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C. MacPhail RSS Feed (Solana Beach, CA USA)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

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SanDisk Ultra II 240GB SATA III 2.5-Inch 7mm Height Solid State Drive (SSD) With Read Up To 550MB/s- SDSSDHII-240G-G25
SanDisk Ultra II 240GB SATA III 2.5-Inch 7mm Height Solid State Drive (SSD) With Read Up To 550MB/s- SDSSDHII-240G-G25
Offered by CircuitCity
Price: $109.99
26 used & new from $99.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Some Notes for Desktop Install, October 18, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
.
First of all, have a good laugh at those of us who paid $200+ 18 months ago. Use camelcamelcamel (google it) to see if the current price is at low tide, or temporarily inflated.

Love it. No problems so far. Excellent way to speed up your system.

My quick test wrote a 1.12GB file in under 4 seconds. Same as my Crucial m4 (2012) SSD. Check other reviews for more expert tests.

- - - Mechanical Install - - -

1. Don't assume you need a "drive bay adapter kit" to work this 2.5" drive into your 3.5" drive bay. On my Dell Studio XPS, using an empty drive bay was the wrong plan. It goes much better nearer the current hard disk. Power connector reaches.

2. This "drive" weighs 1-1/4 ounces! (37 grams). In a desktop computer, you can mount it with sticky-back Velcro or whatever. Just so it doesn't hit the fan.

3. SATA III cable. You need one. About $3. Don't skimp on length. Stated lengths are theoretical tip-to-tip lengths.


Axgio® PowerStream X2 Silver 5200mah Portable Backup Battery Charger Power Bank.,5V / 1A USB Outputs for iPhone, iPad, iPod, Samsung Devices, Cell Phones, Tablet PCs and More
Axgio® PowerStream X2 Silver 5200mah Portable Backup Battery Charger Power Bank.,5V / 1A USB Outputs for iPhone, iPad, iPod, Samsung Devices, Cell Phones, Tablet PCs and More
Offered by Axgio US
Price: $22.99

4.0 out of 5 stars No problems., October 16, 2014
.
Competing with this Axgio X2 are many name brand battery packs in the $14 to $26 range (with 12 to 18 month warranties, and sometimes better features).

When selling for $20, this is a nice alternative to the rectangular models.

It looks and feels like good-enough quality, and it works fine.

Axgio's smaller X1 model had a problem with the threaded end cap, but this model might not have the same problem. I suggest you not open the end caps...the battery is not easily replaced anyway on the X2. (See Note 1.)

Warranty looks a bit feeble at this point (see Note 2).

- - - Pricing - - -

Prices jump around. You can check price history and set an alert using camelcamelcamel.

WISH LIST:

- It would be nice if it somehow indicated battery status (33%/66%/100%).
- It does not auto-start (you need to push the button)
- It would be nice if the LED bulb was recessed...not asking to be cracked or broken

- - - Alternatives - - -

- Poweradd 5200mAh with AC adapter (recently $14)
- EasyAcc 6000mAh (recently $20)
- Eachine 6000mAh with 2 embedded cables (recently $25)
- Anker 6400mAh with PowerIQ, 18 month warranty (recently $26)

- - - Disclosure - - -

The manufacturer gave me this item for review. I believe my review is impartial.

- - - Notes - - -

Note 1: Thread seized on the Axgio X1 model. See my Axgio X1 review for details.

The threads have not seized in this larger X2. It has similar construction (aluminum threads that are not lubricated or anodized) but there is no spring in the end cap, so maybe less stress on the threads.

Note 2: Warranty: a) No info on amazon site. b) Axgio site says 12 month warranty, customer pays all shipping costs. c) Product box says "18 moth [sic] from original purchase date".

~~~ Comments & questions welcome ~~~


Axgio® PowerStream X1 Silver Breett 2600mah Power Bank, mini Compact External Battery Portable USB Charger for iPhone, iPad, Samsung, HTC, Cellphone, Tablets and More
Axgio® PowerStream X1 Silver Breett 2600mah Power Bank, mini Compact External Battery Portable USB Charger for iPhone, iPad, Samsung, HTC, Cellphone, Tablets and More
Offered by Axgio US
Price: $15.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Nice price. Threads seized on mine., October 11, 2014
.
These "lipstick" style chargers make perfect sense if you care about size and weight.

Competing with this Axgio are...

- Lots of no-name, no-warranty models for $6 to $8.

- RavPower 3000 and Anker 3200 models for $15 to $20

This branded alternative for $13 sounds good.

Mine had a problem with the threaded end cap (see Note 1) which you could overlook if you open it rarely or never. Many other chargers do not open at all.

Warranty looks a bit feeble at this point (see Note 5).

PROs:

- Compact & lightweight
- Branded product with a warranty of sorts (see Note 5)
- Known quality Samsung battery inside
- Less expensive than other name brand products (when $13)

OKs:

- Looks and feels like acceptable quality, not great (see Note 2)
- Replaceable battery is a great idea, if not for the seizing threads problem
- No flashlight (I prefer no flashlight)
- Capacity checks out OK -- Charged my iPhone 6 (1810mAh battery) 0.87 times (see Note 3)
- The user guide is flaky. (see Note 4).

CONs:

* Endcap threads tend to seize (see Note 1).

WISH LIST:

- It would be nice if it somehow indicated battery status (33%/66%/100%).

- - - Disclosure - - -

The manufacturer gave me this item for review. I believe my review is impartial.

- - - Notes - - -

Note 1: Thread seize - It's a real problem. Reviewer "Nicholas Winn" warned me about this, so I was super careful. I carefully unscrewed and replaced the cap twice. I was super careful when I put the end cap back on. It did not cross thread it, though I did tighten the cap firmly. It went all the way back on. The seam was perfectly even, proving that I did not cross thread it (did not put it on crooked). When I went to unscrew it again, it seized after about 2 turns. Aluminum-on-aluminum threads are very prone to this if they are not coated or lubricated. It's called "galling." Maybe Axglio will solve this, or you could try some Vaseline or plumber's grease yourself. I notice that on most aluminum flashlights the end cap threads are anodized, but they are bare aluminum on the Axgio. Not sure what other lipstick chargers do.

Note 2: Look and feel - Everything looks OK at a distance. Close inspection reveals some minor issues...edge burrs, etc.

Note 3: Capacity - I got 87% of one charge on my iPhone 6 (1810mAh battery) This is in line with 10+ other battery packs I've tested, maybe a little low. 1575/2600 = 61% efficiency. The Axglio did not get very warm at all, so I thought it would be a little higher. I tested with the phone in Airplane mode. When testing a second time I got 85-86% of one full charge.

Note 4: User Guide - It has typos and factual errors. It describes a flashlight function that does not exist. The "Checking Power Capacity" section is very unclear. It says you need to press the button to start charging, when in fact it is auto-start.

Note 5: Warranty: a) No info on amazon site. b) Axgio site says 12 month warranty, customer pays all shipping costs. c) Product box says "18 moth [sic] from original purchase date".

~~~ Comments & questions welcome ~~~


Truffol DuraSound Ultra Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker, Built-in Speakerphone, 8 Hour Playback - Black
Truffol DuraSound Ultra Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker, Built-in Speakerphone, 8 Hour Playback - Black
Offered by Truffol
Price: $29.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compared to Solememo N11: Better and Worse, October 4, 2014
.
- - - Summary - - -

I have lots of sub-$50 Bluetooth speakers. The sound quality and power of this one is near the top. A huge improvement over laptop speakers, of course. The look, feel and design details are "good-enough." If you're a newcomer to this category, you might say "Wow, it sounds great for such a little speaker!"

Prices are coming down. I would like to see if some of the similar looking $20 speakers are as good as the $35 models. I would like to see if some of the $50+ models are much better.

- - - Compared to Solememo - - -

Compared to Solememo N11, this Truffol is...

► Sound quality is similar - "good for its size"

► Power is similar - Fills a large living room if it's not very noisy.

► More compact - 22% smaller

► Delay is 0.14 secs vs 0.10 secs (matters when watching video) (see Note 1).

► Status announcements are better and worse (see Note 2).

► Look, feel, and design details are OK for both (see Note 3)

► Dust and lint collector (see Note 3)

► No micro SD slot or lighted touch controls

► Has NFC communications (which iPhone 6 does NOT support)

I have not yet checked out similar looking models in the $20 price range, such as Solememo N16 and Roker Sound Cube.

- - - Disclosure - - -

The manufacturer gave me this item for review. I believe my review is impartial.

- - - Notes - - -

Note 1: Audio delay - It matters when watching movies, TV, YouTube, or any type of video, if lips and words are too far removed. Most Bluetooth speakers and headphones I've tested have a .08 to .13 second delay, which your brain will find acceptable when watching video. Truffol's .14 seconds is not ideal, but you may find it acceptable. All tested speakers have zero delay when connected with a cable. #sync

Note 2: Status announcements. These are handy. Solememo's are more comprehensive. It includes "Battery Capacity (25/50/75%/Full)" and "Audio Input / Bluetooth Mode." But Soloememo's announcements are also more cheesy (inconsistent accents, [crazy tone sequence] = Power Off).

Note 3: Both speakers look fine to the casual observer. If you look closely, you'll see little things. The band of rubber around the Truffol was a bit misaligned in one place (I was able to fix it). Worse, it collects dust and lint too easily. It looks kind of bad after a few days.

~~~ Comments & questions welcome ~~~


★ New ★ Deiss Julienne Peeler Helps You Make Your Veggie Dishes 57% Faster
★ New ★ Deiss Julienne Peeler Helps You Make Your Veggie Dishes 57% Faster
Offered by Deiss Kitchenware
Price: $21.22
2 used & new from $13.14

4.0 out of 5 stars Peeler Shootout: Deiss vs KitchenAid, September 30, 2014
.
Report from spousal unit...

The Julienne part is pretty cool.

This appears to be a nice all-stainless peeler.

The peeler part does not peel as easily as our Kitchenaid Classic Euro Peeler. Not sure if it's the sharpness, the pitch of the blades, or the serrations on the Deiss.

Torture test: Peeling a hard squash (kabocha). The Deiss pretty much refused. The KitchenAid handled it.

The difference is less dramatic with carrots but straight peeling is not as easy with the Deiss.

There is also a basic ergonomic difference. The KitchenAid peels sideways (at right angle to your arm). The Deiss peels in-line with a straight pulling of your arm. You could prefer either method.

- - - Disclosure - - -

The manufacturer gave me this item for review. I believe my review is impartial.

~~~ Comments & questions welcome ~~~


FORDIGI® APPLE CERTIFIED Extra Long (10 Feet) USB Sync and Charging Lightning Cable for iPhone 5/5S/5C, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Mini (10 Feet Apple Certified - White)
FORDIGI® APPLE CERTIFIED Extra Long (10 Feet) USB Sync and Charging Lightning Cable for iPhone 5/5S/5C, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Mini (10 Feet Apple Certified - White)
Offered by Amazing Digital Store
Price: $14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Thick cable. No problems yet., September 30, 2014
.
This cable works fine so far. I tugged on the Lightning tip, and it does not seem loose or anything. Maybe the quality issues mentioned by other reviewers are solved.

►Thicker End: I wish the housing at the Lightning end was smaller. It's .237" x .434". (Apple's is .184" x .303".) You will run into some phone cases that do not have a big enough cut-out. If you know of any 10-foot cables with a thin lightning end, please leave a comment. I didn't find any. #inches #dimensions

►Thick Cable: It's .161" diameter vs .103 for Apple's. You might like the thicker cable, or not. It's soft plastic...less rubbery than Apple's...less tangly.

►Stay Plugged In: If you spend a lot of time on your iDevice in one place (desk, bed, couch), it's nice keep it plugged in with a long cable. (Save battery cycles...Your battery degrades a bit with each charge-drain cycle.)

- - - Disclosure - - -

The manufacturer gave me this item for review. I believe my review is impartial.

~~~ Comments & questions welcome ~~~


FORDIGI® APPLE CERTIFIED Extra Long (6.2 Feet) USB Sync and Charging Lightning Cable for iPhone 5/5S/5C, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Mini (6.2 Feet Apple Certified - White)
FORDIGI® APPLE CERTIFIED Extra Long (6.2 Feet) USB Sync and Charging Lightning Cable for iPhone 5/5S/5C, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Mini (6.2 Feet Apple Certified - White)
Offered by Amazing Digital Store
Price: $11.99
2 used & new from $10.91

5.0 out of 5 stars Thicker cable and end. Nice price., September 30, 2014
.
This cable works fine so far. I tugged on the Lightning tip, and it does not seem loose or anything. Maybe the quality issues mentioned by other reviewers are solved.

Seems like a good deal when selling for $12.

►Thicker End: I wish the housing at the Lightning end was smaller. It's .237" x .434". (Apple's is .184" x .303".) You will run into some phone cases that do not have a big enough cut-out. If you know of any 6-foot cables with a thin lightning end, please leave a comment. I didn't find any.

►Thicker Cable: It's .133" diameter vs .103 for Apple's. You might like the thicker cable, or not. It's soft plastic...less rubbery than Apple's...A bit less tangly...pliable enough.

►Stay Plugged In: If you spend a lot of time on your iDevice in one place (desk, bed, couch), it's nice keep it plugged in with a 6-foot cable. (Save battery cycles...Your battery degrades a bit with each cycle.)

This cable is actually 6-foot 5-inches.

- - - Disclosure - - -

The manufacturer gave me this item for review. I believe my review is impartial.

~~~ Comments & questions welcome ~~~


URBAN ARMOR GEAR Case for iPhone 6 (4.7 Display) Blue
URBAN ARMOR GEAR Case for iPhone 6 (4.7 Display) Blue
Price: $29.99
16 used & new from $17.50

46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Your Hot Buttons...Measured and Reported, September 29, 2014
.
If you're picky about iPhone cases, here are the facts for this one.

- - - Summary - - -

This case functions almost perfectly.

If you like rubbery, grippy edges, this is not quite it.

The all-important raised lip on the screen side: Pretty good. Over 1/16" on the ends; Almost 1/16" on the edges. I'm talking about the height of the lip above the screen glass. This is where many other cases invite tragedy.

Nice compromise: good-enough protection yet not very bulky.

The beefed-up corner protection makes sense. If you're OK with the style and price, this could be your 5-star case right here.

- - - Details - - -

► Overall Fit: Perfect

► Buttons: Zero problems

► Cut-outs -- Lightning and Audio: Nice and large. I tried all my over-sized 3rd party cables. They all worked except for one fat-ended audio cable that has no "neck." One very rude Lightning cable flexed the case a bit, but it snapped in fully with no problem. Lightning cut-out is 6.6mm x 13.1mm (.260" x .517"). Audio cut-out is 7.7mm diameter. #inches #dimensions #cutouts

► Cut-outs -- Camera, Switch, Speaker: Zero problems.

► Screen-side Lip: This matters if you don't want a scratched screen. Eventually, you're going to drop your phone on a rough surface (parking lot, for example). I see a lot of cases with less than 1mm of raised lip. These are not going to cut it. This case's 1.4mm to 1.65mm lip (sides vs ends) might save you.

► Overall thickness: 12mm at the corners. 10.9mm along the sides. I wish they had thinned out the back of this case (you don't need as much protection there) and made the front lip even bigger.

► Weight: 31 grams (1-1/8 oz). Adds 24% to your iPhone 6 weight.

► Grippiness: If you like rubbery, grippy edges, this is not quite it. But the case is not glossy or slippery, and the nubs 1-1/2" up from the bottom are helpful.

- - - Disclosure - - -

The manufacturer gave me this item for review. I believe my review is impartial.

~~~ Comments & questions welcome ~~~
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 12, 2014 7:04 PM PDT


Portable Power Charger 12000mAh for iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Blackberry ★ Slim Design Dual USB Power Bank ★ Lightweight Power Pack Battery, High Capacity Cell Phone Travel Charger ★ Lifetime Guarantee ★ Outstanding Customer Service ★ Includes Free *BONUSES & APPS*
Portable Power Charger 12000mAh for iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Blackberry ★ Slim Design Dual USB Power Bank ★ Lightweight Power Pack Battery, High Capacity Cell Phone Travel Charger ★ Lifetime Guarantee ★ Outstanding Customer Service ★ Includes Free *BONUSES & APPS*
Offered by Poweriss™
Price: $69.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Nice adapters. Some minor issues., September 27, 2014
.
** Update 10-16-2014 - Price dip to $30 makes this a more attractive choice. **

It's a nice time to be shopping for these...there are so many competing models, and prices are trending downward.

If you like its unique styling and the included adapters (Lightning and Apple 30-pin -- maybe worth $5 to $10 each -- see Note 4), this could be your next power pack right here.

However, I found that this model does not stack up very well against other choices.

- It charges my iPad at about half speed, not full speed as claimed (see Note 1).

- Mine has a minor issue with indicator lights (see Note 2).

- $40 seems high when established name brands sell for $26 - $34. However, the other brands do not include the handy Micro-to-Apple adapters.

- - - Alternatives - - -

- Sabrent 12000mAh (slim) recently $26
- Poweradd Pilot S 12000mAh (slim, LED readout) recently $27
- Anker 2nd Gen Astro E4 13000mAh (smart ports) recently $30
- PowerGen 14000mAh (2 with embedded cables -- see Note 3) recently $40

- - - Disclosure - - -

The manufacturer gave me this item for review. I believe my review is impartial.

- - - Notes - - -

Note 1: Slow iPad Charging - I tested this 3 times using different cables and at different charge levels. Yes, I was using the Poweriss's 2.1 Amp port. My iPad 3 went from 32% --> 41% charged in 60 minutes. 41% --> 50% charged in 60 minutes. 58% --> 67% charged in 60 minutes. (The 1-Amp port charged it from 50% to 58% in 60 minutes.) Airplane mode, no screen activity. No other ports being used. Normal iPad charging speed is 16% to 18% per hour. I've tested this iPad with many other chargers at 16-18% per hour.

Note 2: Indicator lights blink while charging and are supposed to "remain solid when the unit is fully charged." I gave up after 40 hours of continuous charging. The 4th light was still blinking. I'll guess the unit was fully charged and there's a glitch in the readout.

Note 3: Embedded cables are a big plus. Save space. No tangle, mess, or leaving behind. iPeople can use converter tips.

Note 4: Adapter tips compact-ify your travel situation if you have misc Apple and non-apple devices. You're already bringing a Micro-USB cable. The 30-pin and Lightning tips included with this battery pack work with any Micro-USB cable. Also good backup for your main Apple cables. These tips are not Apple (MFi) certified, but they seem to work fine with iPhone 4S and iPhone 6.

~~~ Comments & questions welcome ~~~
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 16, 2014 12:38 PM PDT


Xperitus BOS-26U Hi-Speed Quality Micro USB To USB Cable (Pack of 5) 3.3 Feet Braided Tangle Free [Type-B] Compatible with Samsung Mobile Phones Galaxy S4, Google Nexus 5, Nokia Lumia 1020, Galaxy S3, Moto G, Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, Asus Google Nexus 7 7-inch, Sony Xperia, HTC One And More (Green, White, Black, Red, Blue) [Micro USB Cable] Free 30 Days Money Back Guarantee [18 Months Warranty]
Xperitus BOS-26U Hi-Speed Quality Micro USB To USB Cable (Pack of 5) 3.3 Feet Braided Tangle Free [Type-B] Compatible with Samsung Mobile Phones Galaxy S4, Google Nexus 5, Nokia Lumia 1020, Galaxy S3, Moto G, Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, Asus Google Nexus 7 7-inch, Sony Xperia, HTC One And More (Green, White, Black, Red, Blue) [Micro USB Cable] Free 30 Days Money Back Guarantee [18 Months Warranty]
Offered by The Ago! - USA
Price: $13.98
3 used & new from $13.28

5.0 out of 5 stars Handy for Backup. Nice Price., September 26, 2014
.
This is a review of the 8-inch 3-in-1 cables (Micro-USB, Apple 30-pin, Apple Lightning) (Model BOS-25U).

These are perfect backups for travel or your car's glove compartment. 8 inches is kind of short for most situations, but they are a very compact and will bail you (or a friend) out in almost any cable crisis.

They are 8.5" tip-to-tip. More like 6.5-inch cables, as a practical matter.

The tip markings are mostly impossible to see or non-existent. Minor hassle, except for Lightning, which has no right or wrong side.

The Apple Lightning tips are too fat for some iPhone cases. They're .270" x .396" (Apple's tips are .184" x .303"). #inches #tip size #dimensions

They're beautiful little cables.

They tested fine with my iPhone 4S (30-pin) and iPhone 6 (Lightning), even though they are not MFi (Apple) certified.

- - - Disclosure - - -

The manufacturer gave me this item for review. I believe my review is impartial.

~~~ Comments & questions welcome ~~~


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