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Customer Reviews: 154
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Paul Christensen "gadget geek" RSS Feed (West Chester, PA United States)
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   

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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, SATA-III 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, SATA-III HDD and SSD) Black (EC-TB4P)
Offered by Store4PC
Price: $16.99
8 used & new from $14.25

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

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 Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 27, 2014 7:41 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: $49.99
2 used & new from $32.99

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: Click here to see our price

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
40 used & new from $0.99

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
2 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
38 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.


General Electric WC03X10010 Splash Guard
General Electric WC03X10010 Splash Guard
Offered by PANDORA'S OEM APPLIANCE PARTS
Price: $7.12
6 used & new from $7.12

5.0 out of 5 stars FINALLY! The GE original part, February 1, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
We tried the "universal" splash guard parts at our local home improvement stores (both of them) only to find they were too large for our GE disposal.

Ordering this on Amazon, we were pleased to find it was a perfect fit.


American Standard 8888.035.295 Amarilis 60-Inch Shower Hose for Hand Shower, Satin Nickel
American Standard 8888.035.295 Amarilis 60-Inch Shower Hose for Hand Shower, Satin Nickel
Price: $32.79
12 used & new from $23.31

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars better than Delta OEM original hose, February 1, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
After 5 years, the plastic-covered original hose started failing in our Delta shower faucet. We looked all around for the original Delta part, only to find it discontinued.

Based on reviews, and taking a chance on the photo, I ordered the American Standard 60-inch hose in Satin Nickel finish.

WOW was I surprised! The quality of this all-metal hose is better than the original Delta hose, at a fraction of the replacement cost (had the hose still been available). And, the finish of the American Standard hose actually matches our "Pearl Nickel" finish Delta faucet better than the original Delta hose ever did. We ordered a backup just in case.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 4, 2014 5:06 PM PST


Rowenta DW9081 Steamium Steam Iron with Stainless Steel Soleplate, 1800-watt, Beige
Rowenta DW9081 Steamium Steam Iron with Stainless Steel Soleplate, 1800-watt, Beige
Price: $127.29
14 used & new from $79.99

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars outstanding German-made iron, but not worth the premium over the DW5080, January 27, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We've owned many irons over the years, and the only brand that gives an excellent iron, strong steam, great reliability is the German-made Rowenta lines. Our existing DW5080 has been a workhorse, and a great value considering it is made in Germany, not China like the less-expensive Rowenta models.

Enter the DW9081 "Steamium" line, offering an additional 100watts of heat (1800 vs 1700 in the DW5080), a smart steam level (no need to set the steam (it's produced automatically), up to "30% more" steam, and clear temperature / fabric indicator lights.

Don't get me wrong - this is an outstanding iron. Its stainless steel soleplate glides over any fabric without damage, there are plenty of holes for steam to evenly distribute, and it is heavy for consistent pressing.

The issue for me is that the ironing performance was no better, despite the claims, than our $70 (Amazon price) Rowenta DW5080. In fact, the "Steamium" intelligent steam feature seemed to be just a bit too smart sometimes, not producing the level of steam we would have liked. Perhaps it takes some adjusting after manually setting steam levels for years.

Both the Rowenta DW9081 and DW5080 irons:
- are made in Germany
- have the same stainless steel soleplate
- include pivoting and long power cords
- are notably heavy for even pressing
- produce strong volumes of steam both horizontally and vertically
- have large and easy-to-fill water reservoirs
- include a self-clean feature

For our take, the only real notable benefit of the DW9081 is a clear indicator area at the top of the handle that lights up in green showing the actual fabric setting based on the temperature dial. Is that worth twice the price?


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