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Customer Reviews: 258
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Helpful Votes: 2255


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Reviews Written by
J. Ott "John Ott" RSS Feed (Los Angeles, CA USA)
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Vermont Smoke & Cure Mini Turkey Sticks Go Pack, Antibiotic Free, Gluten Free, Uncured Pepperoni, .5oz Stick, 6 Count
Vermont Smoke & Cure Mini Turkey Sticks Go Pack, Antibiotic Free, Gluten Free, Uncured Pepperoni, .5oz Stick, 6 Count
Offered by Vermont Smoke & Cure
Price: $4.99
2 used & new from $4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thumbs up for Spicy Italian, Cracked Pepper and Chipotle - thumbs down for Turkey Pepperoni, July 22, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
CRACKED PEPPER
It's a close one, but this is probably my favorite flavor of the Vermont Smoke & Cure sticks I've tried. It's juicy and has a good blend of spices. It reminds me of a good salami. I know it sounds basic and unexciting, but it really won me over.

CHIPOTLE
This is my wife's fave, and I also like it a lot. It has some heat, but not too much and is very flavorful, kinda like a juicy hot dog.

SPICY ITALIAN
I wish this one was well, a bit more spicy. It has only the barest of heat. Still, I like the flavor a lot.

TURKEY PEPPERONI
I love the Vermont Smoke & Cure brand but this is my least favorite flavor I've tried so far. The texture is pastey rather than meaty, and there is absolutely no zing to the spices. If you like your snack sticks spicy, get the Chipotle flavor instead. It is far milder than other turkey pepperonis I've had. I just can't recommend it personally.

SIZE
I have the larger 1 oz. sticks of the Pepperoni in addition to these smaller ones. The smaller ones had more 'snap' to them, although that may just be a matter of differences in batches. Overall, I find the small size to be too little for a snack and the large size to be about perfect. I'm a grown man with a healthy appetite, so take that data point how you will.

OVERALL
Tastes vary, of course, so I think it's worth trying a bunch of these flavors. What can be stated objectively is that this snack is pretty solid, nutrition-wise. Of the ingredients, the only one I'd object to is the evaporated cane juice, which is just another name for sugar. However, most snack meats and jerkies have some amount of sweetener. These are all low carb / high protein. It's a good way to fill up with things that make you feel full rather than empty calories like many high carb / low protein options.

Happy snacking!


SOS Rehydrate Hydration Drink, Coconut, 3.2 Ounce
SOS Rehydrate Hydration Drink, Coconut, 3.2 Ounce
Price: $17.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but is it better than actual coconut water?, July 14, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This stuff tastes pretty good. Almost like real coconut water, if maybe a bit saltier. (Must be those electrolytes -- aka salt, because electrolytes are salt.)

Of course, pure coconut water tastes better. But I guess I can recommend this product in marginal cases where you need a powdered coconut flavoring (smoothies?), or need to save space but will have ready access to water (camping?).

I must also note that my wife sampled this hydration drink (measuring exactly 8 oz. to mix it with) and pronounced the flavor "icky". She didn't like it watered down either. She likes real coconut water and she loves salty things, so go figure.


BYO by BUILT NY 2-Piece Neoprene Reusable Sandwich / Snack Bag, Diamond Ikat Pink, Houndstooth Pink
BYO by BUILT NY 2-Piece Neoprene Reusable Sandwich / Snack Bag, Diamond Ikat Pink, Houndstooth Pink
Offered by GaneshGoods
Price: $8.99
9 used & new from $8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent snack bags, July 13, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have several different eco snack bags and these rank up there with the best of them. The water-proofing makes them easier to clean than any others I've owned.

I'm not particularly enamored with the colors and houndstooth pattern, although it is unisex in its eye-offending. My wife also complains that the velcro is loud. (She likes to snack in her university classes, but not to draw everyone's attention to it.)

I've been using mine for about a month and the quality seems pretty good. I expect they will hold up under regular use for years. I'll come back and comment here if they disappoint in that regard.

While I'm holding back a star -- mostly for the aesthetics, which is subjective -- I have to admit that there are no other eco-friendly reusable pouches I would recommend above these. Happy snacking!


Hanes Sport Men's Hybrid Pocket Short
Hanes Sport Men's Hybrid Pocket Short
Price: $23.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, basic, good, July 7, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I had a need for a pair of basic athletic shorts and these fit the bill to a T. The length is as pictured, down to the knees, more basketball-shorts-style than running-shorts-style. The best feature is the pocket with the zip on one side. It does hang a little low, but I was able to put keys and wallet in it and run just fine. If I was running for a competition, I would probably invest in a more professional design.

The fabric is super-lightweight and breathable. I've only had the shorts for a few weeks, but the construction seems fine. I anticipate they'll last for years, and I'll come back and update this review if they don't.


Savory Harvest Unsweet Snack Bar, BBQ & Cheddar
Savory Harvest Unsweet Snack Bar, BBQ & Cheddar
Price: $29.14
2 used & new from $29.14

4.0 out of 5 stars Healthier and tastier, June 28, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The barbecue flavor in this snack is a bit more smokey than my personal preference, but tastes will vary. What puts this snack bar ahead of 99% of others I've tried is that it contains a lot of wholesome ingredients: sun dried tomato, kale, spinach, almonds, flax, chia & pumpkin seeds. I would prefer that it contained no high-carb fillers at all (organic brown rice crisps) but I understand that would mean Savory Harvest is making a very different kind of bar. As it is, it's just on the edge of paleo.

The flavor is intense and the textures in the bar are a nice mix of crunchy and chewy (sun dried tomato for the win). There is some sweetness, but the saltiness is dominant. The portion feels generous, especially when you factor in how much of it is made of nuts, which are very filling. If you aren't immediately turned off by the idea of a BBQ-flavored nut bar, then this bar is well-worth trying. Happy snacking!


Mohu Basic 25 Indoor TV Antenna MH-110757
Mohu Basic 25 Indoor TV Antenna MH-110757
Price: $12.99
2 used & new from $12.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Works fine but not quite as well as my other HD antenna, June 4, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm comparing this to the 1byone Super Thin Digital Indoor HDTV Antenna I already have. They are mounted right next to each other, but the Mohu has about 1/5 the footprint.

Both antennas have reception issues with certain channels -- major LA stations like KABC and KCET. With some finessing, I can get the channels on the 1byone. For those stations, the Mohu is between scrambled and no signal.

For other channels the Mohu works just as well as the 1byone. (That's part of the problem with these digital signals. Either you get them or you don't.) The Mohu also has a slightly longer cable, which I like, and just a better-looking, less distracting design.

As with the 1byone, make sure you like the position you mount it in, because the sticky bit isn't going to work twice. And it stays good and stuck!

Overall, I can't recommend this over the 1byone just because it doesn't pick up signals quite as well. However, my test is just one data point and therefore far from scientific. It may be that in some configurations, the Mohu would out-perform the competition. It just didn't for me.

Happy TV viewing!


Misfit Ray -Fitness + Sleep Tracker with Sport Band (Rose Gold)
Misfit Ray -Fitness + Sleep Tracker with Sport Band (Rose Gold)
Price: $99.99
2 used & new from $94.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent entry-level fitness tracker, May 14, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
THE DESIGN

This looks like a stylish bracelet. I originally got this color thinking my wife would use it, but she balked at the design herself, so I decided to wear it and test it personally. The color is more of a shiny copper than a pink, so it works fine for unisex. I've gotten complements from both women and men on the style of it, including from a Fitbit wearer, who preferred the bracelet look to the watch shape. Obviously the design feels very Apple-ish, although the Ray will work with Android and iOS.

SETUP

This is where Misfit Ray has the largest possibility for improvement. The booklet that comes with it is harder to follow than IKEA instructions, and the batteries got jammed when I tried to slide them in. I had to force them down with a pen, in a way that worried me I might break some sensitive components. (I didn't.)

The app is better, but it still had a hiccup with initial setup. It prevented me from setting sleeping hours beyond midnight. So I had to set up two sleep units - 11pm-Midnight. 12:01am-7am.

THE APP(S)

Beyond the wonky setup, the app is actually impressively designed. It's very clean and seems to track accurately. There is a second app - Misfit Link - you can download which allows you to program a behavior when you triple-tap your Ray. (There are other Misfit products that allow this app to do more, but as far as I can tell, it only understands double-tap and triple-tap from the Ray, and double-tap is locked into a 'status update' command.) I set up my Ray in conjunction with IF (formerly IFTTT) and a Phillips Hue bridge so that I can toggle all my Hue wi-fi enabled lights on and off when I triple tap. It's geeky but I love it. For some people, this ability might be equal to the fitness tracking.

Back to the main Misfit app... After you dial in your height and weight it will give you daily activity goals broken down as running, walking or swimming -- adding up to 1000 "points". I don't have access to swimming at the moment, but I will say that it doesn't seem to count walking on a treadmill or less-than-vigorous walking as points. It still counts the steps, mind you, but it was a little annoying when I tried to do my 1.5 hours of walking on a treadmill one day and the app barely gave me any points for it. You can do manual entry very easily and it's simple to see if Ray logged your wokout.

The Misfit app hooks into Apple's HealthKit yet it doesn't seem to count the aerobic workouts I do in other apps that are saved in Apple's HealthKit. That's something I expect will improve with software updates.

The sleep tracking seems good. I've been comparing it to the Sleep Better app, which tracks by resting in bed next to me. They both seem to pick up on the same periods of deep and light sleep. I do wish Misfit had ways to track things Sleep Better has, like "Worked Out" "Drank Alcohol" "Drank Caffeine" etc, so that this data could be correlated with behaviors. One thing you can do in the app is show a graph which overlays the 'activity points' for each day with sleep and weight. So that is of some use in Quantified Self-style self-improvement.

OTHER FEATURES

You can also tell the watch to buzz when you've been inactive for longer than an hour. I found this feature annoying and it often seemed to engage right as I was already standing up to move around.

The Ray doesn't have a display but it does have an LED light that will blink in various colors and it can vibrate. Blue flashes mean you've gotten a text. Green indicates an incoming call. This is useful enough, so I can see why some people find an Apple Watch to be overkill.

DURABILITY / BATTERY LIFE

I have only had it for a week, but I haven't taken it off, including wearing it in the shower. It's gotten some good bumps and doesn't show a scratch. The batteries are supposed to last for six months. I'll check back in here and update if they don't.

UPDATE: The batteries appear to have lasted two months of constant use.

OVERALL

This is an excellent fitness tracker for the price point. It is competitive with the Fitbit and other top brands at this price, lacking the display but having the programmability and a nice app. Some people might want a heart-rate monitor or some other health sensor, but if so you'll end up paying more and/or sacrificing battery life. For me personally, I found the Ray strikes the right balance. As an entry-level fitness tracker, the Ray is outstanding.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 7, 2016 9:23 AM PDT


Vermont Smoke & Cure Chicken Sticks, Antibiotic Free, Gluten Free, Rosemary Thyme, 1oz Stick, 24 Count
Vermont Smoke & Cure Chicken Sticks, Antibiotic Free, Gluten Free, Rosemary Thyme, 1oz Stick, 24 Count

5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Not joking about the flavor!, March 23, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When the packaging says these snack sticks are flavorful, it is not joking! My hair nearly flew off my head when I bit into one of these juicy, herb-spiced wieners. Honestly, I might've liked more balance in the taste: a little more chicken flavor and a little less rosemary & thyme. It didn't stop me from wolfing it down. Tastes vary and, especially if you find most jerky-type snacks dry and bland, you certainly owe it to yourself to give these a try.

As snackable meats come, these are very high-quality. The chickens are raised without antibiotics and there are no weird chemical ingredients. The casing is collagen, which is great for your hair, skin and fingernails. These are also really juicy, which I think helps make them taste so potent. I will definitely be looking to try more from this brand.


Belkin MIXIT Lightning to USB Keychain with 2.4 Amp Lightning ChargeSync Cable for iPhone, iPad and iPod (Blue)
Belkin MIXIT Lightning to USB Keychain with 2.4 Amp Lightning ChargeSync Cable for iPhone, iPad and iPod (Blue)
Price: $19.95
8 used & new from $14.56

5.0 out of 5 stars You know if you need this, February 3, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Keychains are a great spot for useful stuff: Flashlights... Multitools... Tamagotchi.

This Belkin MIXIT is a great new twist - a USB-to-Lightning connector great for charging your iDevice from the nearest USB port. I already pretty much carry a charger cable and wall wart around, but this is a more compact if less flexible option.

THE LOOK

It's solid - I assume anodized aluminum - and the shade of blue is a bit brash, but good for spotting visually when left on the table by the door.

THE DESIGN

This thing is pretty long as keychains go. It's a bit clumsy even in my giant man-pocket. It will work far better for those who wear their keys on their hips like a giant fashion accessory. There's a fair amount of gap in the ring that holds the dongle - easy to push out with a fat finger, but also easy for pocket garbage to get jammed into.

OVERALL

You know how often you get stuck in situations where you wish you had this handy. If you're like me, its a fair amount more often than situations that would be improved by flashlights or Tamagotchi.


Cloop Magnetic Cable Keeper, 6 Large
Cloop Magnetic Cable Keeper, 6 Large
Price: $23.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful and even... fun!, January 18, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What clever little clips these are. If you're like me, with veritable boxes of cables of all shapes and sizes, you'll have no trouble putting these to use. I've also found these clips useful in holding together the doors of a cabinet that are magnetized (but have stopped holding themselves closed).

Drawbacks are the limitations in color -- I love to color-code things, but I would want more colors available! -- and the obvious caveats about using powerful magnets near sensitive electronics.

Happy cable-braiding!


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