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Profile for Brian Klein > Reviews


Brian Klein's Profile

Customer Reviews: 122
Top Reviewer Ranking: 27,657
Helpful Votes: 882

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Brian Klein "zarzak" RSS Feed

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GoGreen Power 24048 - Alkaline AA 48pk
GoGreen Power 24048 - Alkaline AA 48pk
Price: $16.06
3 used & new from $16.06

3.0 out of 5 stars Cheap, Low Power, September 10, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
On the one hand, these are cheap, and 'environmentally friendly'. They contain no mercury, lead, or cadmium. The packaging is plastic, which is unfortunate, but its recyclable ... which is for some reason advertised as a bonus. Given that most plastic is recyclable, that isn't saying much.

On the other hand ... most alkaline non-rechargable batteries don't contain mercury, lead, or cadmium, and, as other reviewers have pointed out, the 'free' battery recycling program isn't actually free unless you buy even more batteries. As far as I can tell these are about as environmentally friendly as any other alkaline battery, though I'd love if someone could show me otherwise (I want to feel good about using these!).

Also, as other reviewers have stated, these are fairly low-powered batteries. They're priced accordingly, with a 48-pack of these about the same price as a 24-pack of a name-brand (like energizer or duracell). So if you need batteries for low-intensity purposes such as remotes or similar this is decent buy, as long as you remember to use nicer batteries in other applications

Given the low price I don't mind giving these three stars - as long as you remember what to use them in these batteries are fine for the price. They're definitely nothing special, and again, they don't seem to be more environmentally friendly than the name-brands ... but they're cheap.

Tumi Vapor Lite International Carry-On, Black, One Size
Tumi Vapor Lite International Carry-On, Black, One Size
Price: $475.00

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hugely Overpriced, September 3, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was really excited to try out this Tumi suitcase. I've gotten into bags/suitcases of all sorts, and Tumi makes some great looking products. I was also excited to compare it against my Wenger luggage, which I've used for over a decade and have had an excellent experience with. My wife also has Wenger luggage, only about two years old, which is comparable in quality to my older luggage (and perhaps a better comparison to this Tumi piece), so I also have that for comparison.

For this review I decided to make Wenger luggage my baseline. The piece I use for my carryon has some features I love, and an amazing lifetime warranty (which I have used several times thus far). On the other hand, carryon sizing has changed since I got the bag and now its technically too big for most airlines (though I can usually still get it on without issue).

As you may have already guessed by my rating, I wasn't terribly impressed with this Tumi piece, which is unfortunate as I actually *really* wanted to love it. I've had good experiences with the brand in the past (I've been using the same Tumi wallet for over a decade, for instance).

I'll start with the good points first:
* Looks - this is a very stylish case. It has a very sophisticated look to it, and a sleek Tumi logo. The polycarbonate shell looks professional and slick.
* Weight - This weighs a little under 8 pounds, which is very light for a rolling suitcase. However, this is really more of a novelty - its a carryon, so won't be weighed on most airlines ... and even then most of the weight is going to come from what you pack. 1-2 pounds more of suitcase won't make a difference 99% of the time.
* Included TSA-lock - This is a nice extra, and one I would expect at this pricepoint. That said, I find the usefulness of such a lock dubious on a carry-on, but a little extra security is never a bad thing. Its fairly easy to operate, though the zippers can be a bit of a pain to line up properly.
* Included luggage tag - It looks nice, but I also have some issues with it ...
* Interior Organization - Inside the one of the halves of the suitcase is fully closed off by a zipper section (which is also a little bag itself). I love this, as it provides a great way to divide up clean and dirty clothes, for instance, or any other number of things. There is a small (and honestly fairly useless) pouch on the other side - you could maybe stick a tooth brush and 1-2 other slim toiletry items in it. There are also some compression straps for clothes (but only on the side that isn't blocked off by a zipper pouch). A nice feature is that you can 'unzip' the interior lining to get to the polycarbonate shell, which could be very useful if you spill something and want to dry out the suitcase, or if you want to be really crafty and hide something.
* Tumi Tracer Bag Recovery - I have no idea how useful this is in practice, but its a nice addition that I'd expect at this pricepoint.
* Properly sized - This is carry-on sized for all airlines, domestic and international, at least as of mid-2015.

So, thats a decent amount of good points. But, I also have a decent number of complaints:
* The luggage tag - While it looks nice, its just dangling on a pretty flimsy strap, that I *know* is not going to last for years of usage. My Wenger luggage has a slot it pops out of underneath the handle, which is a much safer way to do it.
* Lint magnet - This thing picks up lint and such like nothing else. Its just cosmetic, but I had no idea the shell would be charged like that
* Flimsy feeling - This may just be me, but the bag feels *flimsy*. The handle is pretty solid, but the shell doesn't feel great - though this is likely a byproduct of how thin it is in order to get the weight down. I could accept that, but the wheels also a feel a bit flimsy/wobbly. I'll be using this bag for a big to test it out in real travel situations, but the wheels definitely feel a lot less solid than my Wenger ones (and I've never had an issue with the Wenger wheels). In addition, the bag is made in China, which means quality may be dubious (I know thats perhaps an unfair generalization, but thats been my experience). This is actually a fairly big point for me - the Tumi name is supposed to mean 'quality' and 'craftsmanship' (it says so right on the tag), which is what is supposed to justify the huge price markup. 'Made in China' does not go with those words, at least not yet. You can get premium products, that are better quality, that are made in the USA, for less (even though those products would be more expensive than the norm). I imagine there is ridiculous markup on this bag from what it actually cost to make.
* The TSA-lock - This is nice, but the zippers had to be done in such a way that they are much more liable to break. They are supposed to break 'cleanly', such that you only need to replace the tab you pull, but even so. In addition, lining up the zippers for the lock is a bit annoying, and its just another potential break/catch point on the exterior of the suitcase. In my experience, any protruding element is more likely than not to break at some point. Given the limited warranty, this can become a concern.
* Warranty - You only have a 1 year unlimited warranty, and then 4 more years after that. The Wenger bags are cheaper and have a lifetime warranty, which I have definitely made use of well beyond the 5 year mark.
* No easy suit/garment storage - The old wenger bags had trifold suit/dress/etc storage areas for clothes you might want on a hanger. I took a look at the newer bags and they don't seem to have this feature, which is a shame. The Tumi bag also doesn't have it, but to top it off the arrangement of the interior is such that storing a suit or similar nicely is going to be a challenge. Any suit would need to go into the segregated compartment, and I'd really need to get some sort of thing to fold it around. Given that this suitcase seems to be aimed at business travelers, I would've liked to see something to nicely handle hangers/clothes that need to be folded cleanly, even if its a little extra optional thing you can use. For almost $500 I'd expect something like that to be included.
* Price - As of writing, this is $475, which is outrageous. There's not any significant quality increase of Wenger bags (in fact I'd argue it feels less well made), there's a much shorter warranty, and some of the features aren't well thought-out. Again - $475(!!!). You can get all sorts of great and solid carry-on pieces (Wenger and all sorts of other things) for $100-$300 in this size range. This Tumi is more than double that price! There are other pieces of luggage in the $500 range, such as Briggs & Riley, but they are usually better made and have lifetime warranties.

Overall you're paying a ton of money for the Tumi name here. You're not getting anything that special with regards to build quality, features, and warranty. It may look nice, but I *use* my luggage, and how it looks is the least of my concerns (unlike a backpack or similar). I'll be using this for business travel and similar for a bit to see how it plays out, but I am definitely worried about the luggage tag and wheels. The luggage tag especially I can see easily getting ripped off somehow if I need to gate-check the bag. The wheels I don't expect to last more than 5 years without something breaking. The best part of the luggage, in my mind, is how one of the compartments can be completely segregated, and if it was $200 less (so $275) I'd be more inclined to recommend it as a 'luxury suitcase' due its slick looks and branding. Remember, at $275 it would *still* be more than almost anything else you can buy. For almost $500 I'd expect better build quality, better thought out features, and a lifetime warranty.

If you see this on sale for half-price consider it as a luxury suitcase, but even then remember its still going to cost more than the competition without arguably adding anything that makes it worth the price.

Dove Shampoo, Quench Absolute Ultra Nourishing 8.45 oz
Dove Shampoo, Quench Absolute Ultra Nourishing 8.45 oz
Price: $3.99
17 used & new from $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Moisturizing, August 26, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My wife loves this shampoo. It has a mild, pleasant scent - much like Nexxus brand products. Its big plus is how moisturizing it is (and the 'clean' feeling you'll have afterwards), though if you have thicker/coarser hair you'll need to make sure your hair is soaking wet before application.

Black & Decker SC1004D Slow Cooker, 4 Quart, Black/White
Black & Decker SC1004D Slow Cooker, 4 Quart, Black/White
Price: $29.99
16 used & new from $23.68

4.0 out of 5 stars Cute and Works Well for Most Things, August 26, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This Black & Decker slow cooker is really cute, and will look great in almost any kitchen. It doesn't match our kitchen very well, but its cute enough hat it still works. The price is right, and it does a good job with stews, soups, and meats.

The one negative is that its size makes it unwieldy for anything *but* stews, soups, and meats. If you're only going to have one slow cooker in your kitchen, thats definitely a consideration with this model. An oval shape might have been more functional here.

Overall its cute enough that if you're happy with the size/shape, this is a great slow cooker to pick.

Dickies Men's Performance 11 Inch Flat Front Bi-Stretch Short, Slate, 34
Dickies Men's Performance 11 Inch Flat Front Bi-Stretch Short, Slate, 34
Price: $29.66
9 used & new from $27.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Quality for the Price, Pockets OK, Too Short, July 26, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
These are 'OK' in my opinion ... some design decisions bring them down a bit. However, they're cheap enough that its not too bad ($30 as of this writing, and I don't know that I'd pay too much more for them).

First - they run a bit large. I'd suggest either ordering a size smaller than usual, or planning on wearing a belt.

Speaking of a belt - the shorts don't come with one. This is a bit of an issue for me, because the fabric texture/color (I had their slate color) is a bit unusual, so finding a belt that matches can be a pain. If they had included some sort of belt it would have been a really nice extra.

'Performance' wise these shorts work well - they didn't get soaked with sweat when I was exerting myself, and they dry well. For some reason they're advertised as being 'SPF 50' ... I'm not sure why. I have yet to find non-transparent clothes that don't block the sun.

The side pockets are sufficiently deep, though I would've preferred deeper. The extra leg pocket is annoying. Its meant for a cell phone, and it can't fit anything much bigger (even though it looks like it should). But its location makes carrying a cell phone there an annoyance, as it will constantly swing around. There are velcro'd back pockets, but I never use them so can't comment much (I don't like sitting on my things, and they're easier to steal from) ... that said, they're fairly shallow/tight, so you wouldn't be able to put much in them.

I found the length to be too short by an inch or two, but I am fairly tall (6'4"), so I don't count it against the shorts. On me the shorts ended an inch above my knee when they were seated properly. I would have needed another inch in length to have them cover the knee (as in the model's picture), or two more inches to go below the knee (which would be slightly more fashionable). Other than that my wife though they looked good on me - I have a slim/trim build though, and I don't know that they would look great on someone bulkier due to how the fabric can stretch.

There were also too few belt loops for my liking, though I suppose you could fit much wider accessories on your belt with these shorts.

If I was to redesign them I'd make the leg pocket bigger. I'd definitely raise it up an inch or two. Right now I can't ever see myself using it. I'd also deepen the usual side pockets, and add at least one additional belt loop. I'd definitely include a belt made of the same fabric (or at least the appropriate color texture), so you'd have something easy that matches.

Right now these will make great outdoor 'work' shorts for me - the fabric does feel like it will last a few years, so at $30 I'd say these are a good buy.

Philips M1MKIIBO/27 Fidelio M1 MKII Premium Headphones with In-line control and mic switch between music and calls and stitched fine leather, Black/Orange
Philips M1MKIIBO/27 Fidelio M1 MKII Premium Headphones with In-line control and mic switch between music and calls and stitched fine leather, Black/Orange
Price: $199.00
4 used & new from $189.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Made Music Fun Again - Incredible Vocals, July 25, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was really excited to try out the Philips Fidelio headsets, as I've never gotten to use an expensive on-the ear headset that was designed primarily for audio quality (though I have reviewed excellent over-the-ear gaming headsets).

I'll touch on the various aspects of these headphones; they are great overall, but with a few niggling points that add up to deduct a star for me (especially at this price point).

Sound Quality - Sound quality is overall excellent, but does have some lowish points. First - vocals are absolutely incredible. In listening to various tracks I was hearing details I never heard before - in one track of the 1812 Overture I have I was easily able to make out individual chorus members, for example. The clarity and beauty of vocals was consistently amazing from song to song, from genre to genre. I gave these to my wife to try out, and the first thing she mentioned was how incredible the vocals were. Overall clarity is also great, though its not a substantial step up from headphones in the $100 range in my opinion. Bass, in my opinion, was a little disappointing in some classical tracks. It had good presence in electronica, but seemed flat in almost all classical tracks I listened to. I'm not sure if this is due to more complex harmonics in the classical tracks, or the individual tracks I was listening to, but it was a consistent thing. I suspect it may be related to harmonics, as I noted in tracks with complex bass drum sections that clarity wasn't as good as the highs. This isn't to say that bass was bad, its just that it doesn't compare to the beauty of how vocals sound.

Comfort - The Fidelio headphones are light, the padding is comfortable and the fit isn't too tight. But ... if you have glasses, they will press on them and over time that does start to hurt (or, at least it did for me). If I adjusted the frames to rest above the point of tightest pressure I had no issue. I haven't had this problem with headphones that completely cup your ears, and I don't always have the problem with headphones like this that go on your ear. If you don't wear glasses these are great - if you do, just be aware that you may need to adjust a little.

Build - No complaints here - the build quality is fantastic. Materials are all premium, and as soon as you touch the headset you can feel the quality.

Extras - The headphones come with a very nice faux suede carrying case, which is a nice touch. They ear cups fold in for easy traveling, and you can detach the cable if you wish. This last bit is a bit of a mixed bag, as I'm not sure why you'd ever want to use a different cable ... it seems like this just creates another part to get lost (and it forces the mic to be lower than it would otherwise be). The mic quality is good, but nothing special. It gets the job done without distortion. No volume control, which is a bit of a bummer at this price point, especially for a headset that is designed to be somewhat mobile.

Overall - Reading over my review you'll notice I had small complaints in almost every category, which might seem to make the Fidelo headset deserving of less than 4 stars given its price. However, there is one thing that really changed the equation for me: This headset made listening to music FUN, in a way that it hasn't been for me in years. I ended up lying in bed and just listening with my eyes closed for a while after receiving these. Songs made my heart race in ways that they hadn't in years; it was if I was hearing some for the first time. While I could find areas where I'd like the headset to perform better (which at this pricepoint I think definitely necessitates a star deduction), the overall experience was awesome. Especially the vocals - if you listen to music with a lot of vocals then these are the headphones for you.

Philips SHE9105BK/27 Headphones with Mic, Black
Philips SHE9105BK/27 Headphones with Mic, Black
Price: $34.90
3 used & new from $31.80

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Value - Incredible Sound for the Price, July 24, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm a big fan of in-ear headphones, and have used many pairs over the years. I usually use cheap $10-$20 sets, but I've also used $200+ sets. There is an incredible quality difference between $10-$20 and $200, and I was very pleasantly surprised that these Philips headphones fall much closer (in my opinion) to the $200 side of the scale than the $10-$20 side.

To be clear, $200 headphones are still going to blow these out of the water; I don't want to give the impression that these will compare. However, these are also orders of magnitude better than your average $10-$20 headphone set from your local Walgreens or Best Buy. For only $30 (just a little more than you might pay for bottom of the barrel headphones) you get much brighter highs, and a much clearer aural experience.

That these also include an inline mic (which is functional enough, though nothing spectacular) is icing on the cake. You won't get volume controls or such, but I can understand that costs had to be cut somewhere given the impressive audio quality for the price. On top of that, the build quality actually seems pretty nice (aluminum housing instead of plastic, and it feels fairly solid).

Now, these headphones aren't perfect. A few quibbles:
Bass - this is a bit nicer than your average cheapo set (or at least clearer), but its still noticeably much less full than more expensive headsets.
No carrying case - Cheaper sets come with at least a pouch, so something would have been nice here.

* Great clarity for the price
* Good highs for the price
* Well-built
* Microphone

* Bass could be fuller
* No carrying case

SOG Specialty Knives & Tools Voodoo Hawk Mini Tomahawk with Satin Finish - F182N-CP
SOG Specialty Knives & Tools Voodoo Hawk Mini Tomahawk with Satin Finish - F182N-CP
Price: Click here to see our price
55 used & new from $36.71

5.0 out of 5 stars Well-Built and Fun to Throw!, July 13, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was tempted to write a witty/sarcastic review for this (what else is one supposed to do when given a Tomahawk to review?), but upon receiving the SOG Voodoo Tomahawk I was very pleasantly surprised. Read below for more:

Build/Weight: The tomahawk seems well-built, and it has held up to my chopping/throwing test nicely. My one concern is that I worry about the silver metal piece that serves as an additional 'clasp' for the blade (you can see it in the picture) may start coming loose after repeated use. Otherwise the Voodoo is surprisingly light for an axe that feels as solid as it does.

Design: In terms of aerodynamics this seems to be well designed, but I'm definitely not an expert. You'd need to read elsewhere to see if this is is great as a 'tomahawk', though it is fun to throw. In terms of practicality I feel it does as well as it can. The grip isn't so great after long periods of chopping wood, but I don't see how that can be easily improved. I haven't had much use for the spike at the back or the ridges under the axe, but its nice to know they're there if you want them.

Extras: The Voodoo comes with a nice carrying case with a built-in belt loop. I see it as more useful for strapping on a backpack, as this is actually light enough to take camping.

Overall: The Voodoo chops wood as well as you'd expect from an axe its size (decently enough, but I personally wouldn't use it on anything with a diameter over 3"), though prolonged chopping gets tiresome as its a one-handed tool and the grip gets a little rough over time. You can also throw it, which is much fun. While it seems a good buy as a tomahawk, its definitely a good buy as a camping axe (if you think you'll need one). I know I'll be keeping this around to use on the random camping trip where I may need to chop some branches for firewood or whatnot.

Belkin MIXIT 6-Inch Metallic Lightning to USB Cable for iPhone 6S / 6S Plus, iPhone 6 / 6 Plus, iPhone 5 / 5S / 5c and iPod touch 5th Gen (Silver)
Belkin MIXIT 6-Inch Metallic Lightning to USB Cable for iPhone 6S / 6S Plus, iPhone 6 / 6 Plus, iPhone 5 / 5S / 5c and iPod touch 5th Gen (Silver)
Offered by HaiMing
Price: $11.99
9 used & new from $9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Well Built but Expensive, June 25, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There's not much to say - its a Lightning to USB cable. On the one hand - this works great with an iPhone 6. It has a high quality cable, and feels like it will last a while (my wife and I have had an incredible number of plastic apple and third party cables fray at the ends over the years, but have never had issues with braided cables).

On the other hand ... at the time of writing this is $25 for 6" of cable. Thats $25 for 6 INCHES of cable, not 6 feet. Thats a bit ridiculously expensive in my opinion, even for braided cable.

However, there aren't many alternatives at the moment ... and if 6 inches is the size you need (for whatever reason) then this is a very solid buy.

Just For Me Conditioner Hair Milk Silkening, 13.5 Ounce
Just For Me Conditioner Hair Milk Silkening, 13.5 Ounce
Offered by Cosmetic Solutions
Price: $11.75
5 used & new from $6.76

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works Great, Pleasant Scent, June 25, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My wife has been using this for over a week now, and has loved it.

First - this is expensive, but it is salon quality. Its not a 'bargain', but given the quality its certainly a reasonable amount of conditioner for the price.

My wife is fairly picky with her conditioner, and has had nothing but good things to say about this. First - it performs great. It noticeably softens, conditions, and dentangles her hair. And, after continued use, she says that her hair feels stronger.

As an added bonus it has a sweet, mild, very pleasant coconut scent.

If you're looking for a high quality coconut scented conditioner, we can safely say that this is a great buy.

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