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Customer Reviews: 293
Top Reviewer Ranking: 308
Helpful Votes: 11643

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Fotasy Arca-Swiss Type Quick Release Plate with Premier Cleaning Cloth (Black)
Fotasy Arca-Swiss Type Quick Release Plate with Premier Cleaning Cloth (Black)
Price: $7.52
4 used & new from $0.78

5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the original Dolica plate, June 6, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Perfect fit for the Dolica TX570. Neither of the two I bought needed modding. They're a little longer than the stock plate, and so much the better.

NETGEAR Smart WiFi Router AC1750 Dual Band Gigabit  (R6300v2)
NETGEAR Smart WiFi Router AC1750 Dual Band Gigabit (R6300v2)
Offered by TEKENVY
Price: $145.70
75 used & new from $100.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Very, very quick, though the wireless range won't match models with external antennas, June 6, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
For list price, this router is expensive. The internal dual-core hardware is nearly as powerful as that in the R7000, one of the best consumer routers available, but because the antennas are internal, wireless performance for a given range isn't quite as good. For the price of a used model in fine condition (less than half the retail price), though, if you need a quick processor, it's a steal.

But do you? Relative to the ancient Linksys WRT-54GL I replaced, there's almost no difference in performance for general use. Pages don't load any faster. Torrents are slightly quicker. My file servers, which used to connect via a cheap gigabit switch daisy-chained to the Linksys, still top out at the same ~100MB/s of throughput. On a family installation with a half-dozen moderate users, an identical decade-old router with the same firmware hasn't ever generated a complaint.

I'm pleased as punch with this Netgear, though, for one particular reason: 5 GHz 802.11ac performance at close distances is incredible. The 54GL with 802.11g topped out at about 25 Mbps. An Asus RT-N16 with 802.11n I replaced it with for a year before the N16's premature death was never better than 150 Mbps. This new router? 550 Mbps sustained from my file server to my late-2013 rMBP. It's so fast I initially thought it was a caching aberration. For point to point for a single client, that's nearly as good as it gets. Best case today, you might get 650 Mbps from a handful of 4x4 routers (see my review of the Tenda W1800R for more on what that means).

--- Geeky firmware aside ---

There is, however, a caveat to the value equation: there are two versions of this router and not all sellers discriminate between them. I don't mean the 6300v1; I'm talking about the Charter version of this 6300v2 with a blue stripe in place of the yellow. That one has an older firmware revision that won't update to the current one. You need to flash a very specific intermediary DD-WRT image (dd-wrt.K3_R6300V2CH.chk) before you can segue to the current firmware, which, given that this model has been around since 2013, has been improved quite a lot.

My original plan was to continue with Tomato, but the flashing process was unusually difficult and 5 GHz support was hit or miss and the current Netgear firmware is pretty decent. If you do decide to pursue Tomato, keep this in mind:

* If your model has Charter firmware, you can't flash directly to Tomato; you need to use that DD-WRT version named above.
* Once you're in DD-WRT, and after you've set a password but before you flash Tomato, telnet into the router and run "nvram get http_passwd"; you'll need to use this to log in to Tomato
* Flashing between versions of Tomato may brick the router. I had to buy a USB-Serial cable to recover mine, which was annoying.

While I adore the speed, stability, and elegance of Tomato, if I were doing this again, I would have flashed the stock firmware straight from DD-WRT and saved a lot of hassle.


I consider these AC1750 and AC1900 routers excellent values. 802.11ac is in a strange place. Many of the headline features for distributing bandwidth from a single radio among multiple clients still haven't been implemented properly in current hardware, router or client. A number of high-end AC2400 to AC3200 routers approach this problem by throwing more radios at it, but unless you're serving a coffee shop or in a household where multiple users are streaming HD video at the same time, you're just not going to see the difference.

The only thing this unit is really missing is external antennas. It's not likely to fill gaps you're getting in a 802.11g or 802.11n network. For a smaller dwelling though, and particularly for the bargain-basement $60ish price of nearly-new units, it's my top choice.

NPN Air Filter
NPN Air Filter
Price: $6.51

5.0 out of 5 stars Recommend for Nissan, May 18, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: NPN Air Filter (Automotive)
Slightly tight fit on my 2010 Maxima, but the quality is at least as good as the stock unit. Noticeable power gains through the midrange because I hadn't replaced the original for 50K miles.

Platypus Big Zip LP Reservoir
Platypus Big Zip LP Reservoir
Price: $28.95 - $81.67

5.0 out of 5 stars Trustworthy, but difficult to fill, May 18, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
In bullets:

+ No taste
+ Watertight
+ Rugged
+ Light
+ No trouble with 160F water

- Kind of a pain to fill. You're often streaming water over your fingers. Shallow sinks and water fountains are precarious to fill from.
- Bite valve takes excessive suction
- Bite valve cover is a $6 extra (and necessary unless you want to lick off dirt whenever you put your pack down)

I like it, I recommend it, but I think you could do nearly as well with various other products in this category.

Prana Men's Brion 32-Inch Inseam Pant
Prana Men's Brion 32-Inch Inseam Pant
Price: $41.05 - $70.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty solid, though not quite a slim fit, April 27, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I like these pants. They're priced about right (Columbia's Royce Peak was an awkward, uncomfortable, weighty fit by comparison) and it seems like a lot of thought went into the intended use. I bought two pairs each in 32x32 and 32x34 to try and compare with my Patagonia Quandary pants.

Let's talk about sizing. I'm 6'1', 170, with a 34.5" inseam and a top-weighted typical climber build. I wear 32x34 in Levis and just about everything else. The cuffs of these pants, in 32x32, almost touch the ground for me. The fit is ideal for a high-rise hiking boot. The vertical dimensions are almost identical to the Quandary in 32x34. Interestingly, the 32x34 in this pant also fits; there's only a 1.25" difference in the inseams, so if your plan is to wear low sneakers or the like, the larger size is preferable.

There's no intentional difference in waist size, rise, or width through the hips between 32x32 and 32x34. Sizing variance is present, but minimal. The waist on one pair of 32x34s was about 1/2" tighter than the other pairs. The rest were identical to the Quandary. Relative to that pant, though, there's a big difference in the legs. Starting mid-thigh, the Quandary tapers an inch narrower down to a 7 3/4" cuff. That extra inch in the Brion is the difference between a cuff that naturally covers a pair of hiking boots and one that has to be pulled down.

The material seems like it'd be durable, but I can't say without washing them. It's a bit rough and thicker than the Patagonia material (reflected in their weights: 10.5 oz for the latter, 13.5 oz for the Brion). Not uncomfortable, but you notice the texture as you walk. It stretches adequately to climb. The Quandary stretches more easily. I do like the 'brick' color of the Brion; it's not as bright as some pictures make it appear and would blend nicely on a trail.

Anyway, I'm torn. For general use with normal shoes, I'd favor the Quandary. I prefer slimmer fits in general and the Brion has enough width to feel a bit bulky and a bit bell bottom-ish by comparison. The Quandary is also more comfortable and somewhat slimmer through the hips. On a trail, though, I think you'd have to rely on long underwear in cooler weather more often with the Quandary, and the cuff doesn't fit cleanly over a boot.

Whichever you choose, easy washing will extend the life significantly. I do all my synthetics on a cold, gentle cycle and hang-dry. Some of them still pill terribly from abrasion despite that (Outdoor Research is a big offender here, Columbia the opposite), but c'est la vie.

Ergon GS2 Grips
Ergon GS2 Grips
Price: $29.99 - $71.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent grips, though not an improvement on the GP series, March 13, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Ergon GS2 Grips (Sports)
These are durable, comfortable grips best suited to road-biased cycling. They're somewhat less secure on rough terrain than standard round grips because your outside fingers don't encircle the bar. While I agree with another reviewer that the standard GS design is more ergonomic, this model is adequately comfortable such that I've never felt the need to use the bar ends on trips that have, so far, reached 50 miles. I'd opt for the model without them if I were buying again.

Shimano Sora 9-speed Road Bicycle Rear Derailleur - RD-3500
Shimano Sora 9-speed Road Bicycle Rear Derailleur - RD-3500
Price: $25.97 - $58.83

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reliable and secure, a bit awkward in the middle gearing, March 3, 2015
I've put about 500 miles on this derailleur and the front companion. It's solid kit. I wouldn't buy Sora as an upgrade, but it's nothing to sniff at if your bike came with it. It won't ever be the limiting factor in your riding.

Shimano's road line looks about like this:

Dura Ace Di2
Dura Ace
Ultegra Di2

And then a few more layers of part numbers they haven't bothered to name. Among the mechanical models (non-Di2), it's magazine wisdom that 105 is the reliable, utilitarian, minimum choice for 'serious' riders. Ultegra is Dura Ace with some extra weight. Dura Ace is for people with more than one AMEX. Tiagra and below rarely merit a mention.

If you're a club racer, that ranking is true enough. Spring for 105. Paying more yields less weight, an extra cog, slightly faster shifting, somewhat easier and more consistent shift actuation pressure, and somewhat better shifting under load. But all that stuff is nice to have in same way leather seats are nice to have. You won't go any faster.

Sora has solid mechanicals. It doesn't miss or delay shifts, regardless of the load. I've caused a few misses; I won't press the shifter quite hard enough to snap into the next gear, or I'll come to a stop in a high gear, so I have to creak my way up six gears in five feet. It doesn't make nice sounds when I do that, but that isn't Shimano's fault.

So why is this review four stars? Partly because the shifting experience is merely good instead of the buttery cream you'd get with the higher models, but also because I've found the gearing somewhat awkward. My road-biased hybrid has 50/34 in the front and 11/32 in the back. I'm constantly shifting between the front rings. There's chain rub with 34/11 and 34/13 (expected but annoying), which is right around my most comfortable cadence and speed. There's actually more noise lined up straight with the big front cog than cross-chained with the small one.

The middle trim settings in the shifter for the front derailleur are almost vestigial; they're only useful for three gears. Finding the optimal combination of levers is a bit distracting on uneven terrain. Not difficult or objectionable, just more to manage. There's a 50/39/30 Sora triple that'd solve this. Likewise a Tiagra 52/39. With a faster bike, I'd choose the latter.

USB 3.0 to to HDMI / DVI Display Adapter JUA350
USB 3.0 to to HDMI / DVI Display Adapter JUA350
Offered by Office Depot, Inc.
Price: $69.99
15 used & new from $33.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for Mac Yosemite, January 30, 2015
On rMBP 13 late-2013 with Yosemite 10.10:

Installs fine. Works in USB 2.0 only, so window dragging feels like it's at about 10hz. No color management. Periodically crashes Window Server whenever there are OpenGL animations on any screen (e.g., maximizing an application).

It's not stable. I'm losing work. There's no timeline from J5 on USB 3.0 support. The only reason to purchase this product is that the DisplayLink USB 3.0 adapters are even less stable (though do use USB 3.0) on Mavericks and Yosemite. They're otherwise a better choice for 10.8 and earlier and any version of Windows.

I ditched this adapter in favor of an entirely separate Windows system linked with Synergy. It's actually a better, smoother solution for the Windows applications I need to run anyway.

Monoprice Mini DisplayPort / Thunderbolt to HDMI®, DVI & DisplayPort Adapter
Monoprice Mini DisplayPort / Thunderbolt to HDMI®, DVI & DisplayPort Adapter
Price: $17.89
8 used & new from $15.21

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for this rMBP, January 29, 2015
Causes 'Window Server' to crash on a MacBook Pro Retina late-2013 with Yosemite 10.1. Often, but not always, this occurs when the screen is plugged in.

Finn® Universal Smartphone Bike Mount - Award Winning Mount that Fits Every Phone and Every Bike. Fits iPhone 6+, 6, 5, 4, iPod Touch, Galaxy S5, S4, S3, Active, HTC One M8, BlackBerry Z10, Moto X, Amazon Fire Phone, Nokia Lumia, Sony Experia, and more!
Finn® Universal Smartphone Bike Mount - Award Winning Mount that Fits Every Phone and Every Bike. Fits iPhone 6+, 6, 5, 4, iPod Touch, Galaxy S5, S4, S3, Active, HTC One M8, BlackBerry Z10, Moto X, Amazon Fire Phone, Nokia Lumia, Sony Experia, and more!
Offered by Bike2Power
Price: $19.00
3 used & new from $14.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple and effective, December 24, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This mount has many strong points:

* It weighs almost nothing and is easy to pack
* It's dead-simple to install
* It works on any bike
* It's durable silicon
* It doesn't require you to put a custom case on your phone
* It doesn't affect the touch functions of the phone
* The angle of the phone doesn't slip over time
* The phone absolutely will not fall off the bike

And a few weak points:

* It doesn't add any sort of weatherproofing
* The phone will swivel over significant bumps or if you touch it (though reverts quickly to the set angle)
* The corner straps can cover usable parts of the screen for phones with thin bezels
* While the silicone holds the phone tenaciously, I suspect very rough use might cause the phone to pull away from the bar and knock back into it repeatedly (albeit on a section covered by silicone)
* It feels like it should cost about $5 (though I don't begrudge the extra $10 for the cleverness)

For fair-weather road use, this is an excellent mount. I use it with a Galaxy S4. I probably would try it mountain-biking if the rig had decent suspension; I've seen some impressive YouTube videos that suggest it acquits itself well there too. A little bit of flopping may well be preferable to rigid mounts that put greater shock-loads on the phone.

A few months after writing this review, I upgraded to a Quadlock mount. That one is best-of-breed: stiff enough, light, secure, and easily allows the phone to be mounted and unmounted. The Finn mounting process is considerably more involved, and I found I was taking the phone off frequently enough to find it onerous. The Quadlock has a considerable discount for my phone model; at standard retail for more recent phones, you're paying a substantial premium for the design.

For sheer simplicity, I still recommend the Finn. Give it a go; you may be surprised. I was.

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