Wyze Battery Cam Pro is useless right now without a subscription..

Wyze has introduced an upgrade to its outdoor battery powered security notification camera. This one is called the “Battery Cam Pro” and unlike is predecessor will operate without the need for a hub. You can see my unboxing short here on Amazon.

One of the things I like best about the new design is that it works with a removable battery. So you don’t need to bring the entire camera inside to charge it. The battery also has a USB-C port built in so no additional charger is required. Wyze also sells extra batteries so you can always have a charged one ready to go.

Unfortunately this new Wyze cam has all of the limitations of their other current models when it comes to using the device without an ongoing subscription. This is something we covered recently on the channel.

Without paying for a Wyze subscription the only thing the Battery Cam Pro will provide is a still image of what happened to set it off and access to a live feed that allows for two way communications.

While the camera does have an SD card slot Wyze has not yet implemented support for it. Wyze says SD card recording of motion events will come in September and that’s when I’ll review it. Until then the product is not yet complete – especially for people who don’t want an ongoing cost of ownership.

First Impressions of the Pixel Fold

I recently had the opportunity to unbox and get a firsthand look at Google’s Pixel Fold, their entry into the foldable phone market. This is the first foldable device I’ve ever had the pleasure of handling. My latest video is a rundown of my initial impressions.

As I unwrapped the Pixel Fold, the first thing I noticed was its weight. It felt heavier than the standard smartphones I’ve used, likely due to its dual screens.

The phone sports a screen on the front and unfolds to reveal a larger display. One thing that immediately caught my eye was the visible crease when the phone was fully opened. It’s more pronounced than I anticipated but it’s a characteristic of the current foldable tech.

Both OLED displays are vibrant and crisp, and the concept of transitioning from a standard phone display to a larger tablet-like screen is intriguing. The device isn’t overly thick, but it’s certainly chunkier than a regular smartphone.

Google included some tips for maintaining the screen’s integrity, emphasizing the importance of avoiding getting sand and other materials caught in the crease and not removing the pre-installed screen protector. The box also contained a USB-C charging cable, an OTG adapter, and a SIM popper. However, a notable omission was the charger itself. The phone charges over USB-C and works with Qi compatible chargers too.

The Pixel Fold boasts a Tensor 2 processor, 12GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. There’s no SD card slot. It has a fingerprint reader integrated into the power switch for unlocking the device quickly. The Fold is equipped with multiple cameras: a front-facing one and another inside for video calls, along with three on the back. The rear camera includes a 48MP primary camera, a 10.8MP ultra-wide, and a 10.8MP telephoto lens.

The Pixel Fold is an exciting piece of tech, and I’m eager to delve deeper into its features and capabilities. The ever-present crease might be a point of contention for some, but it’s a small trade-off for the versatility the device offers. I’ll be spending more time with the Pixel Fold and will share a comprehensive review soon. If there’s anything specific you’d like to know, drop a comment, and I’ll do my best to address it in my upcoming review.

Disclosure: the Pixel Fold was sent to the channel free of charge by Google.

Unboxing Some Cheap Gadgets from TEMU.com

As a tech enthusiast always on the hunt for cheap and useful stuff, I couldn’t resist diving into the world of TEMU.com (affiliate link), an online schlock house that offers a variety of inexpensive gadgets and other cheap stuff in just about every product category imaginable.

In my latest YouTube video, I shared my unboxing experience, revealing a mix of surprisingly useful items along with some of the crap I expected.

First the good stuff:

I got a $20 face tracking smartphone camera mount that performed surprisingly well. The best part was that all of its face tracking was done on the hardware itself and did not require an app. Another win was a relatively low cost wireless lavalier microphone kit. While it was not as good as my expensive Sennheiser gear it was pretty good for a couple of bucks. And the super cheap knock-off Apple pencil was recognized as an Apple Pencil by my iPad at 10% of the price. The only feature it was missing was pressure detection.

There were of course a few letdowns in the mix. The tiny action camera I received didn’t work, the $12 “smartwatch” had non-existent health sensors that delivered false results and the $10 1080p webcam delivered a washed out image with a microphone that sounded like I was underwater.

Without a proper customer review system it’s hard to know what you’re getting from TEMU. Many products pop up and disappear when stock runs out only to be replaced by the same item with a different brand name. In short you get what you pay for at TEMU so be prepared for disappointment. But you may encounter some delight when a cheap gadget turns out not to be a piece of junk.

Caveat emptor!

Xbox Series S Unboxing and Media Player Review

I got a great deal on an Xbox Series S the other day at Target. They were selling them for $249 and the deal came with a $50 gift card! When I picked it up at the store the gift card didn’t process for some reason they took $50 off the purchase price. So I ended up at $200+ tax.

Check here to see if the deal is still on (affiliate link). It does look like they have plenty of stock. I’m also experimenting with a new affiliate platform that dynamically looks for the best in stock price which you can follow at this link.

I made two videos with my shiny new Series S. The first on my Extra’s channel is an unboxing and comparison vs. the much more powerful Series X. The TLDR is that beyond the added horsepower the Series X has an optical drive which is lacking on the Series S. So those who have a large library of older disc based Xbox games will not get much use out of the S as it can’t currently access the discs!

The second video looks at the Xbox as a streaming media device. As we have previously noted the Xbox does do a pretty decent job with Plex so I was curious how it fared with streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video, etc.

Unfortunately it falls short in a key area – none of the apps I tested successfully switched the television into 24p mode. Who’s fault is that? Likely the app makers as we know the Xbox is capable of doing this and even has a setting to enable 24p switching!

The Apple TV still reigns supreme when it comes to 24p playback but it’s not so great at Plex. Unfortunately we don’t have a box out on the market at the moment that does everything right !

Extra’s Video: Unboxing and Initial Impressions of the Steam Deck

After almost a year since I put down a deposit my Steam Deck finally arrived in the studio! You can watch me unbox it and hear my first impressions in my latest Extra’s channel video.

Valve has attempted a number of different hardware products over the years including the Steam Machines, Steam controllers, VR headsets, etc. Their devices have always been a little hit and miss to me, there was always something lacking. It feels like all of what they learned from past mistakes resulted in this product. It’s great.

The performance is excellent although as pointed out by my friend Metal Jesus Rocks having only a 1200×800 display vs. something higher resolution helps there. But the overall software interface and hardware quality feels on par with anything we’ve seen from Microsoft and major PC manufacturers. The fact that Valve is controlling the whole stack here including the OS is impressive, especially given how polished it all feels.

It also corrects some of the wrongs of past SteamOS iterations insofar as Windows compatibility is concerned. Thanks to its Proton layer most of your Steam library is likely runable although some games not verified “on deck” might have some issues. Valve does a pretty good job pointing out what to expect on those.

In a livestream I did yesterday I was able to get Windows working through an external drive. I’ll have a little bit more on that topic soon.