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Customer Reviews: 819
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3.5mm PChero Wired Flexible Monaural Noise Cancelling Headset Over-the-Head Headphone with Mic Volume Control for iPhone Samsung Huawei ZTE, Most Smartphones with 3.5mm Headphone Jack
3.5mm PChero Wired Flexible Monaural Noise Cancelling Headset Over-the-Head Headphone with Mic Volume Control for iPhone Samsung Huawei ZTE, Most Smartphones with 3.5mm Headphone Jack
Offered by PNCShop
Price: $19.99
2 used & new from $19.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Nice long cord, but sound quality lacking, May 25, 2016
The first thing to understand about the PChero headset is that it has a single 3.5mm plug that combines speaker and microphone connections. This is compatible with most smartphones and tablets and also many newer laptops, but typically not desktop computers with separate jacks for speakers and microphone. It also isn't compatible with cordless phones that use a 2.5mm plug. However, adapters are available for each of these should you want them.

The PChero headaet has a nice long cord with a coiled section, allowing you to move away from your device and still be connected. There is a rotary volume control inline. The fit is comfortable and adjustable. However, I found the sound quality lacking compared to other inexpensive headsets - there was significant distortion and uneven frequency response. The micrphone part was ok. I do like how the whole headset folds reasonably flat for storage.

The manufacturer sent me a free set for review.


Headphones,AILIHEN C8 Lightweight Foldable Headphone with Microphone Volume Control for iPhone,iPad,iPod,Android Smartphones,PC,Laptop,Mac,Tablet,Headset (Black/Orange)
Headphones,AILIHEN C8 Lightweight Foldable Headphone with Microphone Volume Control for iPhone,iPad,iPod,Android Smartphones,PC,Laptop,Mac,Tablet,Headset (Black/Orange)
Offered by INTONE
Price: $45.98
2 used & new from $19.98

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could be a lot better, May 25, 2016
These are HEADPHONES. The manufacturer wanted you to be sure you knew, as the word is printed in large letters on the top of the headband as well as on each earpiece. Just in case you were confused... The padding on the headband and earpieces suggested a comfortable fit but they were very tight on me (I do have a large head, this is an issue I've had with some other headphones.) The cushions provide reasonable sound isolation.

The sound quality I found rather poor. Distortion was evident at even modest volumes and there was no bass to speak of. There is an inline microphone, but your voice will sound hollow and distant if you use it. Interestingly, the module with the microphone has a slide control for volume rather than up and down buttons. There is a single button that has multiple functions depending on how many times you press it - I don't like this as much as two-button models.

The manufacturer provided a free set for review.


Chance Developments: Stories
Chance Developments: Stories
by Alexander McCall Smith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.43

5.0 out of 5 stars Picture Perfect!, May 21, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I am relatively new to Alexander McCall Smith, which was my loss as he is such a fantastic writer. Not everything of his is my cup of tea, but I always marvel at his knack for creating fascinating, complex characters and making you care about them. So it is here, with the added twist of how the book came to be. Smith was given old photographs, of unknown provenance, and imagined stories about the people in them.

The stories vary a bit in length, typically about "novelette" size. The first one, about a nun who leaves her order and rejoins society, was fun. When I started reading the second I wasn't as taken with it, but as I got into it I realized what he was doing and the end had me just staring at the page with tears in my eye. As I read the third and fourth, I discovered an underlying theme to all of them - love. Different kinds and manifestations of love, but the thread was strong in each of the stories (except perhaps the first.)

As with other of Smith's works, I am left wanting MORE! I'm currently working my way through the 44 Scotland Street series, which will keep me occupied for a very long time, and it's clear that Smith hasn't lost his touch in Chance Developments.


Linksys Max-Stream MU-MIMO Tri-Band AC5400 Wi-Fi Router (EA9500)
Linksys Max-Stream MU-MIMO Tri-Band AC5400 Wi-Fi Router (EA9500)
Price: $399.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent range and throughput, eight Ethernet ports!, May 15, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I had been using a Netgear Nighthawk X8 which is of the same "generation" as the Linksys EA9500. While the Netgear had amazing range and performance, it was also unreliable, locking up frequently and rebooting spontaneously. I'm hoping that the Linksys works better in this regard.

When you first connect to the EA9500 it wants you to use the "easy setup" mode, This works only if your Internet connection allows the new router to connect, which often won't be the case as it has a different Ethernet MAC address. If the setup determines it can't connect, it instructs you to power-cycle your "modem" which will usually take care of that, but the fiber connection I have is not so simple to do that on. The EA9500 does have a manual configuration option, but once you've selected the "easy" option, you can't get back to manual without doing a full reset on the router.

Once I did that, it was pretty simple to get it connected, though the user interface hides some features, such as DHCP reservations, inside other pages. You'll need to spend some time exploring all the pages to see what is where. A CD with PDF documentation is included, but it is very superficial, just giving an overview of the various top-level menu screens. A couple of minor irritations with the administrative interface: 1) Nowhere can I find the IP address my ISP has assigned the router, something EVERY other router I have used displays clearly. 2) There is a Speed Test menu item, but when I go there it tells me it requires Flash. My browser (Chrome) prompts me to run Flash if a page wants it, but no such prompt appeared - just a screen saying I needed to install Flash. C'mon, Linksys, there's no reason whatsoever to use Flash for this!

The Netgear X8 was unusual in having six Gigabit Ethernet ports - the Linksys EA9500 has eight! I did very much appreciate that the Linksys does away with bright blinking lights. There is a small panel on the top surface with subtle indicators that don't blink. This display supposedly also can indicate if any of your connections are using the MIMO feature, but apparently none of mine are.

Signal strength and throughput is exceptional. The router is at one end of my house - I could go to the other end of the house, through the garage and outside and still have a usable 5GHz signal. (The Netgear was the same.)

One interesting difference relates to the guest network. With all the other routers I have used, the guest network was simply another SSID with its own WPA2 password, and you could optionally isolate guests from your local network. The Linksys EA9500 operates more like a hotel hotspot. The guest network is open but once you connect you have to use a web browser to enter a password. This means that I can't use the guest network for various wireless devices at home I didn't want to have access to my local network.

Physically, this is a BIG router (though about the same size as the Netgear X8). The eight antennae are all individually positionable, though the instructions say to make them all vertical.

There is an app available for iOS and Android that replicates the administration menu. You authenticate using either the router's password or a "Linksys Smart WiFi" account you create that is supposedly used only for authentication. Oddly I could not register for this on my PC, it kept redirecting me to the router's home menu. I did eventually register using my iPhone.

The router has parental controls and can access storage through the USB ports on back (one USB2, one USB3).

There is a "Smart Roaming" feature that works if you buy Linksys' companion range extender, but I think one would need a mansion in order to need such a thing given how strong the signal is from the EA9500!

My initial impression is very positive. I will update this review with my experiences over time.

Edit: May 22, 2016

Zero problems so far.


Dell Ultrasharp U2417HWi 24" Screen LED-Lit Monitor with Wireless Connect
Dell Ultrasharp U2417HWi 24" Screen LED-Lit Monitor with Wireless Connect
Price: $399.99
2 used & new from $399.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful picture, HDMI selection annoyance, good second wireless monitor for Windows, May 15, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have been a fan of Dell Ultrasharp monitors for many years. Out of the box, the Dell U2417HWi doesn't disappoint. The bezel is vanishingly thin and the image quality is fantastic. It is adjustable in height, tilt and swivel and can rotate to portrait mode. I especially like the four USB3 ports on the back, and if you attach a mouse and keyboard to these ports you can access additional settings not available through the normal on-screen menu.

When you first turn it on, the monitor displays one of a set of beautiful background pictures and gives you the info you need for wireless connectivity. Want to use HDMI? If the HDMI source was not active when you turned on the monitor, you have to use the buttons on the lower right to switch to HDMI mode, which is a real pain. The buttons also take a very firm press to activate.

Ok, about the wireless feature... This works with Windows and, supposedly, with Android. Windows has a catch - you can't use the Dell wireless connection as your primary monitor. It works great as a secondary monitor to extend or duplicate your screen, but the Windows PC will need a wired monitor at first. Furthermore, if you have the keyboard or mouse connected to the monitor you have to tell Windows to allow their use. Obviously you can't do this if you try to make it the primary monitor. But as a second monitor, it works great.

Android? I downloaded the Dell Wireless Monitor app on two different Android phones running "Marshmallow". Both of them claimed "Casting" capability, but neither one saw the Dell when it was in wireless mode. I will see if I can get Dell to help me work this out.

Like many Dell monitors you can attach an optional soundbar. I have used this feature on other Dell monitors and it works well if you aren't too fussy about the sound. The monitor does have HDMI audio output that works fine.

I really wanted to give this monitor five stars, but the annoyance about having to manually select HDMI (or power-cycle the monitor) is just too irritating. It claims to have an auto-select feature, but if it doesn't see the HDMI initially it just locks into wireless mode.

Edit: May 19, 2016

The HDMI annoyance is even worse as it switches back to wireless mode if the computer blanks the screen ("screen saver"). However, I found that you can disable Auto Select in the monitor menu and lock it onto HDMI so if you don't care about the wireless feature, or don't mind enabling it manually when you want, that's a good option. Still can't get it to work with Android.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 24, 2016 8:59 PM PDT


Intertape Polymer Group GT4850B Premium Grade Gaffer's Tape, 1.88"/54.7 yd., Black
Intertape Polymer Group GT4850B Premium Grade Gaffer's Tape, 1.88"/54.7 yd., Black
Price: $15.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to use, sticks tight, removes cleanly, May 15, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I discovered Gaffer's Tape a few years ago at a photography seminar, and found how absolutely wonderful this stuff is compared to using painter's tape and other tape types for holding things down temporarily. I had earlier bought 2" Width ProTapes Pro Gaff and was interested to see how this IPG tape compares.

Physically, the only difference I could see was that the Pro Gaff tape had a light gray adhesive side while the IPG tape is black on both sides. Both are about the same thickness. The IPG tape is a tenth of an inch narrower, but that was not any practical difference. The IPG tape is easy to tear off the roll, sticks tightly and removes cleanly. I've been using it to attach plastic sheeting and floor protectors during a construction project and it has worked very well for that.


ADATA USA Premier Pro SP920 256G SATA III 2.5-Inch Synchronous NAND SSD ASP920SS3-256GM-C
ADATA USA Premier Pro SP920 256G SATA III 2.5-Inch Synchronous NAND SSD ASP920SS3-256GM-C
Price: $101.45
15 used & new from $94.78

4.0 out of 5 stars Plastic fantastic, May 14, 2016
I've been an SSD convert for many years, starting with the Intel X25-M. Since then I have installed SSDs from various vendors in different PCs, and I'll never choose a "spinning rust" disk for a boot drive again.

ADATA sent me their SP920 256GB drive and asked me to review it. The first thing I noticed was its unusual plastic body - every other 2.5" SSD I have used has had a metal body. This suggests to me that the "thermals" are well controlled and also indicates low power consumption. It certainly doesn't hurt that it will contribute almost nothing to your device weight (assuming you install it in a portable device.)

The drive itself is 7mm, but a spacer is included if your application needs a 9.5mm drive, A metal 3.5" adapter tray is also included.

I compared performance to a somewhat older OCZ Vertex 480 drive of the same size, using the CrystalDisk benchmark. First, here's the ADATA results:

Sequential Read (Q= 32,T= 1) : 517.769 MB/s
Sequential Write (Q= 32,T= 1) : 321.022 MB/s
Random Read 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) : 239.187 MB/s [ 58395.3 IOPS]
Random Write 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) : 197.272 MB/s [ 48162.1 IOPS]
Sequential Read (T= 1) : 479.183 MB/s
Sequential Write (T= 1) : 320.191 MB/s
Random Read 4KiB (Q= 1,T= 1) : 24.930 MB/s [ 6086.4 IOPS]
Random Write 4KiB (Q= 1,T= 1) : 62.831 MB/s [ 15339.6 IOPS]

and the OCZ results:

Sequential Read (Q= 32,T= 1) : 549.698 MB/s
Sequential Write (Q= 32,T= 1) : 522.526 MB/s
Random Read 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) : 353.522 MB/s [ 86309.1 IOPS]
Random Write 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) : 207.334 MB/s [ 50618.7 IOPS]
Sequential Read (T= 1) : 407.305 MB/s
Sequential Write (T= 1) : 477.744 MB/s
Random Read 4KiB (Q= 1,T= 1) : 25.445 MB/s [ 6212.2 IOPS]
Random Write 4KiB (Q= 1,T= 1) : 81.095 MB/s [ 19798.6 IOPS]

The Q= number refers to request queue depth - a higher number of outstanding requests allows the controller to overlap transfers, increasing performance. But the Q=1 number is more typical of what you'll see in everyday use.

Overall, the OCZ is a faster drive, though I think that in most use cases you would not notice a difference. The ADATA did come reasonably close to the claimed 560MB/s read performance, but fell short of the claimed 460MB/s write performance. The price point for the ADATA certainly seems lower, so I think the drive is a good value.

ADATA says that free software is available when you buy the drive. You get this by going to a URL given in the Quick Start Guide or by scanning the QR code on the back of the package. The page leads off with Macrium Reflect Free Backup, but you can get that directly from Macrium. (This is the backup software I use.) There is also a link to Acronis TrueImage HD which is NOT the full TrueImage product but rather a disk copying tool. Very useful if you're migrating data to the new disk, though Macrium Reflect will also do this and I see complaints about repeated registration requests. I used Acronis TrueImage in the past but gave it up after too many problems. (It also does not handle Windows Bitlocker encrypted drives, which Macrium Reflect does.) Lastly there is an "SSD Toolbox" that is used for firmware updates.

Overall, the ADATA SP920 is a decent drive, Not super-high performance, but not super-high price either. I don't yet have experience with how it behaves over time - other reviewers have done some testing there.


5800mAh iPhone 6 6S Battery Case, SinoPro Ultra Slim Extended Battery Case Portable Charger Power Bank with Folding Stand High Capacity for iPhone 6 6S (4.7 Inches) (White)
5800mAh iPhone 6 6S Battery Case, SinoPro Ultra Slim Extended Battery Case Portable Charger Power Bank with Folding Stand High Capacity for iPhone 6 6S (4.7 Inches) (White)
Offered by SinoPro
Price: $27.99
2 used & new from $27.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Easy on, easy off, unusual Lightning port for charging, May 7, 2016
I have reviewed so many iPhone battery cases I have lost count. Every single one of them to date has had what I consider a negative - the use of a MicroUSB port for charging the case's battery. For iPhones with Lightning ports this means that you need two different connectivity solutions depending on whether you are using the case or not.

The SinoPro case is the first one I have seen that has a Lightning port for charging (and connectivity). It's also unusual in that it is easy to attach and detach the phone - just slide it on over the felt covering the case until the integrated Lightning plug connects with your phone. Two prongs on the side hold the phone securely. If you want to separate them, just slide the phone out. The distributor provided the case to me at a discount for review.

The case charges the phone just fine, and I got no errors about "unsupported device". But the SinoPro case has two other tricks. First is a standard USB port on the side that can deliver 1A to another device. I tried this with an Android phone and saw .85A. The second trick is a flip-out kickstand in the back that will support the phone in landscape orientation. It's not very stable, but works well for watching content on the phone.

A button on the front activates and deactivates the battery, and LEDs indicate the charging status. Like all battery cases, the SinoPro adds some bulk and weight but it's about the minimum possible and feels very usable.


Silica Gel Desiccants 2-1/4 x 1 1/2 Inches - 25 Silica Gel Packets of 10 Grams Each by Dry-Packs
Silica Gel Desiccants 2-1/4 x 1 1/2 Inches - 25 Silica Gel Packets of 10 Grams Each by Dry-Packs
Price: $12.99
4 used & new from $10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Dry time, April 30, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm using these to keep 3D printer filament dry, putting one packet in a zip-close bag with the filament. Seems to work fine. I note that the packaging isn't zip-close, so I put the unused packets in yet another zip-close bag.


Bosch OSL114F Starlock Bi-Metal Plunge Cut Blade, 1-1/4"
Bosch OSL114F Starlock Bi-Metal Plunge Cut Blade, 1-1/4"
Price: $17.08
3 used & new from $12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Versatile and great performance, April 30, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This Bosch blade fit my Ridgid multitool perfectly and it's much better than the similar blade that came with the tool. I like the curved edge that makes it easy to get started, the offset that allows the blade to sit flat on a surface, and the depth markings on the blade. It made quick work of undercutting molding to slide in flooring. I note that it did not fit my other multitool, a Dremel, but Bosch didn't claim compatibility for that.


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