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Customer Reviews: 203
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MWebb RSS Feed (Berkeley, CA)
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Diztronic Matte Back Black Flexible TPU Case for Apple iPhone 5C - Retail Packaging
Diztronic Matte Back Black Flexible TPU Case for Apple iPhone 5C - Retail Packaging
Offered by Diztronic
Price: $8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Apple's own case, December 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Better than the stock Apple 5c case. No, it's not as expensive, and it's not as detailed in construction, but it works better. Let me explain.

First, the case made by Apple has a series of holes on the back, to give it a playful design. That's ok, but there should be a large central hole for the large central Apple logo on the 5c case. The smaller holes on the stock case obscure, instead of highlight, the Apple logo.

Second, the stock Apple case is dual-materials - expensive - a firm exterior plastic lined with a dense felt-like material. Unfortunately, in some samples this makes the push-buttons too stiff to operate without a deliberate and focused effort.

Other than than, you can't fault the stock Apple case - the detail spent on the bottom of the case, with three separate cutouts of speakers, microphones, charger, are well made, and, in particular, there is no excessive flex in the "ridge line" that protects the front screen on the speaker end of the phone.

So how does the Diztronic compare? It's much simpler in construction, made of simple TPU semi-rigid plastic. If the stock Apple case is a pair of exquisitely crafted, but overbuilt, Church's wingtips, the Diztronic falls in between LLBean deck shoes and Crocs.

But I don't want to give you the impression the Diztronic is fat and gummy. It's not - it's thin, fits tight, all the openings line up and the buttons push just fine, unlike on the Apple. It's just if you saw the Diztronic and the Apple case side by side, in terms of surface appearances (details of construction), you'd probably go for the Apple every time (setting aside the $30 price difference), and that would be a mistake.

Because at "friend distance" - a friend seeing the 5c in the black Diztronic case - the Diztronic looks MUCH better. At "you distance," the Diztronic feels good in the hand, operates well, keeps the screen surface off a desk, buttons push well, AND THIS IS THE CLOSEST YOU WILL EVER GET TO A "BLACK" 5c since Apple declined to sell a black edition body.

IT LOOKS GREAT AND WORKS GREAT. So the moral is, don't get fooled by the better made and more expensive case (Apple) that doesn't actually work as well.

Travelpro Luggage Maxlite3 21 Inch Expandable Spinner, Black, One Size
Travelpro Luggage Maxlite3 21 Inch Expandable Spinner, Black, One Size
Price: Click here to see our price
23 used & new from $85.53

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not an "efficient rectangle;" attractive and "mid-scale", December 8, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Not an efficient rectangle, like the classic Costco roll aboard (now spinner) or like the Rick Steves branded wheelie. It has that front panel "bulge". That is the sole reason I deducted a single star from my rating. In terms of appearance (premium like Briggs & Riley? yes) and construction details, it is 5-star, first class. I will add a paragraph at the end of this review explaining the "perfect rectangle" idea.

Pros of this bag:

+ It passes the "wheel-it" test - you can drag it behind you like a two-wheeled roll-aboard, and the wheels won't start oscillating which happens on some lesser spinners.

+ It passes the "reverse wheel it" test - if you are dragging it behind you like a two-wheeled roll-aboard, you can push it in reverse, and the wheels won't lock or grab or oscillate when you switch from pulling to pushing. (Surprisingly enough, some spinners are very "pull-able" but fail miserably when you "push" them instead.) Mind you, I'm talking about the situation where you have the bag leaned onto two wheels, which comes up more often than you might think, even with a spinner.

+It is like ball-bearings on ice in spinner mode - but almost all spinners pass this test. Easily push it through an airport while it rests on all four of its wheels - if you haven't tried this, it is much easier than using a two-wheeled roll-aboard. The luggage simply won't fight you back and never gets in another traveler's way.

+ Maximum size in terms of height, width, depth. Not recommended for regional jets with tiny overhead bins. Fits nose or wheels-end first into a 747 bin and the bin will close just fine. On an Airbus 300, you need to fit it in sideways.

+ Handles on top AND bottom, so you don't have to worry about which way you shove it in the overhead. Also a side handle, which is helpful if you are a shorter traveler and it drags on the ground in portrait mode.

+ One exterior almost full height drop slot, pretty sizeable; this slot has a zipper pouch at the top. One lid zipper mesh slot, about puff jacket size. A single side mesh zipper slot on the side of the main compartment.

+ Zipper expansion.

+ For a spinner, the wheels are lower profile, more compact, than many.


- It's a spinner - it's inherently less space-efficient than a traditional lean-it-over wheelie. Of course a traditional lean-it-over wheelie is less space efficient than a simple rectangular cardboard box.

(Look at the original shipping carton this spinner ships in. It is optimally efficient - no wheels subtracting available interior space, no thick panels subtracting interior space, no handle in tubes subtracting interior space. A traditional wheelie and a spinner both give up space to a. the handle and b. thicker, more rugged panels, but a traditional wheelie's wheels are more compact and more recessed into the ideal shipping-carton envelope of available space.)

- It's technically oversize. Many airline testing boxes are a scosh oversize too, so you should be ok even if requested to sample box it. You WON'T be ok is you overstuff the front drop-in panel.

Overall, I like this bag compared to my current favorites - the indestructible last-generation Costco/Kirkland branded wheelie, and the much lighter Rick Steves branded wheelie (available only from his website). I like this compared to my slightly less tall Briggs. It doesn't scream "cheap" and yet it isn't a premium brand "theft & pilfer" magnet. Hey, it's what a lot of flight crew use - sturdy, utilitarian, well-made, low-keyed.

Now for that "efficient rectangle" paragraph. If you are going to put a front panel compartment on a MLC (maximum legal carryon) bag, stick as close as possible to the shape of its shipping compartment. Don't have bulges! If a front panel slot is going to add to the depth of the bag's measurements, you might as well have it just uniformly raise the front panel by an inch. What you DON'T want is a "baby bump" in the center of the front panel, like this bag. All that will do, is keep the bag from fitting into a luggage tester, while not really adding as much space as you want. AND make sure the front panel has the same width and height as the rest of the front panel - really, a centralized, non-full area "baby bump" is horribly inefficient. On my Costco and Rick Steves bags, the exterior front panel compartments are full sized, and add the same thickness at the corners as at the middle. In short, they keep their bags rectangular, not pregnant like the Travelpro.

That having been said, this is a fine mid-scale, but quality made, value priced spinner. Travelpro has been one of the most reliable makers out there.

A NOTE ON THE LIFETIME WARRANTY: It doesn't cover shipping, at least to the repair shop. You need to find a carton. It excludes ANY airline caused damage seven ways from Sunday - you have to promptly file an airline claim, and if denied have to appeal it to a consumer protection board. If you are denied and the damage is determined by Travelpro to be damage and not ordinary wear and tear, Travelpro promises to repair it at no cost to you. You need your receipt to make a claim. By the time you even contemplate those hassles, you are better off buying a replacement bag, given the $100 approximate cost.

Fire HD 6, 6" HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB - Includes Special Offers, Black
Fire HD 6, 6" HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB - Includes Special Offers, Black
Price: $99.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VERY Heavy But Superb Quality and Value, November 25, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The quick negatives:
- Thicker than most tablets;
- Heavier than larger tablets;
- Wider bezels (dead space between screen and housing) than other tablet;
- NO Google services (no official Google apps), something we expect on all other tablets, whether Android or iPads.
- No iTunes - but this isn't surprising, Apple only makes it for their own tablets. Not for Android, not for Fire.

The quick positives:
+ MUCH faster processor than other mid-grade tablets, with intelligent power saving design. Instead of four pokey ARM A7 cores as found in competing tablets, this combines two VERY fast, state of the art Cortex A15 cores with ... two pokey ARM A7 cores. The pokey cores sip power, the A15 cores are like a turbo charger.
+ SUPERB screen quality. 1280*720p is basic HD quality, but it seems higher because it isn't spread over 7" or 10" of screen real estate, it is condensed down to 6", so your eyes will only perceive sharpness. More importantly, colors are BRIGHT and SNAPPY, in true Kindle Fire tradition.
+ Wider bezels (also a negative!) make it easier to hold without touching the screen.
+ SHARP enough for extended reading.
+ Battery life is equal to, or exceeds, the e-Ink, black and white Kindles. Remember, Amazon specifies "weeks" of e-Ink use by assuming modest 15 minute reading periods per day. This tablet goes out 8-10 hours in reading mode, which is equivalent or better, when divided into a similar "15 minutes a day." The difference is you don't have to turn off the e-Ink reader to get weeks of use, but if you want weeks of use you need to shut this down after each reading session, because traditional tablets DO consume MUCH more "standby" power, whether in Airplane mode or with WiFi active.
+ Streams Netflix AND Amazon (no Apple or Google Play). DOWNLOADS select Amazon Prime free streaming content TO THE DEVICE to view later without WiFi (get the 16gb model for this purpose, since there is no memory expansion slot).

I RECOMMEND THIS IF YOU READ A LOT OF KINDLE BOOKS, WATCH A LOT OF NETFLIX OR AMAZON PRIME. I do NOT recommend it if you are used to Google apps on an iPhone, iPad, Android (Samsung etc.) phone or tablet. Remember, no Google Apps on Fire tablets (but you can access many Google services in the included Silk web browser).

I will post a link to a good third party technical review in the first comment to this post.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 25, 2014 8:12 PM PST

TUDIA Ultra Slim Melody TPU Bumper Protective Case for Motorola Moto G SmartPhone (2013 1st Gen Only) (Black)
TUDIA Ultra Slim Melody TPU Bumper Protective Case for Motorola Moto G SmartPhone (2013 1st Gen Only) (Black)
Offered by W2 Corporation
Price: $14.98
3 used & new from $6.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Snug, excellent screen protection, not bulky, easy to hold and operate controls, November 19, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a non-rigid, dense but malleable and flexible plastic case (TPU - thermoplastic urethane). You can't depress it with a thumb, but can bend it around, and feel it give way a little under your thumbnail. These qualities makes it better for drop protection, than the admittedly thinner and lighter hard polycarbonate-style cases like the Ringke from Rearth (I have both, and both serve their purpose).

Sometimes you will also find thicker cases, either TPU like this Tudia, or silicone or natural rubber. The silicone or natural rubber cases WILL depress under your thumb, they are that soft, but to give them structure with that degree of softness, they have to be thicker. Generally i don't like the silicone or natural rubber "gummy" style cases since most of them are pretty thick and I don't think I need that much protection, but the right ones, like Amzer, are perfect for a kid's iPad.

So basically the first case decision you need to make, is to choose your case from the spectrum of thickness and hardness, moving from ultrathin and light, to heavy and slightly squishy: polycarb which is rigid, for the ultimately thin and light protection (Ringke); TPU dense but flexible (this Tudia); and gummy (silicone or soft rubber) which has to be extra thick to stay on.

As you can probably guess, TPU cases hit the middle and have the best balance of thin and light vs. protection for me.

I used to buy "generic" cases for my iPod Touch's over the years - the kind that pretty much all look the same in the vendor ads here on Amazon, have amazing low prices (a buck or two), and vary slightly from vendor to vendor and even from the same vendor depending on their current generic inventory. Some were great and some were terrible, straight to the trash.

I don't recommend completely "generic" no-name cases anymore. I stick with well-known brands like Belkin and Griffin, or take a chance on an off-brand like this Tudia or the Ringke cases by Rearth. Both the Ringke and the Tudia have been excellent, and since they are branded and nicely packaged, I have a fair degree of certainty that what I review here will be what you actually get, unlike reviewing the completely generic, no-name cases.

So. I don't like the looks of this Tudia case. I will put up a picture and you will see why - those garish looking shiny dots on the back. The re-design for the Moto G second edition, 2014 5" phone looks much "cleaner" to my eye - you will see both old and new designs in my picture. Why did I buy this then?

Well, I didn't at first, when the 2013 Moto G was my daily phone, I used the polycarbonate thin shell Rearth, which looked great. When I got the 2014 Moto G, though, I wanted better protection because I was taking it on vacation, subject to jet lag and general stupidity and more likely to drop it. The Tudia for the 2014 edition worked so great, I decided to get one for my 2013 - this one - despite the garish shiny dots - which have zero effect on performance.

What do I like about the Tudia:

* Perfect fit, which means you wrestle a bit to fit it on.

* Perfectly aligned cut-outs for each microphone, the earphone jack, camera and flash, charging port.

* Good feel in the hand.

* Adds a reasonable amount of bulk and weight. Naked is still the ultimate compact 4.5" phone, but I'm using this for a Kindle reader and music player and web browser - everything but phone carrier - and want the extra protection.

* Nice wrap-over edge on the front protects the screen when you place it face down on a table, desk, or nightstand.

* The area surrounding the rear camera is cut in a little before the actual cut-out for the lens and flash, so you will have plenty of tactile warning that your thumb or fingers are about to brush over the lens - which helps me keep the lens clean for sharp pictures.

* Tactile indicators (subtle) for the on-off switch and volume rocker, and they work easily. These are pretty flat compared to the raised ridges on similar cases, but I can easily feel where they are and operate them. On the 2014 edition, they are conventional hard raised ridges.

At a dime under 10 bucks when I bought it, this is a real value. Built like a $30 case, and designed just as well, in some cases better.

Browne Foodservice 575349 Thermalloy Aluminum Perforated Pizza Pan, 9-Inch
Browne Foodservice 575349 Thermalloy Aluminum Perforated Pizza Pan, 9-Inch
Price: $10.16
3 used & new from $9.95

2.0 out of 5 stars 10 inches not 9 inches won't fit my toaster oven1, September 8, 2014
High quality, but this is 10 inches not 9 inches and won't fit my toaster oven that has a pizza "bump" in back and is supposed to bake a 9 inch pizza. See my picture! Posted separately.
Comment Comment | Permalink

Black and Decker TO1303SB 4-Slice Toaster Oven
Black and Decker TO1303SB 4-Slice Toaster Oven
Price: $29.92
29 used & new from $16.40

15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fits a 9" pizza - but not a 9" pizza pan, September 8, 2014
There is something ironic about a pizza oven that states that it fits a 9" pizza - but won't fit the pan for a 9" pizza!

This is the slickest use of "exact words" in marketing I have seen in a long time. Note that it says it "fits a 9" pizza". Not the pan to hold it!

This comes up because I ordered a 9" pizza pan at the same time - this one: Browne Foodservice 575349 Thermalloy Aluminum Perforated Pizza Pan, 9-Inch

Unfortunately, the pan itself is 10"! I will post pictures to show.

As for toasting, this is naturally not as good as a toaster in terms of evenness of toasting, BUT you can top-toast only (turn it to broil mode) which a toaster can't generally do.

It only has single quartz heating tubes on top and bottom, not doubles like the more expensive toaster ovens, but they work pretty well thanks to them going up extra bright compared to others I've had, and thereby radiating more heat more evenly, even though from a single tube.

This is too short, from top to bottom, to hold a loaf pan. Also, more likely to slightly brown the tops of cookies due to that ultra-bright heating tube. I recommend the Black and Decker with convection heating Black & Decker CTO4500S Perfect Broil Convection Toaster Oven for baking, which works with loaf pans and doesn't singe the top of our baked goods.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 18, 2014 11:14 AM PDT

Ultimate Survival Technologies Folding Scissors
Ultimate Survival Technologies Folding Scissors
Price: $3.97
6 used & new from $2.03

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wouldn't open., September 3, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Absolutely unusable, couldn't even get them to open - and I've purchased and used many others of same design here on Amazon. I just though $2.99 would get you something that actually works these days.

The Secret Service: Kingsman
The Secret Service: Kingsman
by Mark Millar
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.21
75 used & new from $4.16

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great start, but then...., September 3, 2014
GREAT start, but went down hill quickly. Good art work. Coming out as a movie, and might be good in that medium.

Safari Flea Comb with a Double Row of Teeth
Safari Flea Comb with a Double Row of Teeth
Price: $3.49
20 used & new from $1.57

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Probably great for fleas, but despite recommendations, not the first choice for head lice, September 3, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Probably superb for fleas - I would have killed for one the time I lived with a cat lady - but not so good for head lice. It WILL capture and trap any of the wily adults fleeing from this WMD (weapon of mass (louse) destruction) but is woefully inadequate for harvesting the eggs which, if left in place, will later harvest your kids. Again.

For eggs and nits (the Alien-like abandoned egg husks) you want the absolutely incredible "Nit Free Terminator Lice Comb," which is so good that patient daily use "terminated" the entire louse population without ever resorting to chemicals.

Smith's CCKS 2-Step Knife Sharpener
Smith's CCKS 2-Step Knife Sharpener
Price: $3.98
63 used & new from $2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The "coarse" side is surprisingly effective. Rapal is a better buy when it comes to the "fine," ceramic rods treatment., September 3, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
4.5 star. MUCH more expensive than the semi-disposable Rapala sharpener also sold by Amazon, BUT the "Coarse Carbide" side doesn't clog, unlike the ceramic rods (coarse or fine) in the Rapala and other competing similar shaped utility sharpeners. Also, the Coarse Carbide side cuts a new edge very quickly (note that I wouldn't use this side on a good pocket knife, it takes off too much metal, but it is superb for inexpensive kitchen knives that have way too much chromium in them).

I use the coarse side very carefully to set up the edge, then one swipe through the ceramic rod, "fine" side to smooth it out a little.

The coarse side is VERY aggressive and will burr your blade if you aren't careful - you will then need to carefully re-swipe once or twice or thrice.

If you like a good tomato cutter, skipping the "fine" side leaves the blade naturally rough enough (microscopically serrated as it were) to bite through the tomato skin.

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