of water. Unlike other machines this come fully assembled and once you have removed the plastic covering the shiny finish you just need to run some water through in case there are impurities from the production line.
I am sure we all get spiders in the bath and I am told that autumn is the peak time. While some things freak me out, spiders are not at the top of my hate list but really large ones can be challenging especially those that do not want to be put in a glass to be disposed of.
So this tool supplied by Robert Dyas could be the answer especially if one metre if quite close enough to get to one if they do freak you out. Another advantage of the one metre length of the handle is that you do not need to get on a chair for those spiders who are higher up unless of course you have extremely high ceilings. The head is made of groups of 8cm long white plastic bristles interspersed with single bristles.
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.