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William Grose "Tzu Crazy" RSS Feed (Seattle, WA)
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   

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Denon HEOS 3 Wireless Speaker
Denon HEOS 3 Wireless Speaker
Price: $299.00

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent sound, but just a little rough around the edges., July 11, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The first part of this review is for iPhone 5S + HEOS 3 functionality. The second part (at bottom) is for iPhone 5S + HEOS 5 functionality, and then HEOS 3 + HEOS 5 as a system.

The HEOS system is Denon's "answer" to all the iOS AirPlay systems out there, but with some love shown to Android users, too. The problem, right off the bat, is that by catering to both iOS and Android, Denon have surprisingly over-complicated some things, and completely (at least for now) omitted others.

Opening this HEOS 3 is a joy. One piece of easily-removed foam from the top, and out pops the speaker. There was no squeezing hands in around pieces of packaging trying to wiggle any parts out. It's good to see Denon paying attention to the actual product packaging, as it definitely exudes quality.

With the speaker out of the box, it's a simple case of plugging it in. You'll need to download the free HEOS app from the Google Play store, or from the Apple App Store. The HEOS app will run you through a very simple setup process to get the HEOS speaker to connect to your home network. For reference, I had no trouble connecting the HEOS to either the 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz bands on my 2013 Apple Time Capsule.

A firmware update was available at the time of writing, so I ran that. It took just a minute or two, and then the speaker went into a reboot process and reconnected to my 5Ghz network without issue.

At this point, I logged in to my Pandora Radio account through the HEOS app, and was able to view my stations and add new ones with ease. Playing music, artwork, skipping songs etc works just great.

I prefer the sound of the HEOS 3 with the speaker set in the horizontal position. NOTE: The speaker's software is set up for it to be used vertically out of the box, so if horizontal positioning works better for you, be sure to change the speaker orientation in the setup menu of the HEOS app.

Unfortunately, there's no way to use iTunes Home Sharing, or iTunes Radio with the HEOS system as of July, 2014. This is a rather frustrating omission. Currently, the only options for music are: Pandora, Spotify, tunein, Rhapsody, - and what's actually on your iPhone. In addition, you can use the auxiliary input on the speaker to output any audio from any source that has a 3.5mm headphone jack, but then of course you're constrained by a wire...

Audio quality is excellent. The HEOS 3, being the smallest of the HEOS line, is probably best in a smaller room, but it puts out a clean sound as long as you don't push the volume levels to their max. Bass isn't great (I get fuller bass from my Jawbone Big Jambox) even when pushed to the max bass level in the HEOS app, but that's expected from a speaker of this size. The higher end of the audio spectrum is handled beautifully, with clean treble. Hayley Westenra sounds lovely on the HEOS 3, though to be fair - Hayley Westenra would sound wonderful on a potato.

Pros:

1.) Works similarly to Google Chromecast, where it actually hands off e.g. Pandora to the device. So you start the HEOS app, and then Pandora Radio from your iPhone. After the music starts playing on the HEOS, you can switch your phone off because the HEOS has taken over at this point. This is actually a good way of doing things, because it rules out a device. With AirPlay from your phone to another wireless speaker, you have the phone communicating with the Internet to get the music, while continually handing off that music to the wireless speaker. This means two devices have to work together at all times, wirelessly. You'll see more audio drops due to interference etc this way, so Denon solves that problem to a greater degree.

The benefit to HEOS app over AirPlay, is that currently iOS devices can not AirPlay to more than one device at a time. With your Mac computer, in iTunes, you can output music etc to multiple speakers over AirPlay, but you can't from your iPhone or iPad. The HEOS app solves that issue with its own app.

But... (see cons...)

2.) Audio quality is clean and crisp. Sound is very, very subjective, but I like what I hear, especially given the HEOS 3's fairly diminutive size.

3.) Comes with a mounting screw-hole for wall mounting.

Cons:

1.) Because it's not AirPlay-capable, adjusting volume on the HEOS isn't as simple as just hitting the volume up/down button even while your iPhone's screen is off (like you can do in AirPlay). To adjust the volume, you need to unlock your phone, be in the HEOS app, and then you can use the volume up/down on your iPhone. You can do this on the speaker itself, but either way it's just not *quite* as convenient as I'd like.

2.) Some slightly flakey software. I've had a few occasions where waking up my phone to get back into the HEOS app while a song is playing has resulted in the HEOS software deciding to play a completely different song from a completely different album on my phone. Wait... what?

3.) The bottom of the HEOS 3 speaker (in portrait mode) is a travesty of design. There's a large, shower-curtain-grey thick rubber strip that goes around the entire bottom, clearly designed to stop the speaker sliding or getting knocked over too easily. The downside is that it's really, really ugly in landscape mode. Not only that, but this rubber strip houses a giant blue LED. I took a tape measure, and the LED light, including light bleed/leakage into the rubber strip, is about two inches in length. TWO inches! You know it's not a good sign when you can use the LED from an electronic device as a reading lamp. Yes, I tested this, and yes, you can read a book in the dark when sitting close to the HEOS 3 speaker. It's admittedly not AS obnoxious when the speaker is in vertical orientation, but since the speaker is designed to sit in either direction, it's just a shame that the left side of the speaker is so unsightly when positioned landscape.

What's worse, is that this blue light is on 100% of the time. Whether playing music or sitting idle, that blue light will be ON. If you don't like bright, blue LEDs as I don't, be prepare to get creative, somehow. As it is, bedroom use is reserved only for the less sensitive among us.

Interestingly, the product picture of the left side (in landscape) on Amazon shows what appears to be a black strip around the speaker, but it's absolutely not when you receive the product.

Denon: Please implement an option to dim/disable this LED.

4.) No (current) support for iTunes, iTunes Radio, Amazon music, Google Play etc. I really hope this gets resolved, because this is a big one.

Overall, this is a good effort from Denon. I'm not sure it's quite there in terms of software, and some hardware design is just bewildering, but I suspect this is a product line that will evolve pretty quickly as more users get their hands on them and Denon receives feedback. Hopefully someone at the HEOS team is listening!

3.75 stars out of 5.

-----

HEOS 5 review:

Unpacking the HEOS 5 is similar to the HEOS 3, in a good way. A simple unpacking experience really puts me in a good mood, so I expected good things.

For the HEOS 5 vs HEOS 3, things are MUCH improved. Quite frankly you should skip the HEOS 3 unless you NEED wall-mounting ability or the additional size of the HEOS 5 doesn't work for you (or the increased cost, of course). The HEOS 5 is in a different league of audio output compared to the HEOS 3. As my wife put it, "there's just so much more there." Separation of channels is more apparent, bass is much more there (the whole speaker vibrates - in a good way!), and it feels like an actual speaker "system" vs just a lone speaker as the HEOS 3 comes across as.

Sadly, Big Blue LED makes a return in the HEOS 5, though because the HEOS 5 sits in just one orientation it's marginally less unpleasant on the eyes, always along the bottom of the speaker (though still too much).

In terms of setting the speaker up, it's exactly the same procedure as the HEOS 3, which is to say - it takes but a moment.

After having to update the firmware on the HEOS 3 out of the box, I figured I'd immediately check for an update for the HEOS 5. Denon's HEOS software told me there wasn't one. However, after trying (unsuccessfully) to "move" the HEOS 3 and the HEOS 5 together in the software, the app told me there was an update available. OK then. The firmware update ran and the HEOS 5 updated (indicated by a flashing yellow light while downloading the firmware, and a flashing blue light while installing the firmware).

After the update, I was able to move the HEOS 3 and 5 in software into the same "room," so I could test this functionality.

For the HEOS 5 speaker by itself, 4.5 stars out of 5. A noticeably better product than the HEOS 3, and certainly worth the additional cost.

-----

HEOS 5 + HEOS 3 System:

Denon have the right idea, here. Surprisingly, the HEOS 3 and HEOS 5 work quite well together, even in the same room. There's zero perceptible latency when streaming music to both speakers at the same time. I even placed the speakers right next to each other and - no question - perfectly synced music. I was even more surprised to here that the HEOS 3 and 5 actually play well together in the same room, as long the volumes are leveled (which you can do independently in the HEOS app). The good thing here is that e.g. level 34 on the HEOS 3 is the "same" as level 34 HEOS 5, so volume leveling is easy.

"Separating" the speakers from each other in their virtual room, I was able to play Pandora radio to one HEOS speaker, while playing some music from my iPhone on the other. It's easy to switch between speakers and make adjustments to volume etc. Great stuff.

However, the bugs that are in the software just feel slightly more readily apparent when you have multiple HEOS speakers involved. I ran into a peculiar one where I was unable to adjust the EQ for the HEOS 5 when both the HEOS 3 and 5 were playing. The treble and bass settings were adjustable, but had no actual effect on the audio being played. A combination of rebooting the speaker and closing/reopening the software solved it, but it's cropped up on numerous occasions now as to convince me it's not just a one-off bug. I'd say set your treble and bass and leave it, at least until Denon (hopefully) issue some updates.

Overall, as a system, the foundation is there. There's a consistency between the HEOS 3 and HEOS 5 here that I really like, but I'd really like to see some maturity of software (and support of more music apps), along with the aforementioned ability to disable those LEDs...

As a "system", the Denon HEOS receives a 4 out of 5. Bring on the software updates!


Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4640 Wireless and WiFi Direct, All-in-One Color Inkjet Printer, Copier, Scanner, 2-Sided Auto Duplex, ADF, Fax. Prints from Tablet/Smartphone. AirPrint Compatible. (C11CD11201)
Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4640 Wireless and WiFi Direct, All-in-One Color Inkjet Printer, Copier, Scanner, 2-Sided Auto Duplex, ADF, Fax. Prints from Tablet/Smartphone. AirPrint Compatible. (C11CD11201)
Price: $299.99
6 used & new from $271.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but not as good a value as the WF-4630., July 10, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
(To note: This printer is IDENTICAL to the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4630, except for a couple of things:

1.) The touch-screen is larger on the WF-4640.
2.) The paper capacity is 250 pages greater on the WF-4640. The WF-4640 is a few inches taller than the WF-4630 because of this.

If neither of those features are of particular interest, go for the WF-4630 and save the not insignificant amount of money.)

Unpacking and setup was easy. The printer was shipped it its original box. It was packaged securely, and arrived safely. Unpacking take about 15 to 20 minutes to carefully remove all the packaging materials.

The printer offers ample connection options: USB, wired, or wireless network. Since it is not located near a computer, I used wired networking. It was a breeze to connect. I just plugged in the power cord and the ethernet cable. It just takes a few minutes.

Installing the ink cartridges is very easy, as the compartment is accessible from the front, and they slide right in with a gentle push that locks them into place. The printer then takes about 10 minutes to load the ink, and it must perform this task uninterrupted. It is also quite noisy while it processes the ink carts, so it is best to leave the room and come back later.

Using the printer is also very easy. I specially like that it works with many devices without additional software. I was able to add the printer in OS X 10.9 and Windows 8 quickly, and both operating systems then offered printing and scanning to it. I was able to print directly from an iPad without any setup. From Safari, select "Print", the WF-4630 is shown, and you print. That's it!

I scanned from Windows 8 native scanning application without problems. OS X's built in scanning features also worked fine.

For iPad, I downloaded the Epson iPrint app. It is a free, quick download. The application quickly found the printer, and I was able to scan double-sided documents via the automatic document feeder (ADF), then mail the documents right from there. Very convenient if you need to send someone a quick document. The app allows you to print photos and documents on your device.

A couple of negatives:

The controls on the printer itself could use a bit of improvement. For example, I was not able to copy a document by placing it into the ADF, then pressing the "B&W" or "Color" button. I needed to first pick "Copy" from the touch screen.

Also, the document feeder gets jammed with small documents. I tried a 4x6 photo, and it jammed while scanning via the ADF. I had to place it directly on the flatbed, then it worked fine. Another document, which was "Letter" width (8.5 inches), but shorter than 11 inches was not able to be scanned double-sided, as the ADF reported a jam, even though the document made it through the ADF just fine.

I tried printing content from a USB drive. The good news is that it quickly loaded and allowed me to browse 1,300 pictures. Thumbnails came up fast. The bad news is that I was not able to print it. The "proceed" was grayed out and I could not figure out how to make it continue. Weird, but certainly not a deal-breaker. Also, I did not find a way to list PDF files in the same thumb drive. It present 2 options: JPEG and TIFF. No option for PDF.

I did manage to quickly scan a document and save it into the thumb drive, though. So that worked fine!

The printing function is very fast. Full color pages were printed quickly, and the text and graphics were very sharp and bright, even on plain paper. Double-sided printing is also very fast. Photos print fast, and look great, if you consider this is not a photo printer.

The Epson WF-4640 also multitasks, as I was able to send a document to print while I was scanning using the ADF.

Another great feature is the Wi-Fi Direct connectivity. In this mode, the WF-4640 acts like a wireless access point, allowing other devices to connect to it via Wi-Fi. This works brilliantly with a smartphone. For example, I was able to connect to it from my iPhone 5S (iOS 7.1.2), then print a photo from the Photos app, via AirPrint. No extra software or configuration at the device needed!

Overall, the WF-4640 is an great multi-function all-in-one. Where it really shines is on its connectivity options, which makes using it
from almost anywhere very convenient.

4.5 stars out of 5. Only a noticeable value difference from the WF-4630 holds this back from 5 stars.

PS On a side-note, this WF-4640 had a peculiar smell of lemons while being unpacked. Depending on your feelings toward citrus fruit, this could be a potential pleasant surprise...


OCZ Storage Solutions Vertex 460 Series 240GB SATA III 2.5-Inch 7mm Height Solid State Drive (SSD) With Acronis True Image HD Cloning Software- VTX460-25SAT3-240G
OCZ Storage Solutions Vertex 460 Series 240GB SATA III 2.5-Inch 7mm Height Solid State Drive (SSD) With Acronis True Image HD Cloning Software- VTX460-25SAT3-240G
Price: Click here to see our price
53 used & new from $148.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Solid, speedy drive for us Mac users., July 7, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
One of the best things about SSDs (aside from the speed, of course!), is that you no longer have to put up with the screeches and clicks from the drive. From parking heads to grinding, that sort of thing will never happen again for our boot drives. For those of you new to Solid State Disks, they're silent. Zero moving parts.

So the OCZ Vertex 460 doesn't set itself apart there, because - of course - all SSDs these days are fast, and they've always been silent, even when they were slow.

Note, OCZ is now owned by Toshiba since January of 2014. In my household at least, OCZ hasn't had the best track record historically. We've had numerous OCZ Vertex (the original Vertex) failures, but now that Toshiba has its hands in OCZ's pie, we *should* see greater reliability across the board.

So, what makes this SSD special and sets it apart from the Samsung Evo line? Well, that's hard to say, really. At the time of writing, the Samsung Evo 250GB (yes, it has 10GB more space than the Vertex 460 240GB) is cheaper on Amazon. Samsung also has a stellar track record, so why would you risk it?

That's a question OCZ will have to answer, because the Evo and the Vertex 460 benchmark very similarly, and in everyday use you won't notice any difference between them.

To try something different, I grabbed a Seagate Backup Plus Thunderbolt adapter and a 2.5" USB 3.0 enclosure, and connected this OCZ Vertex 460 to them to see what kind of read/write speeds I could attain connected to my 2012 iMac.

Thunderbolt: 370MB/s read, 270MB/s write
USB 3.0: 240MB/s read, 240MB/s write

So Thunderbolt is clearly the preferred external connection method, though clearly the OCZ is not optimized for such a connection. For reference, my old Samsung 830 256GB SSD benchmarks at 370MB/s read, 320MB/s write over Thunderbolt, whereas over SATA III, the Evo and Vertex are easily the faster drives. Still, even over Thunderbolt or USB 3.0, those speeds can't really be considered *slow*.

Overall, I've had zero issues with the Vertex 460 series, despite hammering on it over the last week with random huge file transfers and thousands of smaller transfers.

The only reason this gets 4.5 stars instead of 5 is because of the elephant in the room: Samsung. Priced essentially identically (and with slightly larger storage), the Samsung Evo 250GB has been an absolute favorite in this price range.

In any case, for now it seems you can't go wrong either way. Go with the best price!

4.5 stars out of 5. Recommended.


Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4630 Wireless and WiFi Direct All-in-One Color Inkjet Printer, Copier, Scanner, 2-Sided Auto Duplex, ADF, Fax. Prints from Tablet/Smartphone. AirPrint Compatible. (C11CD10201)
Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4630 Wireless and WiFi Direct All-in-One Color Inkjet Printer, Copier, Scanner, 2-Sided Auto Duplex, ADF, Fax. Prints from Tablet/Smartphone. AirPrint Compatible. (C11CD10201)
Price: $189.99
24 used & new from $183.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly excellent Espon offering., July 7, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Unpacking and setup was easy. The printer was shipped it its original box. It was packaged securely, and arrived safely. Unpacking take about 15 to 20 minutes to carefully remove all the packaging materials.

The printer offers ample connection options: USB, wired, or wireless network. Since it is not located near a computer, I used wired networking. It was a breeze to connect. I just plugged in the power cord and the ethernet cable. It just takes a few minutes.

Installing the ink cartridges is very easy, as the compartment is accessible from the front, and they slide right in with a gentle push that locks them into place. The printer then takes about 10 minutes to load the ink, and it must perform this task uninterrupted. It is also quite noisy while it processes the ink carts, so it is best to leave the room and come back later.

Using the printer is also very easy. I specially like that it works with many devices without additional software. I was able to add the printer in OS X 10.9 and Windows 8 quickly, and both operating systems then offered printing and scanning to it. I was able to print directly from an iPad without any setup. From Safari, select "Print", the WF-4630 is shown, and you print. That's it!

I scanned from Windows 8 native scanning application without problems. OS X's built in scanning features also worked fine.

For iPad, I downloaded the Epson iPrint app. It is a free, quick download. The application quickly found the printer, and I was able to scan double-sided documents via the automatic document feeder (ADF), then mail the documents right from there. Very convenient if you need to send someone a quick document. The app allows you to print photos and documents on your device.

A couple of negatives:

The controls on the printer itself could use a bit of improvement. For example, I was not able to copy a document by placing it into the ADF, then pressing the "B&W" or "Color" button. I needed to first pick "Copy" from the touch screen.

Also, the document feeder gets jammed with small documents. I tried a 4x6 photo, and it jammed while scanning via the ADF. I had to place it directly on the flatbed, then it worked fine. Another document, which was "Letter" width (8.5 inches), but shorter than 11 inches was not able to be scanned double-sided, as the ADF reported a jam, even though the document made it through the ADF just fine.

I tried printing content from a USB drive. The good news is that it quickly loaded and allowed me to browse 1,300 pictures. Thumbnails came up fast. The bad news is that I was not able to print it. The "proceed" was grayed out and I could not figure out how to make it continue. Weird, but certainly not a deal-breaker. Also, I did not find a way to list PDF files in the same thumb drive. It present 2 options: JPEG and TIFF. No option for PDF.

I did manage to quickly scan a document and save it into the thumb drive, though. So that worked fine!

The printing function is very fast. Full color pages were printed quickly, and the text and graphics were very sharp and bright, even on plain paper. Double-sided printing is also very fast. Photos print fast, and look great, if you consider this is not a photo printer.

The Epson WF-4630 also multitasks, as I was able to send a document to print while I was scanning using the ADF.

Another great feature is the Wi-Fi Direct connectivity. In this mode, the WF-4630 acts like a wireless access point, allowing other devices to connect to it via Wi-Fi. This works brilliantly with a smartphone. For example, I was able to connect to it from my iPhone 5S (iOS 7.1.2), then print a photo from the Photos app, via AirPrint. No extra software or configuration at the device needed!

Overall, the WF-4630 is an great multi-function all-in-one. Where it really shines is on its connectivity options, which makes using it from almost anywhere very convenient.

Highly recommended: 5 stars out of 5.


Mediabridge ULTRA Series HDMI Cable (50 Feet) - High-Speed Supports Ethernet, 3D and Audio Return [Newest Standard]
Mediabridge ULTRA Series HDMI Cable (50 Feet) - High-Speed Supports Ethernet, 3D and Audio Return [Newest Standard]
Offered by Mediabridge Products, LLC
Price: $25.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Just works, with no issue., June 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Boy, there's not much to say about an HDMI cable that works, really. The ends feel solid, the cable is thick and reassuringly solid, and it solved the issue of wanting to occasionally plug my cable TV into my projector from the other room.

I got the 50 feet version, and I've had zero dropouts of any sort. A solid product from Mediabridge.

5 stars out of 5.


CompuLab Display Emulator (fit-Headless)
CompuLab Display Emulator (fit-Headless)
Offered by Compulab Ltd.
Price: $15.00
2 used & new from $15.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for those headless computers out there., June 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Like many out there, I use a 2012 Mac mini for media serving. The problem with this is that, without a display connected, the performance of remote desktop-ing to a 2012 Mac mini is appalling. The remote desktop resolution defaults to 1600x900, and moving windows around and doing any menial tasks is a lesson in frustration, as Apple disables many GPU abilities when there's no screen connected.

Enter the CompuLab Display Emulator. What this does is simply plug into the HDMI port on your Mac mini (or other other device that suffers the same issue, - like Intel's Haswell NUC). The Mac mini then thinks it's actually connected to a display. I'm able to set the resolution to 1920x1080, and it remembers this setting! All the GPU power is available for use, so remote desktop works at full speed! Yay, simple!

Overall, there's nothing to dislike here. It plugs in easily, and just works.

5 stars out of 5.


MIRA Digital Luggage Scale - Black
MIRA Digital Luggage Scale - Black
Offered by Coheso, Inc.
Price: $13.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Simply brilliant, and brilliantly simple., June 19, 2014
This review is from: MIRA Digital Luggage Scale - Black
Every now and then a product is released that does exactly what it says it should do. The MIRA Digital Luggage Scale is one such product.

Every time I go away on a trip, I do what so many travelers have done before: stand on a weighing scale with the luggage (depressing in of itself), and then stand on the scale without the luggage. One simple math problem later and voila - the weight of your luggage is determined.

I don't know about you, but I've always found this annoying. It makes me feel really fat, for one thing.

Anyway, enter the MIRA scale. Take luggage, wrap MIRA Scale loop around handle, and lift luggage via the device itself (which is now the handle). It will give you the weight of the luggage. Even better, there's an LED that lights up GREEN if it's under 50lbs, and RED if it's over 50lbs, so you don't even have to look at the small screen to figure out if you're good to go.

The luggage scale ships in a cardboard box, and, - rather thoughtfully - comes with a little case to store the device in.

Complaints? I don't think I have any. I guess it might have been easier to read the numbers if that screen lit up, but that's a minor gripe when the red/green LEDs tell you all you really need to know most of the time.

5 stars out of 5.

*sample provided for review*


Belkin Travel Power Pack 9000 with 1 Amp and 2.5 Amp Dual USB Ports - Frustration-Free Packaging - Black
Belkin Travel Power Pack 9000 with 1 Amp and 2.5 Amp Dual USB Ports - Frustration-Free Packaging - Black
Price: $46.24
22 used & new from $46.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid, if unremarkable battery pack, with a ridiculous charge time., June 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Belkin joins a large number of rechargeable battery packs on the market, but unfortunately it does little to set itself apart.

Pros:

1.) Simple to charge the 9900mAh battery pack with the included micro USB cable.
2.) One port for your phone, and one for your tablet (though these could be labeled better for those who don't understand what 1A vs 2.5A even means...).

Cons:

1.) Not enough power to fully charge an iPad Air.
2.) Can't turn off the battery pack manually after turning it on. After some minutes, it will turn itself off if it detects no power draw, but it would be nice to be able to manually turn it off the same way you turn it on (via the small power button on the device).
3.) Glossy plastic scratches easily, and it doesn't come with a case.
4.) Takes a little over 24 hours (!) to recharge (at least, mine does..). For example, I left mine charging from dead this morning, and it's not even half charged at midnight as I type this. I have a feeling mine may be defective, but it's what I have, so...

Overall, it does the job. It's neither the cheapest or greatest capacity pack out there, but it works well enough. Be sure 9900mAh is enough for your uses. If not, there are larger capacity packs out there that may suit you better, and certainly charge a lot faster.

3 stars out of 5.


Coast HP1 Focusing LED Flashlight
Coast HP1 Focusing LED Flashlight
Price: Click here to see our price

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inexpensive and excellent., June 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It's rare you come across anything these days that's cheap AND works really well. Usually it's cheap and... not very good. I have to admit, - I wasn't expecting anything special from this Coast HP1 Focusing LED Flashlight. Surprisingly, I came away impressed. It's a no-frills LED flashlight, but it's solid and thus far reliable.

Pros:

1.) Light output is extremely bright.
2.) Can change spread/focus of beam by pushing/pulling on the LED-enclosure part of the flashlight.
3.) Solid, metal belt clip.
4.) Only requires one AA battery.
5.) Water resistant (though I probably wouldn't drop it in a swimming pool!)
6.) Lifetime warranty.

Cons:

None, so far. It's rare that I have nothing negative to say about a product, but there really isn't anything negative that for this amount of money could ever be leveled against this flashlight.

5 out of 5. Excellent stuff.


Samsung BD-H5900 3D Blu-Ray Disc Player
Samsung BD-H5900 3D Blu-Ray Disc Player
Price: Click here to see our price
33 used & new from $49.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quiet, smart player, but lacking some obvious functionality., June 9, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
With so much competition out there, one would hope Samsung would rise to the challenge and offer something - anything - to set its BD-H5900 apart.

Unfortunately, they haven't. What we're left with is a reasonably generic offering, lacking some needed options.

For comparison purposes, I'm putting this up against my own Sony BDP-S5100 3D Blu-ray Disc Player with Wi-Fi (2013 Model), and it doesn't look entirely great for the Samsung...

Pros:

1.) Clean, smart-looking device.
2.) Excellent set-up process. Took me less than 30 seconds to pick my TV aspect ratio, connect to my router (2013, Apple Time Capsule).
3.) Extremely fast boot times. There's an option for fast-boot, which leaves the Blu-ray player running in an instant-on standby mode, but quite honestly it's not worth it. The "regular" boot-up mode takes just a couple of seconds anyway, and consumes less power, so stick with that.
4.) Very quiet playback of Blu-ray discs. While this will vary depending on the disc, I'm quite impressed with how quiet the unit is.
5.) Very speedy loading of Blu-ray discs, and skipping of chapters.

Cons:

1.) No Amazon Prime Instant video. This is something that's pretty important to me/wifey, so its omission is peculiar.
2.) Power cord is permanently attached to the player. It makes wiring things in movie rooms just that bit more difficult, and is certainly a con of the Sony BDP-S5100, too.
3.) The unit's built-in display is VERY bright, and - unbelievably -, there's no way to dim it. For some, this will be an absolute deal-breaker. The Sony will let you dim the screen to various levels.
4.) The unit's physical buttons are all touch-sensitive, and impossible to see in a dim room.
5.) No way to view an on-screen display of bit-rates etc, during a movie (for the nerds among us). The Sony has this capability.

Overall, there's nothing abhorrent about the Samsung BD-HS5900 Blu-ray player, but it does absolutely nothing to warrant its purchase over the Sony S5100/S5200, and the S5100/S5200 does those few things more that make it far more worthy of a purchase.

3 stars out of 5.


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