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Customer Reviews: 157
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Paul Christensen "gadget geek" RSS Feed (West Chester, PA United States)
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Wahoo Fitness TICKR RUN Motion Analytics Heart Rate Monitor for iPhone and Android
Wahoo Fitness TICKR RUN Motion Analytics Heart Rate Monitor for iPhone and Android
Price: $79.99
2 used & new from $79.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent bluetooth (+ANT) HR and Motion monitor. Worth every penny over the crowded field of HR-only devices, August 31, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
While there are many good choices for inexpensive Bluetooth Heart Rate monitors, Wahoo Fitness differentiates with the addition of an accelerometer for motion and stride. And the companion Wahoo Fitness app really makes this device shine with stride analytics.

The packaging is very minimalist - there is no manual, not even a setup guide, so if you want to get started you must download this (there is a QR code to scan if you want a quick link). I would have preferred at least some simple instructions. That being said, once you actually find the setup / pairing instructions, I found it to be reliable and easy. The chest band is very comfortable, lightweight and good quality. Unlike other HR monitors, the Wahoo includes activity LEDs to let you know it's actually powered on / available for pairing.

I'm not a runner - I'm a heavy walker, so the run analytics are limited use for me. But I did like the ability to "calibrate" the device for treadmill use, so I can keep track of my stride and distance without relying on the phone's GPS like most other fitness apps do.

All in all, the $30 (or so) premium over heartrate-only devices is worth it for me.


Epson LabelWorks LW-600P App-enabled, Portable Label Printer with Bonus 1" (24mm) Tape Cartridge
Epson LabelWorks LW-600P App-enabled, Portable Label Printer with Bonus 1" (24mm) Tape Cartridge
Price: $109.91

4.0 out of 5 stars nice compact label printer, quirky software, NOT wireless from your PC or Mac, REALLY needs a physical keyboard, August 31, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Epson LabelWorks LW-600P is truly (for now) in a class of its own: a bluetooth-enabled label printer with apps for iOS (iPhone or iPad) and Android. That being said, after using it for a couple weeks, I'm really missing the convenience of a physical keyboard for those times you need to print of a quick label.

First of all, the hardware. Epson has really designed a beautiful, compact, easy-to-load printer. Unlike many of Epson's standalone label printers, the tape is very easy to load, and it is easy to access the print head for cleaning if necessary. The unit operates on 6 AA batteries (not included) or AC power.

There are some strange limitations, however:
- Epson has chosen not to release Bluetooth print drivers for either Mac OS X or Windows. So, if you want to use the printer from your Mac or PC, you will have to use the physical USB cable (included), and manually download the drivers from Epson's website. For Mac OS X, you download "Epson Label Editor Lite" (free) from the OS X App Store. Not sure why it's called "Lite" because there is no "FULL" version by the way.
- For Bluetooth, the printer does not support multiple simultaneous connections. So while you can pair it with multiple devices, only one device can be connected at a time. This is problematic in an office or small workgroup if you want to share the printer. Or even if you have an iPhone and an iPad. You must make sure the other device is disconnected, and then connect from the device you want to use.

Epson offers many different label options, sizes, and colors, including some unusual ones (iron-on, glow-in-the-dark, even printed ribbon). Unlike the competing Brother TZ tapes, Epson's tape is generally not discounted, so you will pay 2x the price for a tape cartridge of roughly the same length. The extra cost is (mostly) offset by Epson's ability to print with much smaller margins than the Brother printers. My Brother PT-2730 wastes 1.25" combined for every label I print manually. (If you print from a computer, the Brother is much closer to the Epson in margin savings.)

The label printing software is quirky, but useful. You can easily add images from many categories (numbers, characters, images) or your own clip art. It is super-easy to create Barcodes or QR codes.
- on iOS, the print preview is WYSIWG to size and scale, but it is NOT WYSIWG on Mac OS X (I would assume not on Windows either)
- on iOS, Epson's "auto cut" feature really does calculate the end of the label and cut it for you (but it does not closely trim on Mac OS X)
- on iOS, the interface is confusing and non-standard (click Left to insert an image?, want to remove an image? choose "image alignment NONE")
- on iOS, the label preview function can use the camera to show what the label would like like on a physical item, but it isn't smart enough to preview with the actual label color (you can manually set the R/G/B color of the preview)
- BIG PROBLEM on Mac OSX: despite many font choices, BOLD, font sizes, I could NEVER print a bold easy-to-read label (the labels always printed in lightweight fonts that are hard to read)

In the end, after really putting this little printer to the test, I found myself wanting a physical keyboard. Unless you're putting together a complicated label, most of the time I find I just need to quickly type some text and print. With the Epson LW-600P, I have to fire up my iPhone or iPad, connect the bluetooth to the printer, fire up the iOS "Epson iLabel" software, type on the phone keyboard, and print.

Considering how much more (3x) the LW-600P costs than a regular Epson label printer with a physical keyboard, I can't say I could recommend this unless your needs are different.


1911 Cream Edison Opera Phonograph 1:1 Model
1911 Cream Edison Opera Phonograph 1:1 Model
Offered by Brookstone
Price: $80.68
5 used & new from $73.47

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not even close to the original Edison Opera phonograph, July 19, 2014
Any claims that this is an exact copy of the 1911 Edison Opera are unfounded. I've uploaded a photo of the original Edison model, which plays 4-minute Edison cylinder records.

What Brookstone appears to have done with this unit is copied one of the various inexpensive "crapophone" units made in India in the 1950's-1980's.


Sabrent USB 3.0 To 2.5-Inch Sata Aluminum Hard Drive Enclosure Case (for 9.5mm, 12.5mm 2.5-Inch SATA-I, SATA-II, HDD and SSD) Black (EC-TB4P)
Sabrent USB 3.0 To 2.5-Inch Sata Aluminum Hard Drive Enclosure Case (for 9.5mm, 12.5mm 2.5-Inch SATA-I, SATA-II, HDD and SSD) Black (EC-TB4P)
Offered by Store4PC
Price: $16.99
10 used & new from $14.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars super-fast, but poor case design and can't (quite) fit 12.5mm drive, June 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've been a big fan of the Sabrent all-metal USB 3 enclosures, so when it was time to house my 12.5mm drive (Seagate FreePlay 1.5TB), I chose this enclosure.

Like the other Sabrent enclosures, the USB 3 interface is super-fast (reaching over 80MB/s read and write with the Seagate drive).

However, the case design isn't so hot. The upper and lower metal plates are held in place by short metal tabs on one end, and 2 small screws on the other. The tabs aren't very deep, so I found that the plates easily pop off near the tabs.

Worse yet - despite being advertised as a 12.5mm case housing, it can't quite fit my 12.mm Seagate drive. The lower plate is fine, but the upper plate is about 3mm too short. If you don't mind wrapping black electrical tape around the enclosure, it will at least house and protect a 12.mm drive. But not elegant or as advertised.


Areca ARC-8050T2 Thunderbolt 2 RAID 8-Bay Hard Drive Enclosure
Areca ARC-8050T2 Thunderbolt 2 RAID 8-Bay Hard Drive Enclosure
Offered by Oodelay
Price: $1,799.00
2 used & new from $1,799.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING performance and reliability, but some fan noise, May 17, 2014
Based on many good reviews, I bought the Areca 8050T2 (Thunderbolt2 version). Unlike the Thunderbolt1 cabinet, the T2 is not being discounted right now, but I felt the investment was worth it for the performance. Boy am I pleased!

Outfitted with 8 x 4TB Western Digital enterprise-class drives (7200rpm), formatted for RAID5, I'm actually getting BETTER speeds from the Areca array than the built-in PCIe SSD in my new 8-core MacPro (2013 version) - 1035 MB/s write and 975 MB/s read. For comparison, the built-in PCIe SSD gets 935MB/s write and 925 MB/s read. That's REALLY impressive especially given RAID5.

If you're a fan of pretty light shows, the Areca won't disappoint either - especially during its (minute and a half) startup sequence. On the other hand, the LEDs are very bright which may be distracting to some people.

My only complaints are with the fan noise. I guess I've been spoiled for too long from the built-in fans in my prior 2009 MacPro. Starting up, the Areca sounds like a wind tunnel, but after its startup is complete, the fan noise drops to acceptable levels. But any workload raises the fan to a noticeable (but not harsh) level. In my quiet office, this was enough for me to splurge on the Corning 10 meter optical Thunderbolt cable to relocate the unit to another room.

But this brings up a final point that is critical for any RAID enclosure - power failure. Areca offers an optional battery backup unit for the 8050 (part number ARC-6120BA-T021) that you can order from their website for $150 (sometimes discounted). It doesn't keep the unit powered on, but it does protect the write cache for up to 72 hours. Without this backup, if you lose power during a critical write operation, it is possible to lose all data in certain striped RAID configurations (this is true of ANY RAID controller).

Two final tips:
1) the Firmware Update does not work with Safari, although every other configuration does. I ended up successfully updating the firmware with Firefox
2) you MUST install the Areca Driver/Utility in order to use an Optical Thunderbolt cable
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 14, 2014 9:45 AM PDT


Anker® USB 3.0 & eSATA to SATA External Hard Drive Docking Station for 2.5 or 3.5in HDD, SSD [4TB Support]
Anker® USB 3.0 & eSATA to SATA External Hard Drive Docking Station for 2.5 or 3.5in HDD, SSD [4TB Support]
Offered by AnkerDirect
Price: $79.99
12 used & new from $35.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very good USB3 dock, not so much on the eSATA connection, May 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
UPDATED: since I posted my review, Anker's amazing customer service reached out to me, offering to replace the unit. We actually went through two more units before finding one with a reliable eSATA connection. What is interesting - and is noted in the product specifications included with the unit - is that the eSATA connection is actually rated *SLOWER* (3gb/s) than the USB3 connection (5gb/s). So, I am now upgrading my review to a 4-star rating, as long as you have a USB3 port to properly leverage this dock's speed.

First of all, it's tough to beat the price on this dock. And, I was very pleased with its USB3 performance (148MB/s write, 156MB/s read) with my 4TB Seagate Barracuda 5900rpm drive. That's impressive. As long as you have a USB3 port to leverage the maximum speed, you can't beat this dock. The eSATA port (which I had to go through 3 units to find one that worked reliably) is actually rated slower (3gb/s) than the USB3 connection.

If there is any slight criticism of this unit, it is the non-hardened finish of the protective plastic door that is scratched the first time you insert a drive. But that is just a minor cosmetic issue.

For some reason, it's not easy to find a good, reliable external drive dock these days. For almost 2 years my OWC Newer Technology Voyager Q dock was rock-solid through its eSATA and FireWire 800 connections. Based on reviews of that model and its super-high failure rates, I must have been lucky to have mine fail "only" 18 months into use, and outside the warranty replacement timeframe. Thinking that the issues would have been corrected, I ordered the latest (USB3/eSATA/Firewire800) of the Voyager Q only to find it dead-on-arrival with a completely non-working eSATA port.

Enter the Anker USB3/eSATA docking station. For half the price of the Voyager Q you get a super-fast USB3 connection but no FireWire800 port for legacy Macs. But its price and reliability, combined with amazing customer service, are enough for me to rate this a must-buy as long as you have a USB3 port to leverage its speed.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 8, 2014 8:04 PM PDT


Griot's Garage 10982 Bug and Smudge - 22 oz.
Griot's Garage 10982 Bug and Smudge - 22 oz.
Price: $14.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars as good as the best bug removers, but not perfect and expensive, April 25, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Let me start by saying I'm a fan of the Griot's Garage product line. Most of their products (especially their Speed Shine and Paint Cleaning Clay) are the best-in-the-business and especially good value.

That being said, I was pleased with the results of the Griot's Garage Bug and Smudge Remover - but I wasn't blown away. It's far better than most bug removers (Turtle Wax, etc) and really does remove a good portion (not all) of the bugs and tar without hurting your car's clear coat finish. And it has a pleasant, barely-there odor that won't overpower you.

But the Griot's Bug and Smudge remover was no more effective than my go-to bug remover, Lifter1 spray, which is an aerosol can that provides a finer mist (less liquid). And, the Lifter1 is a fraction of the cost of the Griot's Bug and Smudge remover. For the price of Griot's 22oz, I can buy more than three 16-oz cans of Lifter1.


Quartet ReWritables Mini Dry-Erase Markers, Magnetic, Assorted Classic Colors, 6 Pack (51-659312Q)
Quartet ReWritables Mini Dry-Erase Markers, Magnetic, Assorted Classic Colors, 6 Pack (51-659312Q)
Price: $3.52
37 used & new from $0.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great value, but inconsistent quality, March 12, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Like others who have reviewed these, I was already familiar with Quartet ReWriteable mini pens, being included with my small whiteboard. These are small fine-point erasable pens with caps that include a built-in eraser and a magnet for mounting to magnetic whiteboards. I was pleased with the quality of that one black marker, and anticipating having so many more color choices.

Overall, these pens met my expectations, although the yellow color is almost impossible to read (eg. useless) on a white background. In my set of 6 color pens, the purple pen was dull out-of-the-pack writing much thicker than the others.

When you consider the low price and variety, I guess the old saying "you get what you pay for" applies. And it's great to have more color options.


Smead 3 Section SuperTab Folder, Letter Size, Assorted Colors, 12 per Pack (11905)
Smead 3 Section SuperTab Folder, Letter Size, Assorted Colors, 12 per Pack (11905)
Price: $11.03
3 used & new from $9.79

4.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME idea for holding documents in place, but unfortunately all tabs are in the same position, March 12, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Who would have thought that the simple file folder could be improved? Well, Smead has managed to do that and more with their SuperTab folders. The key to these folders is the "lockit tab" that secures documents in place and keeps them from slipping out like traditional folders. These Smead folders are also a bit taller to handle oversized letter documents or photos.

So why not 5 stars? Two reasons: 1) the tabs are all in the same position (far left) so if you're filing these in a cabinet, it's not necessarily easy to see the tab lettering. 2) they cost significantly more than traditional manilla folders - for this price I would have expected a heavier weight / more durable paper. Don't get me wrong, these folders are definitely heavier than your average manilla folder, but they're not as durable as other solutions (eg. plastic finish).


PNY C-H-P10-A06-H 6-Feet HDMI to HDMI Cable (A to A)
PNY C-H-P10-A06-H 6-Feet HDMI to HDMI Cable (A to A)
Price: $3.97
37 used & new from $2.50

5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic super-thin HDMI cable, February 1, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've been carrying a "standard" 6-foot HDMI cable in my laptop bag, and have been used to its bulk.

Based on a review, I took a chance on the PNY cable. WOW what a difference. This cable is high quality, has worked in every device / TV I've tried it on, and takes up 1/3 the space because it's super-thin.


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