By Don Lindich
Week 44, 2023
It is November already and with it, the holiday season. Through the end of the year I will have a few gift recommendations at the beginning of each column, featuring products from many different categories and price ranges. Hopefully there will be a little something for everyone, and I will frequently have recommendations under $100.
Kicking things off is the Hupejos V80-4CH, an absolutely fantastic dash cam that is currently available for almost 50% off. Besides the fun of recording your travels, dash cams have become a must-have for rideshare drivers, delivery drivers and even the general public because they show what is going on in and around the vehicle. Having recorded evidence of accidents or altercations is invaluable, and many dash cam owners have been grateful they had video records of the occurrence. (Such videos abound on reddit, and the “Convenient Cop” reddit is very interesting.) The best dash cams like the V80-4CH can record simultaneously in multiple directions, and its features are a veritable wish list for any driving enthusiast or dash cam user. The Hupejos V80-4CH offers forward 4K video recording, voice activation, night vision, GPS, and an available radar parking monitor that detects and records activity outside your vehicle when it is parked (requires $40 adapter.) It has the heft and feel of a high-end product, is intuitive and easy to use and the video quality is outstanding. Normally $299.98, the V80-4CH is currently available on Amazon for $169.98.
Next is a portable power station and solar panel from Lumopal. I received excellent reader feedback regarding the Lumopal 300W, and the new Lumopal 800W/650Wh offers significantly more power and capacity in a package that is not much bigger or more expensive than its smaller stablemate. Portable power stations are very useful for providing emergency power in the event of a power outage and for providing AC power and USB charging anywhere you may need it, from camping to a tailgate party to out in the yard. A great addition to either is the new Lumopal Portable 60W Solar Panel that folds into small, lightweight package with a handle, like a tiny laptop case with a tough fabric shell. Unfold the panel and you can use it to charge phones, computers or even a Lumopal portable power station. Both units sell on Amazon. The Lumopal 300W is $279 and the 800/650W is $449. Each comes in a combo with a camping box and the solar panel. The 300W combo is $357 and the 800W/650Wh combo is $537.
Q. I own a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon turntable, which I consider to be an entry-level component. I want to upgrade my cartridge/stylus and an currently using the included Ortofon 2M Red cartridge. I see some cartridges are astronomically priced. What do you think would be a good upgrade without spending a fortune? I don’t want to buy a cartridge that is beyond the capabilities of my turntable. I would also consider upgrading the turntable for $700-$1,000.
A. You are on the right track matching the cartridge to the turntable. Your Debut Carbon may be entry-level, but it is still a very good turntable. I suggest getting the $209 Orotofon 2M Blue stylus, which will plug into your existing Ortofon cartridge body without any mounting hassles and provide a dramatic increase in performance. It is currently on sale for $159 so I would act quickly if this is the direction you want to go. The best-selling $599 Cambridge Audio Alva ST turntable continues to be my top turntable recommendation under $1,000 if you want a brand-new turntable. cambridgeaudio.com