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Water Bobble Sport Filtered Water Bottle, 22-Ounce, Blue
Water Bobble Sport Filtered Water Bottle, 22-Ounce, Blue
Price: $11.99
4 used & new from $7.30

2.0 out of 5 stars Better options available, December 3, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The idea of a water bottle with a built-in filter cool, but the execution here is rather poor. I’m basing this opinion on a comparison with the Brita Sport Water Filter Bottle, which is superior in every way. Others have complained that the Water Bobble is thin, and indeed, it’s true. It’s not as thin as, say, a Dasani bottle, but it’s not as thick as what you would expect from a refillable water bottle like this.

The filtration system works reasonably well. If you do decide to buy this (or any filter bottle for that matter), make sure you fill up the bottle and squeeze the contents out through the filter before drinking it. This is standard operating procedure for any water filter, but since some people may not know to do it, I’m mentioning it.

I would highly recommend the Brita model instead. Not only is it a little cheaper, but I think the filter is better (judging mostly by taste), and the bottle is made of a thicker, more durable plastic. The Bobble bottle just can’t compete.


No Title Available

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Expensive and an inefficient source of protein compared to shakes, December 2, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you’re looking for a quick protein fix, this is neither the most efficient in terms of the protein/calorie ratio, nor the least expensive. For the same price, you can buy yourself a huge container of whey protein isolates that will give you a few dozen shakes at the rate of around 20-25 grams of protein for between 150-200 calories. It will also help you avoid a ton of saturated fat and carbs. Okay - so, we’ve established, objectively, that these are a terrible value and less efficient method of protein consumption. Why buy these?

I suppose the appeal here is size and convenience. Maybe you don’t have room in your workout bag for a blender bottle full of protein powder. A protein bar like this is substantially smaller, and it’s sealed nicely in plastic so there’s no chance of spilling powder all over your workout gear if you don’t get the lid on your bottle correctly. Is convenience with an exorbitant $7+ per bar? Not for me! Maybe it is for you.

Now lets talk about this specific bar. As with all protein bars that I’ve tasted, it’s not great, but it’s not awful. Personally, I think the shakes are easier to get down since you can just chug them quickly. Bars like this are reeeeeeally chewy, so you have to taste it for a lot longer. As far as the chocolate salted caramel flavor, I’ve had worse. The experience is a lot like eating the fake chocolate off one of those low calorie Snackwell diet cookies mixed with a dense, incredibly chewy, flavorless center. Clearly Pure Protein has attempted to make it taste good, but in the process, they ended up making something that tastes pretty iffy while adding in a lot of saturated fat in the process. I wasn’t expecting something “delicious” like the product listing claims - I have realistic expectations - and I wasn’t too surprised when eating one of these was a slightly masochistic experience.

Ultimately, I just can’t figure out a compelling reason to buy bars like this instead of protein powder for shakes. If you don’t find the cost per bar to be outrageous, allow me to congratulate you on your superior income. I’m not saying these bars from Pure Protein are particularly expensive. Rather, the product as a whole just seems to expensive compared to the healthier, cheaper protein shakes.

And finally, I want to stress that this bar being “healthy” is a really specious claim. A Snickers bar has 250 calories, this has 200. A Snickers bar has 4.5 grams of saturated fat, this has 4 grams. A Snickers bar has 120mg of sodium, this has 210mg. Objectively speaking, there is nothing “healthy” about this bar. It’s virtually as bad for you as a regular candy bar, but it tastes awful while giving you an extra dose of protein.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 23, 2015 3:11 PM PST


Coffee French Press Replacement Screen Parts (2Pack) Best Universal 8-Cup Stainless Steel Reusable Filter Accessories
Coffee French Press Replacement Screen Parts (2Pack) Best Universal 8-Cup Stainless Steel Reusable Filter Accessories
Offered by Idylc Homes
Price: $7.98
2 used & new from $5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile replacement for your French press, December 2, 2014
I’ve been enjoying my KONA French press for a while now, and I’m finally getting around to upgrading the filter. The stock filter seemed totally adequate, but I will say that this replacement filter is a bit better. The stainless steel mesh seems to catch virtually all fragments, and the result is a really smooth cup of coffee. I’m not an expert or a connoisseur, but I think it was worth the upgrade.


Brainwavz S5 In Ear Noise Isolating Headphones
Brainwavz S5 In Ear Noise Isolating Headphones
Offered by MP4NATION
Price: $99.50

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very high quality in-ear headphones at a great price, December 2, 2014
I own a lot of different in-ear headphones ranging from inexpensive AmazonBasics (ca. $18) to fancy Etymotic Research ER4s ($300). The Brainwavz S5s hit a perfect sweet spot in terms of sound quality, usability, and price. They produce a very pleasing, neutral sound with tight, punchy bass, a smooth midrange, and a bright (but not harsh) treble. They perform above their price class in every area, and as such, they are a great value.

Sound Quality

The most important thing is sound quality, naturally. Without good sound, what’s the point? A lot of headphones (of all varieties) have started copying the Beats by Dr. Dre sound, which have such heavy bass that they sound awful with acoustic musics like jazz or classical. The quality brands (e.g., Sennheiser, AKG, Beyerdynamic) have avoided this trend, but they are also more expensive. Happily, Brainwavz has forgone the artificially heavy bass style in favor of a more natural frequency response curve.

The bass is fully present, punchy, and powerful, but it’s not abnormally heavy. Simply put, it just sounds natural. Not too heavy, not too light. This allows the midrange to shine. Why is this important? Because most of the frequency spectrum used for music fits within the midrange. Because of this, midrange is really what you want to get right. The treble is detailed and precise. Bass-heavy headphones sometimes end up with a dull, lifeless treble, but not here. High pitched electronic sounds really pop, but if classical is your thing, it will also help you notice details in, say, the bowing of a violin or the crystalline ting or a triangle.

One thing that the S5 do particularly well is space and dynamics. These do a great job allowing you to differentiate between loud sounds in the foreground and soft sounds in the background. This allows you to perceive a greater sense of space and nuance. Unless you already have a great pair of speakers or headphones, you’re bound to hear new details in your old favorite recordings. However, dynamics and space is something more expensive headphones do even better. My Etymotics are absolutely brilliant when it comes to dynamic details, almost to the point that they sound clinical. The S5s aren’t at that level, but when compared to a lot of other $100 in-ear headphones, they’re really solid.

Usability

This might seem like an odd rubric, but it’s actually important. My Etymotic in-ear headphones have a very high impedance, which means that they need more voltage than a mobile device can supply. If I plug them straight into my iPhone, they sound lifeless and anemic. When I listen to them through a dedicated headphone amplifier, they’re otherworldly, but not through my iPhone. Since most people want to listen to this sort of thing through a smartphone or something, you want something with a lower impedance like the S5s.

The S5s sound great through a lower voltage device, and thus you don’t need to carry around an external headphone amp just to get a good sound. They’ll sound perfectly full and present with whatever voltage your iPod or Android device supplies. All of this is to say that these are easily usable in a variety of contexts.

Extra Features

The S5s come with a nice hardshell carrying case. It’s rigid enough to protect them even if you toss it into your backpack under a bunch of books (or whatever). When you pay $100 for headphones, it’s not like they’re irreplaceable, but you also don’t want to be replacing them all the time due to normal usage.

Brainwavz throws in a number of different ear tips of varying styles and sizes, which ensures that you’ll find something that works with your ear, no matter the size or shape. I recommend experimenting with them until you find something that allows you to get a good seal easily. Unless you achieve a proper seal, the bass will be lacking. Getting a full sound is completely contingent upon a good ear canal seal.

Two final things. I love the flat, rubber cable. It just doesn’t ever get tangled up, and it offers a good level of protection. I’ve got a couple pairs of in-ear headphones with tiny, brittle cables that are just begging to get crushed. These will hold up, and they won’t get tangled in the process. Finally, Brainwavz includes a quarter-inch adaptor for home listening. Not a huge deal, but nice nonetheless.

Overall

If you’re looking for great sound at a reasonable price, this is a great pair of in-ear headphones to consider. You can find headphones with a good, neutral sound elsewhere, but these are especially good when you factor in the dynamic and spatial nuances. That, along with the other features—the flat, rubber cable, the carrying case, the ear tip variety, the adaptors—makes it a great value. Highly recommended to discerning listeners.


Ivation Ice Ball Maker Mold Tray - Yields 4 Large 2.4 Inch, Spherical, Slow-Melting Ice Rounds - Made from the Highest Grade BPA-Free Silicone - Chill you Drinks Longer without Diluting the Taste
Ivation Ice Ball Maker Mold Tray - Yields 4 Large 2.4 Inch, Spherical, Slow-Melting Ice Rounds - Made from the Highest Grade BPA-Free Silicone - Chill you Drinks Longer without Diluting the Taste
Offered by DBROTH
Price: $14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars No more diluted whiskey, December 2, 2014
This is a familiar problem to anyone who drinks whiskey on the rocks. You want to slowly savor your drink, but you don’t want it diluted with too much water. You can get whiskey stones that don’t melt, but they also don’t seem as cold as ice, in my experience. The answer seems to be huge ice cubes that take longer to melt. I’ve seen this sort of thing in a traditional cube shape before, but not in a sphere. I’m not sure that the spherical shape offers any benefits other than being round like the glass you’ll undoubtedly use it with. I actually do have square glassware, but that’s just because I’m weird.

The silicone is thick and should hold up under steady usage. The price isn’t as low as you might expect for an ice cube tray, but this isn’t really a novelty item, and it’s made well enough that I believe it justifies its price. Most importantly, the design does allow you to make quality ice spheres without leaking all over the interior of your freezer.


Assassin's Creed Rogue- Xbox 360
Assassin's Creed Rogue- Xbox 360
Price: $29.99
81 used & new from $20.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story and challenges, but short, December 1, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you’re a fan of the Assassin’s Creed series, stop reading this review. This is the first AC game I’ve ever played and thus I can’t do anything in the way of comparison, nor can I comment on the direction of the narrative (which is what most reviewers tend to do). All I can say is how I found the gameplay experience to be. I imagine this review would be most helpful to someone like myself who got this game free of context or previous experience.

I realize that I’m missing out on lots and lots of backstory for both the characters and the general universe here, but the narrative is still compelling. It’s sort of akin to watching Return of the Jedi without seeing episodes four and five. It’s still a fun story, but it I’m also aware that I’m missing a lot. Basically, I think the game designers did an okay job making something that people new to the series can enjoy, although it’s more of a limited enjoyment. Thankfully, there is a good website (acinitiates dot com) that will help you get up to speed. I recommend studying it.

In examining reviews (both on Amazon and on professional game review sites), I’m amazed at how many focus mostly on narrative. Indeed, this is the first game of this style that I’ve played in a long time, and it really IS about the story. Beyond that though, gameplay is fun with a variety of challenges. The naval combat stuff was awesome, and I also enjoyed some of the more intellectual challenges.

My biggest complaint is that the game feels really short. Granted, I didn’t beat it right away, and it did take some work to make it through the six main missions, but if you eliminate the time it takes to try and retry the various challenges, it feels pretty brief.

The graphics are pretty, and Shay is relatively easy to control. There are a few annoyances here and there (for instance, climbing seems to be hit and miss), although it’s nothing out of the unusual. While I wouldn’t stay that any of the technical components blew me away, I found the game to be aesthetically pleasing and free of any major annoyances.

Ultimately, AC Rogue is decent, but based on what others (including my friends) have told me, Black Flag is a better game all around. Perhaps that would have been a better place to start. If you’re a fan of the series (and you’ve read this whole review for some reason), you’ll probably enjoy this as more of the same. If you’re interested in the series, but haven’t played any of the previous installments, start elsewhere.


Brainwavz Quartz Headphone Stand For All Headphone Sizes
Brainwavz Quartz Headphone Stand For All Headphone Sizes
Offered by MP4NATION
Price: $22.50
2 used & new from $20.92

4.0 out of 5 stars Great for displaying your favorite pair of full-sized headphones, November 29, 2014
The Brainwavz Quartz stand is a nice-looking, functional stand at a reasonable price. It’s balanced pretty well, so you can’t knock it over easily. I have only two issues. First, it would be nice if the Brainwavz logo and name weren’t so prominent. It’s a cool, modern looking design, and the prominence of the label makes it feel less classy. It still looks good, but it could look even better if the label was smaller.

Second (and this isn’t really a fault, just an observation), the stand works best with a heavier pair of headphones. I tried using this with my Grado SRi60s, and they just sort of rest slightly precariously on top. A heavier pair will exert more downward force, thereby anchoring them more securely. Two things: first, the Grados are very lightweight and not necessarily representative of a lot of full-sized headphones you might use with these; and second, the stand is obviously made for full-size Brainwavz headphones (like the HM5 or HM9), which are pretty heavy. When I used the stand with my HM9s, the stand was perfect.

Overall, it’s a good stand with a cool design. Recommended, especially if you have a pair of larger headphones.


Okra Bluetooth Hands-Free Car Kit for Cars with Aux Input Jack (3.5 Mm) - For iPhone 6/5S/5C/4S, Galaxy S5/S4/S3/S2, HTC One & All Bluetooth Enabled Smarthphones
Okra Bluetooth Hands-Free Car Kit for Cars with Aux Input Jack (3.5 Mm) - For iPhone 6/5S/5C/4S, Galaxy S5/S4/S3/S2, HTC One & All Bluetooth Enabled Smarthphones
Offered by IBD Electronics
Price: $29.99
3 used & new from $19.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Syncs easily and works well, November 28, 2014
This is a reasonably well made bluetooth aux-in adaptor. Much like the old cassette tape adaptors that allowed you to play your portable CD player through your tape-only car stereo (yeah, I was a teenager in the 90s), the sound quality is not pristine. It is, however, good enough, in most cases. When you’re using something like this, it’s really a second option. The most ideal thing would be to have a built-in car stereo that was bluetooth capable, but since you’re looking at this, I’m guessing your car doesn’t have it. So, this is plan B.

Bluetooth supposedly transmits up to 24 Mbps, but as you probably know, there is always a chance of interference. That can certainly happen here. I thought the audio was fine for this sort of thing. Not stellar, but not unlistenable. If you’re looking for a true audiophile experience, get out of your car, go into your home, and listen on regular speakers. If you just want to enjoy some tunes in the car, this is definitely suffice. Depending on what sort of electrical noise your car produces, your signal may degrade. In my car, it’s not a problem, but from looking at the experience of certain other reviewers, it might be a problem for you. Then again, if that happens to you, then *any* bluetooth-aux adaptor may present this same problem.

Syncing and resyncing was quite fast. It’s always nice when you don’t have to navigate to your smartphone’s bluetooth menu to manually pair. One drawback is that this is powered from your cigarette lighter. A lot of people (myself included) have USB chargers occupying their cigarette lighter sockets, so you have to pick what you want to power. It would be nicer if there was a rechargeable battery included. That’s my only real issue with it.

Overall, it’s decent, and in my experience, the audio quality was just fine. It’s easy to use and relatively inexpensive.


WOWTOU(TM) Aluminum Housing 46 Bright LED Wireless Solar Powered PIR Motion Sensor Outdoor Wall Mounted Garden Path Post Porch Light, Built in High Capacity Battery, Weatherproof, No Batteries Required
WOWTOU(TM) Aluminum Housing 46 Bright LED Wireless Solar Powered PIR Motion Sensor Outdoor Wall Mounted Garden Path Post Porch Light, Built in High Capacity Battery, Weatherproof, No Batteries Required
Offered by eZone
Price: $25.99
2 used & new from $25.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Energy efficient and easy to install, November 28, 2014
This is a pretty cool solar-powered light. Solar stuff can be hit and miss, especially in this price range, but the Wowtou unit is actually really decent. Setup is a breeze. Basically, you just mount it where you want it (provided the solar panels will catch the requisite sunlight), and you’re good to go. The literature indicates that a full charge takes 7 hours or so, and that the battery then lasts for 15 hours. I don’t get 7 hours of good, direct sunlight where I placed the unit, but since the unit is so efficient, I can continue to use it as it builds a full charge over multiple days. The 7 to 15 ratio is generous enough that I doubt the battery will every get depleted when you need it, unless you live somewhere that is perpetually overcast.

If you’ve got a sunny place to put this, it’s definitely worth the price. It’s not big enough to light up your whole deck for an after-dark reading party, but as a regular outdoor light near your door or something, it’s more than bright enough. Highly recommended.


AmazonBasics RJ45 Cat-6 Ethernet Patch Cable - 10 Feet (3 Meters)
AmazonBasics RJ45 Cat-6 Ethernet Patch Cable - 10 Feet (3 Meters)
Price: $6.29

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No reason to pay more, November 28, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've used a lot of AmazonBasics cables in the last few years, and they all do a great job. They're well made, and the price is usually really good. No exception here. You can get a lot of cheap Cat-6 cables, but I've found off brand cables to be hit and miss sometimes. Often, you get cables with thin casing, which doesn't offer much protection, and when the fibers of the cable breaks, you have to replace it. The casing on this model is great. It's not the thickest, most rugged cable I've ever seen, but it's at least average. Plus, Amazon ships it in "frustration free" packaging, which makes it easy to open. Basically, stuff like this comes in a small box with a sticker holding it shut. Simple.

If you need a Cat-6 cable, this is a good one and a great price.


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