8bitdo Zero Mini Gamepad Review

Summary

The 8bitdo Zero is a tiny gamepad meant to replace on-screen buttons for phone games, that also works well for emulation. The build quality is pretty solid and the shoulder buttons have a nice click. Just keep in mind that this thing is TINY! It might not be the best device for someone with bigger hands. Also, it is missing some buttons compared to an Xbox controller, so don’t expect to play AAA titles on the go with it.

It is reasonably comfortable as long as your hands are not too big, the build is decent and the buttons work well, so it’s got my recommendation.

Please watch the video for more information.

Links

8Bitdo Zero on Amazon USA

8Bitdo Zero on Amazon Canada

8Bitdo Zero on Amazon UK

International (Cheaper) Link


Keeken HL01 and N56 Dual Dashcam Review

 

Summary

The Keeken N56 + HL01 is a dual dashcam kit that features two real 1080p video streams, an OV4689 sensor for the front and a Sony IMX sensor for the rear. This kit is pretty close to a replacement for the Viofo A119 front facing and the A119S rear facing, at a significantly lower cost. There are a few little issues with the video quality but overall it has been solid and reliable in my time using it.

Features
  • Dual 1080p + 1080p video streams
  • 1440p 30FPS or 1080p 60FPS (when using only the front facing camera)
  • Mic can be turned on or off
  • OV4689 front, Sony IMX rear sensor
  • Capacitor for better performance in varying weather conditions

Upsides:

  • True dual 1080p on a budget
  • Easy to set up and install
  • Great audio quality
  • Excellent rear facing camera

Downsides: 

  • Video is a bit too blue
  • Occasionally highlights are blown out
Links

Samsung Galaxy S9 Camera Review + Versus a 3 Year Old Flagship

Summary

This is a review of the Samsung Galaxy S9 camera (not S9+) after using it for a month. If you just want to see the comparison to the old LG, skip to: 5:06

Is it really worth upgrading? Well, if you’re using a smartphone from the last 1 – 3 years and you’re still happy with it, I don’t see why you would. Many of the hyped features are things the average user won’t really notice or care about in day to day use. The camera is WAY better in low light but the old phone still holds solid for day time. The S9 has one of the best screens on the market and a fantastic camera, so I would recommend buying it if you need a new phone or if the camera is a big deal to you (or get the S9+ if you want the bigger screen, I personally don’t think the dual camera is worth the upgrade alone).

The camera is great, though. I won’t lie. I just don’t think it’s worth upgrading if you’re happy with your current device. There’s a lot of hype around these devices and sometimes it’s justified, but other times it’s a bit blown out of proportion.

Upsides:

  • True 12MP photos with a good amount of detail
  • Dual aperture for better low light shots and sharper daylight shots
  • Noise kept well in check in low light
  • Video quality is very good, especially stabilized 4K
  • Video stabilization is very effective

Downsides:

  • User interface is a bit clunky, especially in pro mode
  • Sometimes in low light the camera shutter speed is too slow making it difficult to shoot clear photos
  • HDR mode is inconsistent
Links

 


Lenovo Yoga 720 15.6″ 2017 4K 2-in-1 with GTX Graphics Review

 

What I like:

  • Sharp display with accurate colours and deep blacks
  • Excellent typing experience
  • Solid build quality
  • Stays cool during operation
  • Decent trackpad
  • Tight hinges
  • Smooth pen experience

What I don’t like:

  • Some PWM on display if backlight is dimmed
  • Port selection could be better
  • Potential screen issues with this model

Specs as reviewed:

  • i7-7700HQ 7th Gen Processor
  • 16GB DDR4 Ram
  • 1TB Samsung SSD
  • 4K IPS Display (BOE)
  • GTX1050 2GB
  • Touch screen with pen (separate purchase)

Conclusion: Since Lenovo is likely going to update this model for 2018, there are some solid bargains on this laptop if you don’t mind 7th gen hardware. It’s quite a capable device for work on the go, plus the flip screen and decent sounding speakers are great for media consumption. It doesn’t get too hot nor too loud  while doing heavy tasks. There are some caveats that come with the price though: the potential screen issues and limited ports. Apart from that, this laptop seems to be great for day to day use, light gaming and media consumption.

Where to buy:

Amazon USA

Lenovo Canada Direct (buy it via Ebates, to get some cash back).


FeiyuTech WG-2 Wearable Gimbal Review

 

The Feiyutech WG-2 is one of the more inexpensive wearable gimbals and features a water resistant construction. Its stabilization quality may not be as high as more expensive devices but it does a good job when paired with cameras that have their own built in stabilization (such as the Hero 6 or the Firefly 8S). I recommend comparing sample videos from this camera with its competitor, the Zhiyun Rider M, which is a little bit more expensive but from the samples I have seen it tends to have better overall quality when it comes to micro-stuttering.

Buy this gimbal here.

Check out a decent, cheap smartphone gimbal here.


MGCool Explorer 3 Unboxing and First Review

Note: any compression you’re seeing in the sky is a result of the video being rendered by me, not the camera. There isn’t that much compression noise in the sky normally.

This is an unboxing and initial review of the MGCool Explorer 3. It’s a nice looking camera and that’s what originally drew my attention. I’m a bit disappointed that this cam is missing the 2K resolution that the T5 Edge has, because otherwise I like the way it looks a lot and the menus are easy to navigate. The 2K res and the 4K res on the T5 Edge have the same bitrate which means less compression artifacting on the lower res. I don’t expect this cam will be updated though. MGCool has not had a good history of updating their cameras. Nonetheless it’s definitely worth a consideration and this is likely MGCool’s best camera to date, but if the Edge is cheaper check that out instead.

I got the cam from Gearbest. Check out the links below to buy it for yourself:

Buy T5 Edge: Click here.
Buy this cam: Click here.
Buy Firefly 8S: Click here.


DJI Mavic Air – Unboxing and First Look

 

Yeah, ok, I’m in love. This is one of those times where it’s worthwhile to spend the extra money on the premium product, if you can.

Having this drone takes away a lot of the stress of travelling with a drone. The main issue I was concerned with about the Mi 4K was the size: since it is a lot more bigger and intrusive I was concerned customs may have issues bringing it into other countries. But yeah, my budget for buying a 4K camera for my b-roll went out the window with that one. Guess that’ll have to wait.

The one thing I didn’t consider before buying it is that it is SO SMALL that I can’t launch it off of mid length grass or mulch or many surfaces because the blades would hit. A drone with taller landing gear can take off in more places. A flat surface is an absolute must (or launching from your hand, but that can be dangerous and I do not recommend).

I’m going to try and get a couple more videos up before my trip including a vlog talking about the trip planning, a new surprise action cam review and hopefully the video quality comparison between the Mi Drone and the Mavic Air.

Like / subscribe to support me, or use the links below before buying anything on Amazon:

Mavic Air:
USA Amazon | Canada Amazon

Mi Drone (bigger, cheaper, but good video quality):
International Link


Xiaomi Mi Drone 4K – Full Length Extended Review

Click here to buy on Gearbest.

Build Quality

In the unboxing I mentioned how solid this drone feels and I stand by that comment. The build is a solid textured plastic and this thing is heavy. The step up from a $200 drone to a $500 drone is quite apparent here in the way the drone is designed and built. It is quite handsome with its white textured finish and gold highlights; albeit this design is very similar to some DJI drones. The drone is slightly modular for transport: the propellors and the camera are easily removable without tools; and then the legs fold in making it almost entirely flat for transport. This is a big drone, though, so it is not the easiest to travel with.

The only thing about the build quality I am not fond of is the way the battery is seated. It is very difficult to remove. I’m sure that this is to prevent the battery from falling out during flight but the thing is there’s no dedicated lock switch or even a solid click in place when the battery goes in, and I’d rather rely on a more solid lock than a simple clip and friction.

The memory card goes into the ball of the camera. I’m going to make an important note here: this drone cannot read cards that are formatted in EXFAT which means that you can only use up to 32GB. It seems to be fairly picky about cards too so make sure to use a fast brand name card or you may get card errors while trying to record when it runs out of buffer.

Android App

The app works well enough on Android phones. Plug your phone in by USB and turn on the controller. Wait for your phone to detect the controller then enable USB tethering from your settings. Switch back to the app, where it will attempt to connect to the drone.
Once connected you are greeted with this world map view. From here you have the option of viewing the drones location on the map or viewing the video life feed. At the top of your screen here you can see the status of the drone and it will say “Could take off” when it’s ready to go. If you get a compass error at this point, I’ve found that picking up the drone, turning it left then right then placing it back down fixes this.

There are a long list of options. You’ve got your beginner mode, which limits altitude, speed and distance; ATTI mode which is more of a manual flight mode, along with different GPS settings, camera settings and max altitude settings. The only setting I would like that I haven’t been able to find is a sensitivity curve for the controller sticks. I find that the controllers are very sensitive and bank hard left or right with a slight tap.

On the video feed mode you can start or stop recording, or switch over to photo mode and take pictures, but there are also buttons on the remote that do this and they’re far easier to reach.

Handling

From power on to take off takes about 2 minutes of fiddling. Unlike a manual drone, the Mi drone needs to find a solid GPS signal, warm its batteries to an optimal temperature, align its compass, and do a bunch of pre flight checks. This is because the drone needs to know where to return to if it runs low on battery. It is a good thing because that makes it a lot more difficult to lose the drone but it also means that if you have a critical and time sensitive shot sometimes you may miss it while the drone is starting up, and I really don’t recommend rushing the startup. If you take off too quickly and the GPS is not locked, the drone may act up for the first minute or two of flying.

Once it’s in the air though it handles great. The initial settings are a bit slow but all that can be adjusted via the app. As I mentioned earlier there is a beginner mode, which limits speed and range, so it’s easy to start with. There is an automatic takeoff and landing function too. This drone is so easy to fly that my parents could do it (and they’re not tech savvy).

I took it out on an extremely windy day to see how well it would hover in place and it did not move more than a meter in any direction. The drone was being pushed back and forth by the wind like crazy but when looking at the footage of it from the drones perspective it did a very good job correcting this.

Range will depend heavily on location. Near the city where there is lots of interference I noticed that video signal will get, at most, a few hundred meters. Out in the farm fields I got way farther, about 2 KM with a reliable video signal. I also noticed that the direction the drone is facing will affect video signal range too – with the camera facing away from the controller it goes farther with video signal.

Thankfully if the drone does go out of range it will not fly away or fall out of the sky. It starts returning to its launch point based on the parimeters you set in the app. When it does get back in range you can control the return to home with the thumb sticks or cancel the return to home.
There is no collison avoidance though so you really need to pay attention to trees and buildings when it is doing its return to home, or if you set a way point for it to fly to. If you do set way points with different altitude it will be a smooth rise to that altitude so if something high is in the middle of your way points it will not go up and around. You can specify return to home altitude in the app, which I recommend double-checking every flight to ensure that you won’t hit anything if you do lose connectivity.

Video Quality

 

Video footage is extremely crisp and stable. It’s almost entirely free of micro-stuttering and micro-wobbling and it looks excellent displayed on a 4K screen. My footage looks great, even as as someone who is still learning techniques for flying and filming. A lot of the footage I’ve gotten with the drone looks like it could have been shot by a seasoned veteran.

All of the footage you’ve seen so far is shot in the default settings, 4K at 30 FPS. The drone also has a 2.7K at 60FPS mode and a 1080p at 100FPS mode for ultra smooth slow motion. All modes are stabilized using the gimbal. The best mode, for details, is the 4K30 and the 2.7K 60. The other modes I wouldn’t touch unless I was shooting a project that specifically required 100FPS because the difference in detail is quite significant.

4K has heaps of detail even when viewed on a big screen. Noise is kept to a minimum during the day time and colour is accurate for the most part. The default footage tends to expose a little on the darker side in order to prevent highlights from being blown out, but this results in footage that is ideal when post processed – not necessarily ideal right out of camera. There are settings for saturation and it is possible to bump up the brightness when flying but I find the right spin dial to be a little on the sensitive side so it is difficult to bump up the brightness smoothly.

When video files are saved to the memory card they include a low resolution ‘thumbnail’ file, presumably for the app to transfer quickly to your phone if you want to save the footage. I believe this is also the video that is tramsitted to you when you are viewing the feed live.

Transitions between bright and dark aren’t the smoothest, and that’s really the only minor nitpick I have about the video this drone films. Check out what it looks like when the camera switches shutter speeds: it’s not a smooth fade, so it kind of happens in steps.

Many people have mentioned issues with the gimbal horizon being wonky but I did not find that to be an issue. A recent firmware update seems to have fixed it.

No audio is recorded with the video, so if you want audio you will need an external recorder.
Even low-light shots look pretty good thanks to the stable gimbal. The low light footage does not have as much detail as daylight but it’s good enough that almost everyone will be happy with it. I wouldn’t use the drone at night as it will not pick up much detail under street lighting (plus, here in Canada it’s illegal to fly at night). If you’re going to be primarily flying at night I’d recommend steping up to a professional drone with a bigger image sensor.

Still Photo Quality (JPG and RAW)

Still photos, as JPG, are fine. Raws have a lot of noise that requires correction in post processing. I’d recommend sticking to JPG unless you absolutely need to as RAWs from this require a lot of correction to be usable. At least they’re in the common DNG format. When you take a photo, the live feed from the drone freezes for up to five seconds while it is writing to the card.

I’ve stitched photos together into a high resolution panorama and if you take the time to do a dozen or so shots by turning the drone and angling the gimbal you can stitch together a full 360. I don’t believe the drone has a way to do this automatically like the DJI drones do though.
Photo mode is completely separate from video mode and I haven’t found a way to take photos while video is being recorded. It’s no matter, though, as you can extract stills from the 4K footage and they look almost as good as what a full resolution photo would be; just 8MP instead of 12.

Battery life

The drone is rated for 28 minutes of fly time and that seems to be accurate. I’ve gotten on average, between 20 and 30 minutes from take off to landing depending on how I’m flying and the weather. When the battery reaches 30% it will warn you to land immediately and slow the speed you can fly at, so keep in mind if you’re far away it may limit your ability to return. Once it reaches 15% the drone will automatically land.

Conclusion

So overall would I recommend this drone? Heck yes. I’ve had a great experience flying with it and although it has some quirks, they’re all little trivial things that can easily be overlooked. I’m happy with the drone, and I think you will be too. Keep in mind brands like Mi do not have much in the way of overseas support so if something goes wrong you’ll be on your own: but the good news is that parts are readily available so if you do break it, fixing it can be fairly straightforward.

 

Panorama stitched from drone photos.


ThiEYE T5e vs T5 Edge – Sunday Showdown

ThiEYE T5e Benefits
  • Way more options for video control (sharpness, ISO, mic volume)
  • True 2.7k60, 1080p60, 1080p120, 720p240
  • Flatter and more neutral color
ThiEYE T5 Edge Benefits
  • Stabilization at 4K, 2.7K
  • Significantly better UI
  • Stays cooler during operation
  • Wider dynamic range
  • Slightly better exposure handling
  • Slightly better stabilization
  • Warm and vibrant color
Where to Buy

ThiEYE T5 Edge

ThiEYE T5e

For both cameras (and Akaso V50)

Video Transcript

The Thieye T5 Edge and the T5e are significantly different cameras. My goal with this video is to help you decide which would work best for you.
Let’s start with the unboxing. It’s been a while since I unboxed the T5E but I remember it coming with two batteries and less accessories whereas the Edge comes with a few more clips but only one battery.

Build Quality

In terms of build quality, the cases of these two cameras are almost identical save for the orange markings on the Edge. From the back, the sides, and the bottom these two cams are identical and they even take the same waterproof case and batteries. The biggest difference between these two cameras comes when you turn them on. First off, the screen on the Edge is noticably dimmer than the E. They both have good viewing angles though.

User Interface

The user interface of the Edge is way better than the E. To show you what I mean I’m going to count the number of clicks that it takes to change the video resolution from 4K to 1080p. (timer this) On the edge, you hit the up arrow to enter the video settings menu, then hit the down arrow, record button, down two more times, record, then menu to return for a total of 7 clicks. On the E, it takes 19 clicks to do this same simple task. You have to cycle through the modes, through the playback, then scroll past 10 different video resolutions, most of which an average user is not going to ever need. And it gets worse when you want to change other camera settings because the menu is one long list. The edge, on the other hand, has its menus cleanly broken into different sections for video settings, photo settings and camera settings so it is far easier and takes less clicks to find what you’re looking for. The options that the Edge has are more basic, and that means it is missing several customization options: the edge does not have settings for sharpness, ISO, mic volume, or field of view, all of which the E has buried in its long list.

Real 4K

Both cameras have real 4K at 30 FPS but there is one key difference: the Edge has stabilization at 4K while the E does not. The E excells in 1080p 60 and 1080p 120, where it has far more detail. If you want higher resolution and don’t care about frame rate, the Edge is the cam for you but plan on using 1080p60 primarily you’ll probably be better off with the E. Since we’ve got the Edge on the left, lets talk about where it is best first: high resolution modes. Mounted on my bike handle bars these cameras have to deal with a lot of bumps and shaking, and side by side like this it’s hard to see the difference, so let’s look at one clip at a time.

The Edge in 4K has a decent amount of detail although perhaps slightly less than the E. I find that it also has some slight compression artifacts in smooth gradients like the sky and the clouds. Let’s take a closer look at each camera, and slow it down a little. At half speed you can see that the footage looks pretty damn good but if you’re on a big 4K screen you might see some compression noise in the form of blocks or a slight lack of smoothness in the gradients. Some of that is Youtube and some of that is the camera. The E also has a bit of noise up close but again it’s no big deal. Let’s compare that to the E.

The E footage has very slightly more detail. It’s such a slight difference that you may need to freeze and zoom into 100% to see it, but take a close look up on the trees in the distance. On the Edge it’s just a bit more smudgy.

The difference in actual resolution is kind of a moot point because unless the E is mounted on a tripod or placed on a stable surface like a table the video from it is less useful than the Edge, thanks to the stabilization. Check out the difference between stabilized and unstabilized footage and you’ll see what I mean. Also, I noticed while filming this, that the Edge stays way cooler than the E. The E gets hot at 4K resolution!

1080p 60 and High Frame Rate Modes

Let’s flip things around now and look at 1080p video, where the E is the clear winner. The difference in the amount of detail the two cameras resolve is startling, with the E being far sharper. It’s almost as if the Edge is actually shooting video in 720P, and then upscaling to 1080p.

As per usual we’ll start with the Edge up close. The video isn’t terrible, far from the worst 1080p 60 I’ve ever seen. It is a true 60 frames per second, so it can slow down to half speed and still be reasonably smooth; but still check out the grass and the pathway compared to the E. It too is a true 60 frames per second but it also resolves real 1080p. The E also has several slow-mo modes that the Edge does not: 2.7K 60, 1080p 120 and 720p 240. Quite frankly, if the Edge had stabilized 2.7K 60FPS it would be the perfect camera, but I can dream. Having the option, even if it does not have stabilization, is nice because it can be used on a gimbal or flat surface or with a proper stabilizer where with the Edge you’re stuck.

The point of this section was to say that if you want slow motion or you plan to use 1080p60, maybe stick with the E, but if you want higher resolution then the Edge is the better choice due to stabilization.

Stabilization

Speaking of higher resolution, on the Edge, both 4K and 2.7K are 60 Megabits per seconds so I prefer the 2.7K mode. I think this is the best mode on the camera, so lets step down to 2.7K for the rest of this comparison. I’ll be using the 1080p60 on the E so you don’t have to suffer without stabilization.
We’ll take a close up look at the Edge first of all. The Edge does a decent job with stabilization and although it’s not as powerful as some high end cameras it is quite good for the price. It maintains a good amount of detail without loss of resolution. The video stays flat with stabilization distortion being well corrected and there’s little wobble.

And now lets see the E. Remember that the E is in 1080p 60 because this is the highest resolution it offers stabilization in. The stabilization is pretty good too. Which one do you think does better? Let me know in the comments.

Colour and Exposure

It’s hard to say which colours are more accurate; I think that the Edge consistently pushes a bit towards warmer yellows, which you can see on the concrete compared to the E. At this point it’s basically preference. I find that the Edge is a bit more vibrant than the E, as well it is definitely warmer in many situations. The Edge is the clear winner though in terms of dynamic range. There were several times where I felt the Edge looked overall better, especially when there was a lot of contrast in the scene like during bright daylight. Check out the cloud in the top right. The Edge has detail throughout the cloud whereas on the E it’s a big bright splotch.

Low Light and Night

Low-light is kind of a toss up between the two cameras. In some situations the Edge is a bit brighter, but as it gets darker and darker both cameras get more smudgy due to noise reduction. In a dark situation the stabilization on both cameras are ineffective. The Edge can get brighter than the E, but at the expense of detail. For most people either camera will be good enough but my personal preference sways slightly towards the Edge.

Audio Quality

Audio quality between the two cameras can only be compared with some samples. The Edge just got a new firmware update that promises improved audio quality and I have to say, I really notice the difference between the new firmware and the old one but it’s still not as clear as the E. The Edge has a bit of a problem where it sounds echoy and hollow, as well sometimes it peaks and clips the sound with a harsh crackle. The new firmware improved this a little. Check it out:

Still Photos

Well, this will be based on your preference again; If you prefer the brighter and more dynamic colours of the Edge and can put up with the slightly smudgy details it is better, but if you prefer the sharpness and way that the E resolves detail

Conclusion

I tried my best to make this video not confusing but it was quite difficult since the two cams are named basically the same thing. It looks like for most situations I like the Edge more though, which was a massive surprise. The only things I really think the E are better at is audio and high frame rate modes.

It seems like the hunt for the perfect budget 4K camera is still on. I’d be happiest with a mash-up of these two camera to be honest. It seems like, when buying one of these cameras, you need to take into account what each camera is best at and figure out what you want to prioritize. A lot of cameras out there that say 4K are junk but these two seem to be on the higher end. They’re still not perfect but each iteration is getting closer.

 

 


Akaso V50 versus ThiEYE T5 Edge || Cheap Real 4K Showdown

The ThiEYE T5 Edge is very slightly better than the V50 in almost every way (lens, stabilization, user interface), but it’s not enough to justify the 30% higher price on Amazon. The V50 has a more rounded accessory package too. If you can get a deal from an overseas seller the Edge is a marginally better cam, otherwise stick with whatever is cheaper on Amazon.

The T5 Edge is currently only 10 GBP more on Amazon UK (and that’s worth it imho but 30+ difference isn’t)

Author’s note: I forgot to note when I showed a cropped 4K and 2.7K sample, so if you’re wondering why the quality of those two shots are so poor, now you know. They’re cropped in!

Links

Akaso V50 – USA and Canada
Akaso V50 – UK

ThiEYE T5 Edge – USA and Canada 
ThiEYE T5 Edge UK
Cheap / International Seller 

Spare Batteries for Akaso V50 / T5 Edge and charger kit (international seller)

Akaso V50 Charger / ThiEYE T5 Edge Charger only
Single spare batteries for Akaso V50 and ThiEYE T5 Edge

Batteries, UK

Please note: the above links are affiliate links. I get a small kickback if you use them to purchase a product. It helps my channel grow and make more videos like this. Thanks for your support!