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D-Link Wireless AC1900 Dual Band WiFi Gigabit Router (DIR-880L)
D-Link Wireless AC1900 Dual Band WiFi Gigabit Router (DIR-880L)
Offered by Amazing Gizmo
Price: $168.51
54 used & new from $159.85

4.0 out of 5 stars GREAT wireless range but not a perfect router by any means, October 31, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: Full-function router has a much improved (but still flawed) user interface, excellent range, but various cons and weirdness keep it from being a 5-star product.

BACKGROUND: We have happily been using a TP-LINK router for our home network. This router, while good, probably won't supplant our TP-LINK as our mainstay. For testing, I enlisted my college son (future IT pro) to help me, as he also helps maintain our home network).


- Simple initial setup/setup wizard
- The user interface is the best I've seen for a router; very clean
- Ability to limit guests to internet only with no access to other devices on network
- EXCELLENT wireless range
- Increased broadcast stability
- Useful live graph of network use
- Easy saving/restoring of router settings
- Easy network access to USB 2.0 and 3.0 devices (the router will show up as a computer in windows explorer (SAMBA), and through that you can gain access to any USB devices attached to the router)


- Very short timeout, ~ 5 minutes or less
- As an advanced user, we're forced to click "Advanced settings" on every page of the router's web setup; it would be much nicer to have a global setting that exposes all advanced settings on every page.
- We cannot configure static IP's for any devices not previously/currently connected to the network (my TP-LINK router lets us do this, though)
- We have to create rules for access controls, cannot create per-device, on-the-fly
- ROUTER RESETS DNS SETTINGS IF INTERNET CONNECTION IS LOST, must be manually re-established...Stupid
- Connected devices list organized completely arbitrarily, instead of in a logical fashion like by IP addresses or even device names


- After rebooting the router, my son's laptop initially detected the 5GHz network as unsecured, then after refreshing my network list, it was normal.
- When configuring time access controls, you highlight the slots you want to block, rather than what you want to allow. Also, unchecking the blocks of time is unintuitive and difficult
- USB 3.0 port is not in back of the router but on the side
- Sometimes saving changes will hang, and you will only see a spinning wheel without a countdown timer. No countdown timer usually means your changes won't get applied and you will have to refresh the page to get back into settings
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 31, 2014 11:59 AM PDT

Jack Black True Volume Thickening Shampoo, 12 fl. oz.
Jack Black True Volume Thickening Shampoo, 12 fl. oz.
Price: $19.00
16 used & new from $19.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Won't noticeably thicken short hair, but the fragrance is really good!, October 24, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: Pleasant smelling shampoo, but don't bother if you're a short-hair-wearing male.

BACKGROUND: In my family, I think most of us -- which includes males and females, adults and children -- got a chance to try the Jack Black shampoo. Opinions varied but centered around liking this product.


- I really liked the fragrance, which I found to be quite different than Suave Strawberry, my usual :-). My daughters liked the fragrance but thought it to be quite powerful, and I thought differently (they said it's because I'm old, but of course, that's not it).
- A quarter-sized dollop lathered up just fine
- As for "thickening"...I couldn't tell any difference, but I wear my hair very short. My daughters say they didn't really notice any thickening, but they enjoyed using this product. I think they just like the feeling of using something more exotic than our usual personal hygiene products.

There was nothing that we disliked about this product (although, given its expensive selling price, I would dislike paying nearly twenty bucks for shampoo that I otherwise get for a few dollars).

CONCLUSION: There are many ways to pamper yourself. This is one way to pamper yourself that costs about $20 but will last for several weeks (or months, depending on who's using it and how often). Overall, not a bad a value exchange.

T.S. Shure Daisy Girls Dollhouse & Dress-Ups Set
T.S. Shure Daisy Girls Dollhouse & Dress-Ups Set
Price: $59.99
2 used & new from $54.95

3.0 out of 5 stars A 4-star dollset with a 3-star dollhouse, October 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: The doll set itself is 4 stars, but the dollhouse it comes it only gets 3 stars. That, plus the recommended age of 3 and up seems a bit reaching; maybe 4 or 5 and up would be better.

BACKGROUND: Our family has a 3yo who helped us test this product. Her behavior is what leads me to suggest that the recommended age of 3+ is over-reaching. A 3yo just doesn't appreciate a gift like this like an older child likely would. If you spend $50 on a nice wooden doll set, you don't want a child to admire it for a moment and go on to something else. The other issue is the dollhouse, which does stow all the dolls and doll outfits, but is fairly useless aside from that. Finally, pay attention to the dimensions of this set -- it was much bigger than I imagined it would be! It's 24 inches x 18 inches. Make sure you know you can stow this doll house when not in use.


- Made of real wood, so it's durable and a throwback to yesteryear toys
- The dolls themselves are great! Lots of colorful and fun pieces to stick on/off
- It's got potential to be a fun gift for years to come
- It's an imaginative item that can engage a young girl's siblings or friends (and keep them away from the TV)


- The dollhouse background images aren't securely affixed to the dollhouse itself, so they tend to buckle and bow rather than lay flat.
- The two pieces that screw into the sides of the house (to help with balance) are irritatingly difficult to screw in
- The dollhouse itself has no magnetic surfaces, so there are no dollhouse pieces to stick on and off (like 2D pieces of furniture or decorations)
- The dollhouse is so shallow that all the child really does is just stand the dolls inside the room, rather than move the dolls around
- The attic is fairly useless; none of the standing pieces fit inside it
- You can't layer the pieces on the doll, so the doll can carry food or be fully clothed, but not both!

CONCLUSION: I recommend this item for slightly older children, maybe 4 or 5 years old and up, and only if the above complaints aren't bothersome to you.

U.S. Divers Malibu Silicone Free Diving Mask Snorkel Set, Clear
U.S. Divers Malibu Silicone Free Diving Mask Snorkel Set, Clear
Offered by Bay 15

3.0 out of 5 stars 5-star snorkel with a 2-star mask, October 6, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: The snorkel is a terrific improvement over the years-old style I'm used to, but the mask falters with the comfort under the nose. The mask's purge valve is unyielding, making the mask uncomfortable to wear.

BACKGROUND: I live in Florida and have enjoyed snorkeling for many years. I would never buy a mask online without first knowing how well the mask fit my face by going to a dive shop and trying on many kinds of masks. The shapes of people's heads and faces is virtually unlimited, and although a mask can adapt to comfortably fit many of those heads and faces, it's really demands a try-before-you-buy experience if you don't want to risk an ill-fitting mask. Turns out, this mask fit my face fairly well, but the purge valve beneath the nose inflexibly dug into my upper lip. It's fine to use while inspecting my pool, but I would never take this mask to the ocean for extended use.


- The snorkel is great! In our pool, I had my kids purposefully try to splash water on the exposed end of the snorkel while I was using it, and the snorkel's design very effectively kept water from entering the snorkel tube.
- The snorkel valves worked very well to both keep water from filling the snorkel tube (which is an innovation I'm not used to) as well as purging water from the tube (which I am used to)
- The snorkel mouthpiece was comfortable to use, and the flexible tubing and mask clip made it easy to attach to the mask and use with the mask
- The mask provided ample visual field of vision (note: it has no side glass for peripheral vision)
- The mask straps were very easily adjusted
- The tote bag was a nice touch to keep the snorkel and mask together


- The mask wasn't comfortable to wear because the area for the nose was a little too narrow for my nose, but, much more importantly, the purge valve under the nose just jammed into my upper lip, irrespective of how I adjusted the mask straps, causing some pain when I wore this mask in the pool

CONCLUSION: The snorkel was 5-stars for design and comfort. If the mask's purge valve didn't dig into my upper lip, I'd give this 4.5 stars (because the nose area was a tad too narrow), but the discomfort I had because of the mask purge valve meant that this mask is fine just to inspect my pool, but not for extended snorkeling in the ocean.

OXO Good Grips Silicone Spatula, Medium, White
OXO Good Grips Silicone Spatula, Medium, White
Price: $9.72
11 used & new from $8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Makes a good first impression, September 29, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: Nice weight and balance, stiff blade, and the blade and neck are made of one piece for improved durability. The only question is, how well does this last over time?

NOTE: If you're reading this review and others from Amazon's Vine Voices, know that none of us have had this item to test with for more than a month. In my experience, spatulas are great at the outset, but their durability and resistance to staining and shredded blade edges can only be judged over time. So, I peg this item as a 4-star item because I like it, but if it's as good one year from now as it is today, it'll be a 5-star item.


- Feels good in your hand, weighty without being heavy to hold
- The blade and neck are a single piece (no spatula head that falls off!)
- Dishwasher safe
- Safe to use up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can use this in cooking applications as well as for baking
- Supposedly resists staining, but we haven't used this enough to judge that characteristic


The spatula tends to attract crumbs or whatever small particles are in your utensils drawer. You may have to rinse off this spatula before you use it to remove any foreign material that the silicone material has attracted.

CONCLUSION: Nice spatula! I hope it lasts for many years.

Thule TCCS-101DKS Covert Covert CSC Satchel (Dark Shadow)
Thule TCCS-101DKS Covert Covert CSC Satchel (Dark Shadow)
Price: $49.95
2 used & new from $49.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Great bag for small cameras and personal devices - but there's no Velcro here, September 27, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Length:: 1:22 Mins

QUICK SUMMARY: Small, durable-looking camera bag works well for point-n-shoot cameras, larger cameras with zoom lens (but not DSLRs like the Canon Rebel), and most of your other personal electronics or keepsakes. Zippered pockets make it water resistant and secure, but zippers are more cumbersome to deal with. I miss having Velcro flaps.


- Small and compact, this would be a good choice if you're taking a camera to the park, beach or theme park
- Water resistant features like zippered pockets would keep your gear dry in a short shower
- Shock-absorbing, flannel lining would keep your camera from breaking if the bag falls to the ground
- The main pouch opens up away from you, so, if you're wearing it around your waist, you're not having to peer over the main pouch's flap (there's a small element of privacy, too, with this feature)
- Because the pouches are zippered, you won't accidentally have something fall out because a Velcro flap didn't catch right


- There is no Velcro here, so to open/close the flaps, you always having to zip/unzip which is a little bothersome, especially if you're wearing it around your waist. I suppose I wish it had the option to just use Velcro if you wanted, but also zipper shut the flap for greater protection. So, I guess the trade-off is you get better water-resistance and security by only having zippered pouches, but you're always having to unzip/zip to open/close this bag.

CONCLUSION: For someone who needs a small bag and doesn't mind zippered pockets, this is a very good choice for a small camera bag. Recommended!

Benson Mills Climbing Vine Heavy Weight Spillproof Tablecloth, Ivory, 60-inch-by-104 inch
Benson Mills Climbing Vine Heavy Weight Spillproof Tablecloth, Ivory, 60-inch-by-104 inch
Price: $19.99
2 used & new from $19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars We like the color, look and feel - but not the weaving flaws, September 26, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: My wife likes the look, feel and spillproof nature of this item, but she didn't like the fit-and-finish of it.


- The ivory color was very suitable for our dining room (the ivory color of this tablecloth is a little more yellowish than the product picture makes it out to be)
- The herringbone design was attractive
- The tablecloth has a rich, heavyweight feel to it
- It resists absorbing liquids spilled onto it, so they can be blotted up instead (but note: liquids do still seep through, so you still must use a table pad if your table is susceptible to water damage)


- The herringbone design tends to snag easily
- Our tablecloth came with two manufacturing defects, one of which was a 12-inch loop of thread that somehow didn't get woven into the fabric properly, and the other was a pilling that it noticeable but not terribly so

CONCLUSION: Overall, this is a nice item for the money. You get what you pay for.

Smart Weigh Digital Pro Pocket Scale with Back-Lit LCD Display, Tare, Hold and PCS Features 2000 x 0.1g Capacity (2 Lids Included)
Smart Weigh Digital Pro Pocket Scale with Back-Lit LCD Display, Tare, Hold and PCS Features 2000 x 0.1g Capacity (2 Lids Included)
Offered by MeasuRite
Price: $24.99
5 used & new from $14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Accurate, small, easy to use - but the precision level is illusionary, September 26, 2014
QUICK SUMMARY: Small scale works fine for a non-scientific scale that costs as much as two or three McDonald's dinners.


- Accurate to within a gram or two (see below)
- The backlit LCD display was easy to read
- Battery powered, so, no cords
- Small and compact, just 5" x 4"
- The "Count" function makes it easy to, say, count a jar of coins having the same denomination
- Has plastic covers to protect the scale when not in use (it has one cover for the weighing surface, and one for the entire scale)


- It only weighs up to 500 grams; my digital kitchen scale is much more useful to me
- The instruction manual uses a teensy-weeny font size of about 3 or 4 points
- The plastic covers lack a thumb notch to make them easy to remove (and why have two covers?)
- After self-calibrating, the scale tended to still bump around +/- 0.010 grams, even when nothing was on the scale. And really, can a scale like this really measure 1/1000th of a gram accurately?


A cup of water is about 8.3 ounces, or, about 237 grams. Use a measuring cup and the Tare function on this scale to check its accuracy. After turning on the scale, put a plastic cup on the scale and press Tare so it reads 0.000 grams. Then, pour exactly one cup of water into the plastic cup. It should read 237 grams, more or less. My scale read just slightly under 237 grams.

CONCLUSION: Great little scale for the money, but a good kitchen scale does everything this scale does. Unless you weigh very light items and/or need a very small scale, get a good kitchen scale instead. (Vendor supplied product for review).

Collar and Basic Dog Leash Combo - Small Adjustable Dog Wear Collar (10'' - 16'') with Extra Long Basic Leash (45'' = 114 cm)
Collar and Basic Dog Leash Combo - Small Adjustable Dog Wear Collar (10'' - 16'') with Extra Long Basic Leash (45'' = 114 cm)
Offered by PetMagasin Direct
Price: $23.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very strong collar/leash combination - but I didn't like the hardware, September 26, 2014
QUICK SUMMARY: The material looks as strong as the cargo straps inside my flatbed pickup, but I didn't care for the metal hardware used on the collar or the leash.


- Very sturdy collar and leash, you could use these to tow a vehicle, I think
- Both the collar and leash were surprisingly wide (I've seen this width only for large dog leashes; our dog is medium-sized)
- My daughters liked the color (but turns out, I disliked the light blue color against our mutt's black, white and tan fur)
- The light blue trim makes this an easy-to-find leash inside your vehicle, and you won't likely get it mixed-up with someone else's pet leash


- The collar's D ring (onto which you place a keyring holding your dog's tags) is so thick, we had to use a tool to separate the keyring wide enough so it could be threaded onto the D-ring. Rather than use such thick metal for the D-ring, I wish they used a thinner D-ring that was still just as sturdy (perhaps made of high-quality stainless steel instead).
- The thumb latch on the leash was difficult to depress and sounded awful. The spring-loaded pin scraped against the surrounding metal collar, which made a harsh sound (not a big deal, but annoying). I dabbed Vaseline into the mechanism to quiet the sound and make it easier to depress. Also, it just wasn't comfortable to depress this mechanism with my thumb; there should have been a little larger pad onto which you place your thumb when you're leashing or unleashing your pet.

CONCLUSION: Be sure your dog will look good in light blue before you pull the trigger on this item. (Vendor supplied product for review).

Surpahs Shiny Small Lightweight Digital Bathroom Scale w/ BMI Calculation, Auto Identify 4 Users [White]
Surpahs Shiny Small Lightweight Digital Bathroom Scale w/ BMI Calculation, Auto Identify 4 Users [White]
Offered by Surpahs
Price: $29.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Great choice for our bathroom - but why only four profiles?, September 26, 2014
QUICK SUMMARY: Sleek scale with a bright, easy-to-read, backlit, digital readout. Worked great! I only wish it had room for more than just four profiles. Recommended!


- The backlit LCD display makes reading the digital readout very easy to do, even on dreary mornings or in bathroom nooks that are shadowy
- The accuracy was as you'd expect to find (say, +/- 1 lb.)
- The instant-on feature was nice, as is the quick read-out
- The BMI was a unique touch (though BMI only has only moderate usefulness for making health decisions)
- I liked the way it matches each profile automatically, without having to specify which profile you're using
- Looks much more modern than our existing, mechanical-spring scale
- For the price, this is a very affordable scale!


- The only reason I didn't give this item 5 stars was because it only stores four profiles. Not every family is that perfect little nuclear family with a dad, mom, and two kids. My family is bigger than four people, so we can't all have a profile to measure our BMI over time. Not a big deal, but shoot -- how hard would it have been to include 8 or 10 profiles in the scale's design?

CONCLUSION: Great bathroom scale overall. Recommended! (Vendor supplied product for review).

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