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Leatherman 831132 Monarch 200 LED Flashlight, Black
Leatherman 831132 Monarch 200 LED Flashlight, Black

5.0 out of 5 stars Great little light, keyring could be designed better, May 12, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
There are many glowing reviews here so I won't rehash the praises other people have written. I just wanted to point out two nuances that I've noticed. First, the black finish wore off very quickly, I'd say within a month of ownership. The color is now a worn gunmetal grey as opposed to the original deep black. Think old Maglite flashlight or alox Swiss Army knife and you get the idea. However, because the flashlight is made of metal (how refreshing in this day and age!), I consider this patina, which imparts a nice, I-actually-use-this-as-a-tool look. Second, the keyring is fastened to the body by a partial ring that is designed to slip on/off with mild pressure. The problem is that if you are attaching this to your keys, as many of us are, any serious jostling may cause the ring to separate and the flashlight to fall to the ground. This is already happened to me twice, but luckily both times were in the car and I was able to retrieve the flashlight. If I was walking through the park or at the mall, it would be lost for good though. I imagine that some people find this feature useful, but I think Leatherman should provide a full ring as well to give customers the option of how they want to secure the flashlight. All in all I'm very happy with this light and will be looking at other Monarch models in the future.


No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars A Thinkpad for the rest of us!, January 27, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'll start with a quick synopsis behind the thought process that led me to buy this laptop. I've been using a 10" MSI Wind for the last two years to run Powerpoint presentations at work, connecting to the internet while traveling, and casual browsing while around the house (e.g. sitting on the balcony). However I found that after an hour or two of use, my eyes would feel tired and my hands would cramp from the small screen and keyboard. Not sure if it's a blessing or a curse, but my netbook was stolen in Ecuador this past summer while I was volunteering at a rural hospital. Thus I had a bulletproof reason to buy another notebook. From previous experience with a 14" Fujitsu Lifebook, I knew I wanted a 13" notebook. 13" is the perfect travel/business size in my opinion- a screen and keyboard that is actually useful and doesn't strain your eyes/hands, and yet thin and light enough to be carried everywhere. I wanted Windows 7 because I have it on my desktop and love it (no ancient XP or bloated Vista, thank you very much). I didn't care about an optical drive since I download all my software directly. Lastly, I could only budget $500.

For a few months, I couldn't find anything less than $600-700. Then I stumbled upon this model by sequentially filtering Amazon's entire notebook catalog according to my criteria. At first I thought it was too good to be true for $480- Amazon has it listed by the specs in the title (as opposed to a colloquial description), and then had no detailed specs on the product page itself- so I wasn't exactly sure what I would be getting. Since Amazon was selling it directly (i.e. not a 3rd party), and CNET's review of this model was very favorable, I decided to order it anyways. If it didn't meet the specs in the title I'd just return it. It took a month to arrive. To be fair, Amazon did state that the product would ship in 3-4 weeks. I imagine Amazon, like many other retailers that sell Lenovo, doesn't keep a large stock on hand and only reorders models as necessary. Unboxing was uneventful. Lenovo uses IKEA-style, 100% recyclable packaging- kudos to them. Most importantly, the specs did indeed match the title- whew!

Setting up the laptop was fairly easy. The Lenovo setup utility downloads both Windows and Thinkpad updates at once, a handy time-saver. The BIOS is also updated directly in Windows without having to create a flash boot disk or restarting the computer- very cool. Also cool- minimal bloatware! Just trial versions of Office 2010 and Norton Antivirus, which were uninstalled easy enough and replaced with OpenOffice and Avira. The hard drive is partitioned, with about 10GB devoted to the factory image. However, clicking the partition (or using the Thinkpad toolbox) opens a utility that lets you recover the partition entirely (assuming you've actually created the bootable recovery CD)- again, a nice touch. With every other PC brand I've used, you have to install a partition manager to wrestle back your hard drive space. Of note, the recovery "CD" can be created on a DVD, external hard drive, or USB key, so don't panic if you don't have access to a portable optical drive. I'd recommend leaving the partition alone though- 10GB out of 320GB is nothing, and in case you lose/forget your recovery CD somewhere, you can restore the factory image directly from the Thinkpad BIOS. The screen looks fantastic with good color saturation. I would have preferred a matte screen instead of glossy, but if you view a lot of pictures and movies you'll appreciate the extra vibrancy. There is an HDMI port, which was a nice surprise, so you can play your digital media on your home monitor or TV. VGA, 3 USB, and a SDHC slot round out the ports. The chiclet keyboard is also fantastic. The keys feel solid and have a good throw, with no keyboard flex. You have a choice of using the TrackPoint or the touchpad, so everyone should be happy in this regard. Like another review here, I found the touchpad occasionally erratic; it sometimes doesn't register my movements and needs a few seconds to "wake-up" and move the mouse pointer. I'll have to double check the settings and driver and see if there's something that can be fixed. Speaker quality is typical for a laptop- ok for music and YouTube in an average room, but sounds tinny when cranked up all the way. Haven't really tested the battery extensively yet, but unplugging the AC adapter with a full battery shows about 6 hours remaining with Wi-Fi on- more than enough for a day's worth of computing (at least for me). For you battery fanatics, the Thinkpad toolbox lets you monitor the battery's inner workings (condition, current charge, cycles charged, etc). The build quality overall is top-notch and what you would expect from a Thinkpad- no creaking parts, minimal seams, nice thick plastic, and good solid hinges on the lid.

Windows 7 Professional is installed. Probably overkill for a budget orientated laptop, but I suppose this is still a ThinkPad and marketed to business users. At least Lenovo managed to keep the price under $500. The Core 2 Duo processor and 3GB RAM run the OS very smoothly, I haven't run into any hiccups while multitasking. Some people might scoff at a non i3, i5, or Sandy Bridge processor, but it's hardly fair to compare a laptop that came out last year (and originally for $800 at that) to models that are being released now. For everyday computing like web browsing, email, Facebook, Skype, word processing, Netflix, etc, the C2D is more than adequate and runs circles around any Atom netbook processor.

So what don't I like? Very little, and I'm nitpicking at this point. I mentioned the sometimes erratic touchpad. The lid doesn't lock closed. "Classic" Thinkpad features such as the keyboard light and physical Toolbox button are omitted from the Edge models. I would have preferred Windows 7HP to save the extra premium of Professional. There are a lot of messages (and ads) from Lenovo to sift though in the toolbox. The included AC adapter is the old 'plain' model and not the new one with built-in USB charger ports.

Overall, I'm very happy with this laptop and will definitely be sticking with Thinkpads in the future. The combination of solid hardware and thoughtful software is just awesome and puts HP, Toshiba, Sony, etc to shame.

Some closing notes...If you're looking for a good case, I'm using this Case Logic VNA214 14.1-Inch Laptop Attache (Brown) It fits the notebook perfectly and has enough pockets for your usual accessories, but is still very slim and lightweight. You can find it for less than $20 if you shop around. Be sure to create the recovery "CD" before messing around with the 2nd partition. The picture on Amazon is NOT correct; the picture shown is the 15" model. The 13" Edge is much narrower and thinner than its bigger brothers. The keyboard nearly extends to the edges, and the keyboard and palm rest are all black, not black/silver as pictured here. Check Lenovo's website for actual photos, Amazon doesn't seem to grasp the difference even after I contacted them. Lastly, make sure the laptop you buy meets your actual needs. There's no point buying a laptop that doesn't include a feature you are looking for e.g. WWAN, and then complaining afterwards that the laptop doesn't meet your needs- that's chutzpah!


Uniden Black Slimline Corded Phone (1100BK)
Uniden Black Slimline Corded Phone (1100BK)
Offered by Warner Radio
Price: $10.97
47 used & new from $5.25

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It does have a redial button!, January 23, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
After reading some of the reviews here I was nervous that this model would be a little too 'no-frills' without a redial button. However, I own 4 other basic corded phones from GE and Panasonic and they all have a redial button- I think it's just a standard button as much as the numbers themselves. Sure enough this model DOES have a redial button, as well as a flash button. There's also the ringer and speaker volume slider switches right on the handset. The handset seems durable enough. It has a surprising heft to it so I'm sure it can withstand being dropped every now and then. There's not much to say about the call quality since it's a landline phone- it works, plain and simple. The base feels a bit flimsy though. It's very light and the plastic seems thin. I suppose it's not the important part of the phone anyways. There are some silicone feet on the base that keeps it from sliding around on your desk- a nice touch. As others have mentioned, the cord is directly hardwired into the handset, so if it goes you have to replace the entire phone. The cord is 66" from the base to the plug, and there's a built in cord retainer in the base in case you want to take up the slack. The footprint is only 2.5" x 8", very slim indeed. The only other thing is that the color is matte black and not glossy as pictured, but I don't care either way. Overall a well-constructed, very affordable, no-frills telephone that barely takes up any room on your desk.


Westcott Titanium UltraSmooth Scissors
Westcott Titanium UltraSmooth Scissors
Price: $16.29
15 used & new from $9.30

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 2 pairs worked fine until the handles broke, stay away, December 21, 2010
I've owned two pairs of these scissors and had the same problem as everyone here: the handles break where the soft rubber meets the hard plastic. Now they're essentially useless. I was only cutting through thin-gauge cardboard, which my Fiskars scissors eat for breakfast. I threw the receipts out a long time ago so returning/exchanging them is out of the question, but based on the other reviews here a warranty claim would be futile anyways. Stay away from Westcott, you can find much better scissors from Scotch or Fiskars at this price point.


Suunto A-30L Compass
Suunto A-30L Compass
Offered by Reliable Values
Price: $17.45
5 used & new from $17.45

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent quality and well thought out compass, only missing geared declination, December 20, 2010
This review is from: Suunto A-30L Compass (Sports)
Excellent compass from Suunto. Jeweled needle swings freely and quickly settles on N. Markings are clear and legible. Ruler/scales, marking holes, and magnifying glass suit orientation needs. Illuminated bezel is handy for night reading, although it will need to be "charged" with plenty of sunlight or a flashlight beforehand. Detachable clip initially felt flimsy, but has held up so far, so can't complain yet. My only gripe is this model does not featured geared declination, only a fixed scale, which is disappointing for an otherwise fantastic compass. I suppose it's my own fault for not reading the specs carefully, and it's still probably the best compass on the market at this price point, but I would have happily paid an extra $5-10 for a geared mechanism. Will still keep this around as a backup compass, but my next purchase will be a Brunton 15TDCL.


Princeton Tec Pulsar II White LED Key Chain Light
Princeton Tec Pulsar II White LED Key Chain Light
Price: $4.99 - $39.87

3.0 out of 5 stars Neat little light, but not durable, December 20, 2010
Very handy light for your keychain, LED is very bright, construction seemed sturdy initially. At least with my unit, I find it's a little too easy to activate- just rustling your keys will be enough to turn it on, so you may be surprised to see flashes of light as you handle your keys. Thankfully the light does not stay on once the pressure is removed, so you will not deplete the batteries, but it's disconcerting nonetheless. Eventually I pried open the unit and bent the metal contacts further away from the battery, which seems to have solved the problem. Now the light only turns on when it's deliberately pressed. However, opening the case seems to have weakened the tiny tabs that hold the two halves of the case together. At first, the halves would work themselves loose, but could be fixed by simply pressing them together again. The problem continued to worsen though, and now rough handling or dropping my keys causes the case to completely open, spilling the batteries and LED light all over the ground. I super-glued the two halves together, but that unfortunately precludes changing the batteries again. Stick to the LRI Photons, they've never let me down.


Brunton New Firestorm Stormproof Lighter
Brunton New Firestorm Stormproof Lighter

4.0 out of 5 stars Worked great while it lasted, now dead, November 29, 2010
I bought this lighter in 2007 after being fed up with trying to light campfires with Bics/Zippos. Although I was a little surprised to find it made of plastic and not metal, it was otherwise well-built. It would light consistently on the 1st or 2nd spark, produce a focused flame, and was windproof enough to use outside in anything short of gusty winds. However about 1 year ago the piezo ignition system just went dead and now won't spark at all, and thus I can't light the butane. Brunton rates the piezo system for 30,000 ignitions, which I highly doubt I've reached. I estimate I've ignited it less than 3000 times. Since it's way beyond the warranty period, there's nothing I can do. I'm a little disappointed in Brunton, (1) for the grossly short lifespan of the piezo element- I wouldn't mind if the lifespan is indeed only 3000 ignitions, if only Brunton had been honest with the rating up front, and (2) for only offering a stingy 1-year warranty on such a pricey lighter. In retrospect, would I buy it again? Probably yes, considering how long it did last and the dearth of any real competition on the market. Zippo's Blu lighters are getting horrible reviews (and aren't waterproof), and Primus just rebrands generic hardware store-type lighters- very poor quality. The only brand I have yet to try is Delta's Windmill, which I may order next time.

On a side note, refillable butane lighters can be notoriously picky about fuel. If you are having problems with your lighter (not just this model), try using a different brand of fuel. Some brands are refined to be "thinner" and others "thicker", which can cause problems with some fuel jet systems. I used Ronson's butane fuel in my Firestorm and never had a problem.


No Title Available

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect EDC knife for the minimalist, November 2, 2010
In my opinion this is the perfect EDC knife if you're the type who doesn't like to carry around a bulky, heavy knife or multitool. This model features the bare essentials and easily slips into your pocket or onto your keychain without being noticeable. The 84mm size means it's not as unwieldy as the larger 91mm models, and yet the tools are still perfectly useful and not wimpy like on the Classic models. Alox handles keeps the knife slim and durable and gains a nice patina over time. My current Cadet is over 7 years old and still going strong- if I ever lose or break it, I'd buy another in a heartbeat.


Lowepro Spectrum 50 Camera Case (Espresso/Cocoa)
Lowepro Spectrum 50 Camera Case (Espresso/Cocoa)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for the Canon SX110, SX120, SX130, October 31, 2010
I wanted a quality camera case that would fit my SX110 well without any extra bulk. This case fit the bill perfectly. The 3/4 zipper allows me to keep the main compartment open while it's hanging from the shoulder strap, so I can quickly stow and retrieve my camera like a holster. The accessory pocket nicely holds 4 AA batteries (which you'll need if you own this camera series) and a spare memory card. The nice thing about the accessory pocket is that it's completely separate from the main pocket, unlike many other cases out there where the accessories are stowed in the same compartment as the camera. This means the accessories could scratch your camera and/or fall out when you open the case. No such problems here. Lastly, the brown color is a nice change from the all-too-common black and doesn't scream "I have a camera here!"


TP-LINK TL-WR741ND Wireless N150 Home Router,150Mpbs, IP QoS, WPS Button, 5 dBi detachable Antenna
TP-LINK TL-WR741ND Wireless N150 Home Router,150Mpbs, IP QoS, WPS Button, 5 dBi detachable Antenna
Price: Click here to see our price
47 used & new from $11.27

47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reliable and affordable no-frills wireless router!, October 17, 2010
I was looking for a basic but reliable wireless router so I could use my netbook around my condo, as well as hardwire my desktop PC and X360 to the internet. However I found that researching wireless routers is a nightmare, as for every person who lauds a particular model, there will be someone else who condemns it. This problem is especially prevalent among entry level models. Initially I was only considering LinkSys and DLink, since they are the two most famous consumer brands, but I couldn't find a basic model from either that was consistently rated well. There always seemed to be a small but significant proportion of users that would complain about dropped signals, running hot, firmware issues, etc. By chance though I saw this model reviewed on CNET [..]and immediately bought it from a local PC store. In addition to the good performance, long range, and ease of use as tested by CNET, this router was extremely affordable, which sealed the deal for me. After using this router for more than a year now, I can safely say that CNET's review is right on the money. It is a rock-solid router- I've only had 2-3 dropped signals to date. The signal easily covers every corner of my 3+1 bedroom condo, including the balcony. The unit does not run hot at all. Setting up and changing the settings on the router is indeed very easy and intuitive using the browser-based configuration. I strongly recommend that you download the latest firmware from TP-Link beforehand and update your router before actually setting up your network (it's very easy, just use the "update" option in the configuration screen and point to the downloaded firmware file). The fact that it is also one of the cheapest (but reliable) routers on the market is just icing on the cake. Keep in mind this is an entry-level model- 150Mbps only and no USB port for printer/HDD sharing, so if you need something more robust consider its bigger brothers like the 941ND or 1041ND. If you just need a no-frills, "fire and forget" wireless router to get online, buy this model, you won't be dissapointed.


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