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Customer Reviews: 341
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William W. Davis "famousdavis" RSS Feed
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K'nex Cosmic Quest Building Set
K'nex Cosmic Quest Building Set
Price: $12.49
11 used & new from $5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars If your child loves Legos, stick with Legos, September 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: For my Lego-lovin' pre-teen son, K'Nex kits like this can never be a 5-star product.

BACKGROUND: I have an older, pre-teen son that helped me test this item. He loves all-things Lego, but has a few K'Nex kits, too. He built the four-wheeled buggy that you see on the cover of the box, saying that it was the most interesting thing to build (the other interesting things were the space vehicle, also shown on the box cover, and a motorcycle not shown; the robot design was "boring," according to him).

WHAT HE and I LIKED:

- My son could follow the instructions and assemble the buggy without any parent involvement at all (but he thought for younger kids, ages 7-9, they would need some parent help)
- He said it was pretty easy to construct, taking him maybe 20-30 minutes to do
- The completed buggy didn't disassemble when falling onto the carpeted floor from my bed
- K'Nex are manufactured in the USA (Legos are made overseas, as Lego is a Denmark company)

WHAT COULD BE BETTER:

- K'Nex doesn't have (at least not in this kit) any characters like Lego kits often have. When you're building a buggy with a car seat in it, there's no companion K'Nex character to put inside it. Lego kits seem so much more sophisticated than K'Nex when it comes to detailed and imaginative building kits. My son loves playing make-believe games with all his Star Wars-themed Lego characters; conversely, K'Nex doesn't have any characters (at least nothing like Legos that have tons of characters)

CONCLUSION: I asked my son if he'd have been disappointed if he got this K'Nex set as a present, instead of *another* Lego set (with which he would help me write a product review). He admitted he would have been disappointed if this were given to him as a birthday or Christmas present instead of a Lego set. For the Lego-lovin' kid you know, stick with Legos, even if s/he already has hundreds or thousands of Lego pieces scattered around the house.


Acc U Rate® SM-310 Premium White Pulse Oximeter with black silicon cover, lanyard, pouch and batteries
Acc U Rate® SM-310 Premium White Pulse Oximeter with black silicon cover, lanyard, pouch and batteries
Offered by Med Shop & Beyond
Price: $39.99
2 used & new from $39.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic at-home way of measuring pulse and oxygen!, September 15, 2014
QUICK SUMMARY: Extremely easy to use, excellent display options, great accuracy, well-packaged. Highly recommended!

BACKGROUND: While I couldn't independently verify the oxygen level read-out from this unit, I did compare the pulse read-out to a great little iPhone app I have that measures pulse, plus I manually took my own pulse, too. Bottom line: the pulse read-out from this unit was both accurate and MUCH faster than either manually taking a pulse measurement or using my iPhone.

NOTE: This unit doesn't have an alarm, and it isn't supposed to be used continuously for many hours at a time. It's best used for obtaining quick, occasional (or regular, if needed), sporadic read-outs of one's pulse and blood oxygen level.

WHAT I LIKE:

- Easy to use and very responsive. Most members of my family got readings within seconds, only one member took a long time to obtain a reading (~1 minute)
- Excellent display that allows for brightness adjustment, and the display orientation is easily adjustable, too
- Easy-to-replace AAA batteries (it comes with two alkaline batteries in the package)
- Silicone cover protects the unit if you're toting it around on the included lanyard
- Comes with a travel pouch for storage and travel
- Accompanying literature says oxygen reading is accurate to within + or - 3% (if the measurement range is 70-99%)
- Accompanying literature says pulse readings are accurate to within + or - 2 beats per minute (if the measurement is 99bpm or less, otherwise it's accurate to within 2% of the true value)
- Auto-powers off if it's left unattended for just 7 seconds

WHAT COULD BE BETTER:

My only quibble is that the on/off button on the top of the unit turns the unit on with the slightest depress of the button, which means this unit can be easily turned on accidentally. I would rather it have a delayed response where the on/off button has to be depressed for 2 seconds before it powers-up, reducing the chance that it powers-up unintentionally. At least the auto-off function turns off the unit after just a few seconds.

CONCLUSION: This is a well-packaged, well-thought out, accurate little device! Highly recommended! (Vendor supplied unit for review).


OXO Good Grips Soap/Lotion Dispenser
OXO Good Grips Soap/Lotion Dispenser
Price: $12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good for one-handed and two-handed dispensing of soap!, September 13, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: My family was quite opinionated on their likes and dislikes of this item. Overall, we liked it, but some more than others.

BACKGROUND: I learned tonight that most of my family uses this dispenser with just one hand, pressing down on the top with their thumb while their fingers cradle the spigot to catch the soap. A minority of family members are two-handed, using one hand to press down on the dispenser while using the other hand to cup the dispensed soap. This dispenser works for either type of person, however!

WHAT WE LIKED:

- Clear soap/lotion dispenser shows the level of liquid soap or lotion
- Wide, flat top makes it easy to depress (with your thumb or with the palm of your hand)
- The spigot sticks out far enough so soap doesn't dribble down the side of the dispenser
- The flat top resists pooling water and getting scummy like some other dispensers do
- Sterile, neutral design (one family member said it looks like it should be in a doctor's office)
- It delivers a parsimonious amount of soap, but enough to lather your hands sufficiently (so, it's economical to use)

WHAT COULD BE BETTER:

- The top is hard to depress for those one-handers that use their thumbs to depress the top
- Some family members were vehement that they disliked the boring, sterile design
- If you like getting a lot of soap in your hand in one motion, know that you'll depress this dispenser 2x or 3x each washing

CONCLUSION: As a parent, I like this dispenser mostly because it delivers a small amount of liquid soap, so the soap lasts longer before refilling it. As a parent, I also dislike listening to the ongoing debate whether people should use soap dispensers with one hand or with two hands. Overall, recommended!


NOCO XGrid XGS4USB 4W Portable Solar Panel and USB Kit
NOCO XGrid XGS4USB 4W Portable Solar Panel and USB Kit
Price: $99.95
10 used & new from $99.70

3.0 out of 5 stars Technically, it works - but do you really need it?, September 13, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: Know what to expect! You'll be disappointed if you think you'll use this to charge your USB device directly. Instead, it's intended to take a lo-o-o-ng time to charge an external battery pack during a sunny day, and then the battery pack can charge your USB device at night (or during the day, too). If you try to use these solar panels to recharge your iPhone directly, you'll be sorry you did: it took 5x longer to charge an iPhone battery that way. Overall, it's far easier and more reliable to just charge up, then carry, a spare battery pack unless you're camping somewhere without electricity for weeks at a time.

BACKGROUND: My family tried using this product today under very sunny skies, setting the solar panels on a table in my backyard and angling the panels to face the sun. We used the solar panels to charge up the included battery pack, plus we tried directly charging both an iPhone 4S and 5S, and my son tried charging his iPod and iPad.

RESULTS:

- It can't charge an iPad via the solar panels directly, but it can charge an iPod or iPhone (you get a warning from the iPod/iPhone saying the power supply is not compatible, though).

- It took MUCH longer to charge my iPhones when I tried connecting these solar panels directly to my iPhone. For example, after being connected to these solar panels directly for 15 minutes under sunny skies, my iPhone 5S went from 54% to 57%, an increase of only 1% every 5 minutes. Conversely, using our home's electricity, my iPhone went from 57% to 71% in the same 15 minutes, an increase of 1% every minute. What that suggests is that the solar panels are five times slower to charge batteries than household electricity!

- When using the supplied battery pack, the battery pack delivers enough power to recharge either an iPad or an iPhone (without any warning message like when we connected the solar panels directly to these devices).

Now, in fairness, the product literature seems to indicate that the way the system is designed, you use the solar panels to only charge the included battery pack, and then you use the battery pack to charge your devices. That point is not stressed well enough, however, in the product description or user guide.

WHAT I LIKED:

- The solar panel design is well-thought out, with the fold-up, zip-it-up design and a pouch for necessary cables
- The battery pack has a water-resistant plug to make the pack weather resistant
- The 5V regulator has a green LED light that indicates whether the panels are producing power or not
- The system is expandable: add more solar panels, get more power
- You can simultaneously charge the battery via the solar panels, and use the battery to charge a USB device, too

WHAT I DISLIKED:

- I disliked that the system can't just recharge an iPhone battery directly under sunny skies (at least not more quickly than it does)
- Since it's still summer, I think the solar panel went into "deep sleep" mode because it got too hot today. It only operates when ambient temperatures are between 41 and 95 degree Fahrenheit. I think our patio area got too hot under the sun, and that explains why at one point, the system seemed to not work at all. (If it goes into "deep sleep" mode, take it out of the sun and wait 15 minutes before using it again).
- If you recharge your USB device while the battery itself is being charged, there is no LED indication to let you know whether it's powered on/off (instead, the LED lights are flickering red indicating the battery is being recharged). I'd prefer a dedicated LED light devoted to indicating whether the battery pack is turned on or off, rather than have a dual-purpose, single LED light.

CONCLUSION: With so many external battery pack options available for purchase at one-half or less the cost of these solar panels, you have to ask yourself why you need solar panels at all? For the price of this unit, you can buy TWO 11000mAh external battery packs which are enough to recharge your iPhone every day for two weeks - even under gray skies!


Now Designs Apron, Wine Labels
Now Designs Apron, Wine Labels
Price: $22.00
4 used & new from $19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An apron for drinkers and teetotalers of either gender, September 10, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: Nice-looking unisex apron is like what you'd expect. But it could be better.

BACKGROUND: (The apron I'm reviewing has the wine bottle pattern to it). Okay, I don't do the cooking in my home; my wife does. I donned this apron and had to ask for help to understand how to tie it behind my back. With teen children (male and female) in my home, it's nice to have a unisex apron like this in the kitchen.

WHAT I LIKED:

- Made of cotton, easy to clean, just toss it in the washer
- My wife, a teetotaler, surprised me by saying she likes the way it looks
- Offers plenty of coverage, high and low
- Has a single, large pocket in the front of the apron
- The wine-bottle pattern can easily obscure/hide stains

WHAT COULD BE BETTER:

- Okay, I don't use aprons, but if I did, I'd want Velcro on the straps so I don't have to tie it behind my back.
- Having apron pockets is a good idea, but I'd prefer a more natural left- and right-side pockets, like I'm wearing a pair of cargo shorts
- The cotton is not pre-washed so it feels stiff and not-so-soft when brand-new

CONCLUSION: Very practical apron. Even if you don't drink wine. Recommended!


Twinings Chai Latte K-cups for Keurig Brewers, 12 Count
Twinings Chai Latte K-cups for Keurig Brewers, 12 Count
Offered by Coffee & Filters Direct, Inc.
Price: $12.99
2 used & new from $12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars I love great tea; I liked this tea, September 5, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: The two tea lovers in this family both liked (but not loved) this tea. 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 stars for this review.

BACKGROUND: I love afternoon tea and drink it nearly daily, usually mixing green tea with mint, but I like chai tea and other flavors, too. This was my first time using our Keurig to make tea, though, and I had my doubts about it. Tea is best when it steeps for minutes, not seconds. But though it passes through the K-cup only for a few seconds, the resulting flavor was satisfyingly good.

WHAT I LIKED:

- So fast and easy to make a quick tea using a Keurig machine!
- The chai tea flavor was satisfyingly good

WHAT COULD BE BETTER:

- The flavor was not as intense as I prefer
- The "latte" was not as creamy as I prefer
- I usually use no sweeteners at all, but if I do use them, I prefer raw honey over sugar (this product uses sugar)
- I never, ever prefer dry milk over fresh dairy

CONCLUSION: If you love your Keurig and you like chai tea, this is a nice product, but it won't replace preparing your own tea concoction using great ingredients and a tea kettle. But it is nice to have these K-cups on-hand to augment your current beverage selections for guests, and to quickly prepare a cup of tea without any fuss at all.


Charmin Ultra Soft Toilet Paper 24 Mega Roll (6 packs of 4 Mega Rolls)
Charmin Ultra Soft Toilet Paper 24 Mega Roll (6 packs of 4 Mega Rolls)
Price: $34.79
5 used & new from $31.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charmin changed my life forever, September 2, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: My life was changed forever after switching to Charmin!

BACKGROUND: I used to live in a poor hut, destitute, and had nothing but my children's graded tests and homework to use for our bathroom tissue. My children got all D-minuses on their tests and homework, and my wife was ready to leave me. I was overweight and balding. I had pimples on my face... and elsewhere. Our toilet used to easily clog and overflow regularly. Then, one day I was invited to review Charmin toilet tissue -- and my life was changed forever!

WHAT I LIKE:

- Instantly, after the first use, I received a job promotion at work, and a 50% increase in pay, so buying premium Charmin 2-ply Ultra Soft Mega rolls is no longer beyond my grasp

- Using Charmin Ultra Soft, my children gained self-confidence overnight, and they starting getting A's on all their tests and homework assignments. My eldest son is now projected to finish college in three years instead of four. My youngest has already been accepted with full-ride scholarships at both MIT and Stanford. My daughters became homecoming queens. Thank you, Charmin!

- With my newfound wealth, I was able to buy my wife a new, 4-diamond wedding band, wrapped in Charmin, to give her for our wedding anniversary. She was so excited! She unfurled the Charmin, found the ring, tossed it aside, then gathered up the pile of Charmin and ran for the bathroom! I returned the wedding band to the jeweler and got all my money back. Best. Present. Ever!

- I enjoy using Charmin so much, I've actually lost weight for the first time since I got married. Now I'm back to my pre-marriage weight!

- My complexion cleared up. Everywhere!

- When our toilet overflows, it takes just a few sheets of Charmin Ultra Soft Mega Roll to sop up the mess. No more using my wife's bath towels!

- When my kids tee-pee their youth pastor's house, it takes just a few rolls to make his front yard look like a Nor'easter suddenly hit

- I can always watch TV shows that I want to watch, because the kids prefer our bathroom over our family room now.

WHAT I DISLIKE:

- My older brother visits me more often just so he can steal our Charmin Ultra Soft Mega Rolls. (Upside: he stays in the bathroom longer when he does visit).

- Folks enjoy their bathroom experience so much, we have to empty our septic tank weekly now, instead of once every few years.

- Strangely, my daughters' bosoms have doubled in size, and this has suddenly attracted some new riffraff into our home and lives.

- We've had to install a deli-counter numbering system because there's always a line to use the bathroom now

CONCLUSION: Mainly because it costs so much to empty our septic tank, I'm going back to used tests and graded homework assignments. I'll also get to see more of my wife again, too. Uh oh. I think I see a pimple on my nose.....


New Blue Tatsu Dragon Pendant Collectible Accessory Serpent Necklace
New Blue Tatsu Dragon Pendant Collectible Accessory Serpent Necklace
Offered by ArtFlowDesigns
Price: $12.79
3 used & new from $12.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Best Christmas present I bought for my teenaged daughter!, August 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: My teenaged daughter loves this necklace! Well worth the money!

I bought this for one of my teenaged daughters for Christmas 2013. Many months later, my daughter wears this necklace frequently around her neck. She told me very recently it was her favorite necklace, that she loves it. What a bargain! No gold, no silver, no semi-precious stones -- just a dragon with a blue piece of glass and a leather strap. My daughter, who loves reading fantasy books, apparently connects well with the fantastical dragon pendant on this necklace. The dark leather (or leather-like?) strap seems to be her liking, too, although she gravitates to finer, more feminine jewelry.

CONCLUSION: Great bargain necklace for a teenager (girl or boy)! Recommended!


MLB Miami Marlins Pinch Hitter 9Forty
MLB Miami Marlins Pinch Hitter 9Forty
Price: $17.99
5 used & new from $16.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Inexpensive, but still nice, baseball cap, but not the best fit for younger kids, August 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: Bought this for my Marlins pre-teen son. He loves the hat, although it's too big for him.

BACKGROUND: My son and I went to see a Cards v. Marlins game recently (I'm a Cards fan, he's a Marlins fan, but neither of us are really baseball fans and neither of us follow our teams closely all season long). He had the old Florida Marlins cap, but since we were going to a game, he wanted a new Miami Marlins cap, so I got one for him for his birthday. He loved it! And it was much cheaper than buying it in Marlins Field.

WHAT I LIKED:

- Authentically labeled baseball cap for the Miami Marlins
- The cap is, of course, adjustable so we could fit it onto my son's head
- Seems like a sturdy cap for the money

WHAT COULD BE BETTER:

- For an older pre-teen boy, this cap didn't fit all that well, even after adjusting the strap in the back. Fortunately, that didn't seem to trouble my son -- he wore his cap with pride that day (and, the Marlins won, too, making it an even better day for him).

CONCLUSION: Economical baseball-logo cap for Marlins fans.


Genuine Joe GJO15360 5-Mil Light Powder Industrial Nitrile Gloves, Small, Light Blue (Pack of 100)
Genuine Joe GJO15360 5-Mil Light Powder Industrial Nitrile Gloves, Small, Light Blue (Pack of 100)
Price: $9.70
9 used & new from $9.36

5.0 out of 5 stars STRONG glove alternative to latex gloves!, August 29, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: Outstanding strength for a disposable glove! Easy on and off. Just be sure you buy the right size for your hand. Recommended!

BACKGROUND: The gloves I tested and reviewed were sized Small. Not knowing what size my hands were, I consulted the Source of All Knowledge (Google) and found a link that told me how to size my hand. Basically, you measure your middle finger to your write for one size, and also you measure the length it takes to wrap something around knuckles at the base of your fingers. Doing that, my actual size showed my hand size is between Small and Medium. When I tried putting on these gloves, they fit MUCH too snuggly; I clearly need Medium size. I didn't dock any stars from my review for this little mishap, though.

WHAT I LIKED:

- Easy on and off; they are lightly powdered inside the glove to make them easy to don and remove
- STRONG! I could not use my finger to stretch and puncture the glove. They do still puncture with very sharp points, though!
- Good fit (if you choose the right size to begin with)

There was nothing I thought of that could make these any better.

CONCLUSION: Great alternative to latex gloves! Recommended!


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