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Fire TV Stick
Fire TV Stick
Price: $39.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Living Room Video Streaming Device, November 22, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Fire TV Stick (Electronics)
When Google's Chromecast appeared a little over a year ago, I thought this was a definitive game changer when it comes to accessing video content on your TV. Here was a small, inexpensive stick that you just plug into one of your TV's HDMI ports, and you can immediately stream almost any video content from almost any device. Unfortunately, the reality turned out to be more prosaic, and Chromecast suffered from many of the same issues that plagued all the other devices that tried to make your TV "smart" - various content restrictions, inability to easily access many of your own media files, lack of third-party support, etc. Since then there have been many Chromecast imitators, but most of them turned out to be pale copies of the original. However, with fireTV Stick Amazon has probably launched the most serious challenge to Chromecast to date. fireTV Stick is a really neat little device, but unfortunately it falls short of Chromecast or any other serious contender for the full Smart TV experience.

**** Content of the Box ****

fireTV Stick is a small HDMI stick. Other contents of the box include short male-to-female HDMI extender cable, micro USB cable, USB charger (5V, 1A), remote, two AAA batteries, and a small user manual.

**** Setup ****

You'll need a free HDMI port on your TV, and a nearby outlet for the USB charger. I ended up using one of the USB ports on my TV instead. They work fine for this purposes, and this setup helps with the cable clutter around my TV. During the software setup I got several warning messages about this, but decided to ignore them and have not had any issues with charging the fireTV Stick this way.

The remote runs on two AAA batteries. Neither the remote nor the Stick have any on/off buttons. The remote doesn't use IR signal to communicate with the Stick, so they don't need to be in a line of sight with each other in order to work properly.

The setup immediately recognized the remote. It searched for a network, and once it found it, it tried to get software updates. This was the most annoying part of the setup - I got fireTV Stick on the very first day that it was available and it already needed an update. I really think that any updates should have been left for a later stage. Once it was updated and ready to run it accessed my Amazon account. I did not have to provide any personal info - it was already set up for my account. This is one of my favorite things about getting Amazon branded products - they already know me! ☺

**** Navigation and Content ****

fireTV Stick has a pretty nice user interface. It is very slick, smooth, and easy to get around. I was immediately able to access my entire Prime content (saved movies to watch, etc.). Recently I also signed up for Amazons cloud photo storage, and I was pleased to see all of my uploaded photos and videos immediately available for browsing. Unfortunately, accessing them turned out to be extremely slow and cumbersome, and I quickly gave up on browsing my photo library. This is definitely one area where I hope to see a lot of improvement in the upcoming months.

fireTV Stick also offers a lot of fun little games that can be played with the remote, or with the optional (not included) Amazon game controller. Unfortunately, playing games with the remote turned out to be awkward, and the response time was really slow. Playing games where fast reflexes are essential is out of question.

**** Video ****

This is probably the best part of fireTV Stick. It offers you a pretty standard assortment of Video playing apps - Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Vimeo, etc. Unsurprisingly, the Amazon Prime Video integration is very smooth and well executed. Video playback is extremely smooth and without any buffering issues that I've seen with the other apps. The HD picture quality is really impressive, as good as anything I've seen in that space.

**** The Remote ****

The remote is pretty simple and easy to use. It is fairly elegantly designed. However, it is a bit too responsive - I kept skipping two or three spaces when I just wanted a single click. As far as I know there is no way to adjust the responsiveness of the remote. Instead of the directional arrows the remote features a small clickable circle that is reminiscent of the original iPod. Unfortunately, you cannot use that circle to quickly scroll though the lists and menus.

**** The Power Supply/Charger ****

The power supply is a bit awkwardly shaped. It looks like a flattened Apple iOS device charger. It works fine, but because of its shape and the fact that the USB port is on the side it can be a bit hard to use with a power strip that already has several other devices plugged in.

**** Conclusion ****

If your current TV doesn't support any of the online streaming options (Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube, Netflix, etc.) and yet it has HDMI ports than getting fireTV Stick would be a worthwhile purchase. However, if you already own a "smart" TV then you already have most if not all of the main selling points that fireTV Stick offers in its current state. Nonetheless, I am confident that Amazon will keep improving the Stick experience, and I fully expect its usefulness only to increase in the coming months and years.
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Scented, Natural Soy Wax Candles. Burns Clean, Even, and True-To-Scent for Hours. Perfect as a gift, or for your own home. Hand-poured in the USA. "FALL HARVEST" themed gift set of 3 different 2 ounce candles. Includes Pumpkin Spice, Cranberry, and Autumn Leaves.
Scented, Natural Soy Wax Candles. Burns Clean, Even, and True-To-Scent for Hours. Perfect as a gift, or for your own home. Hand-poured in the USA. "FALL HARVEST" themed gift set of 3 different 2 ounce candles. Includes Pumpkin Spice, Cranberry, and Autumn Leaves.
Offered by Red Rover Naturals
Price: $25.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Small Candles, November 22, 2014
These are some of the most beautiful and well made scented candles that I've come across. Each set of candles comes with three different small 2 oz candles. Candles and the little jars are well made and beautifully crafted. The candles burn cleanly and their scent is pretty strong. I am not sure how long each of them will last, but I've been using them for many hours each day and so far they have held up. 20 hours advertised burn lifetime seems consistent with my experience. I like the particular set that I got (Fall Harvest), but I am sure that other scent combinations are also pretty good. These candles make a great gift idea.

**** Product provided for review purposes. ****


Pelonis Electric Radiator Heater
Pelonis Electric Radiator Heater
Offered by MONTYONLINE
Price: $40.99
8 used & new from $29.79

4.0 out of 5 stars Decent Small Area Heater, November 22, 2014
This review is from: Pelonis Electric Radiator Heater
I just got one of these a few weeks ago. Like most other reviewers I got my from Walmart - it was pretty cheap, less than half the price of some other heaters out there, and at $38 even cheaper than the Amazon price. I figured at that price point I can afford to give it a try, and if it stops working then I can replace it or even just throw it away.

The heater is pretty compact and easy to set up. It worked just out of the box. It emits a mildly unpleasant odor that has still not completely gone away after weeks of use.

I am using this heater for a small sunroom that I have thermally insulated and converted to a workshop. I am still relying mostly on my home's central heating to be the main source of heat for that room, but a small heater like this one really makes a difference. This morning I had turned it on while the room was still insulated from the rest of the house, and with the outside temperature in high 40s it managed to heat up the room to pretty pleasant high 60s. From my experience the heater makes a big difference all the way down to the outside temperatures in low 30s, but becomes increasingly less effective as the temperatures go well bellow the freezing.

So far I have not had any mechanical or safety issues with the heater. I am keeping the box it came in just in case though. I figured if it gets me thought this winter without any major issues than it will be money well spend.


iMBAPrice® 5V DC Wall Power Adapter - 5.5 x 2.1 mm plug 2A(2000mA) UL Listed Power Supply
iMBAPrice® 5V DC Wall Power Adapter - 5.5 x 2.1 mm plug 2A(2000mA) UL Listed Power Supply
Offered by Amamax (USA Seller)
Price: $7.99
2 used & new from $7.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Good Power Supply, November 21, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I got a couple of these power adapters for my Parallella micro computers. They work exactly as advertised, and so far I have not had any issues with them. They are well made and look exactly like all the other standard adapters of this kind. I do wish that someone made an adapter of this kind that looks more like on of the small square Apple USB power adapters. Their compact shape makes them ideal to be used with extended power strips that accommodate several power supplies at once. This design is a bit awkward to work with for those purposes.

The power supply was shipped from a third party seller, and not handled through Amazon. The shipping was slower than what I am used to with Amazon, but definitely still acceptable.


Transcend 16 GB Class 4 microSDHC Flash Memory Card TS16GUSDHC4
Transcend 16 GB Class 4 microSDHC Flash Memory Card TS16GUSDHC4
Offered by cellmore4less, llc.
Price: Click here to see our price
95 used & new from $7.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Little Card, November 21, 2014
I have used micro SD cards for years. They are still the most convenient external storage solution for smartphones and other small electronic cameras. A micro SD card like this one that comes with an SD adapter is also a great way to transfer your files form the card to a proper computer.

I've gotten several of these Transcend micro SD cards, and have used for several purposes. One of them I use with the included adapter inside my Canon DSLR camera. It's good way of having the flexibility of directly transferring the photos you take either to the computer or to an Android phone/tablet. The speed of the card is pretty good for my purposes, including shooting HD video.

The second card I use with my Polaroid Cube camera. It's a small action camera that can shoot proper HD footage. Again, the Transcend micro SD card performed as advertised.

Finally, I use the third card as the primary file storage for my Parallella micro computer. I was able to install a full version of Ubuntu operating system on it and run a whole computer from one of these cards. That is pretty incredible.

I was also impressed with the packaging for this card. It is incredibly easy to open, and the inside packaging doubles as a storage case for the card and the adapter. This comes in really handy - micro SD cards are incredibly easy to lose.


Learn About the United States: Quick Civics Lessons for the Naturalization Test, July 2014
Learn About the United States: Quick Civics Lessons for the Naturalization Test, July 2014
by Citizenship and Immigration Services (U.S.)
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Good Resource, November 21, 2014
Well organized and informative booklet. It provides you with all the possible questions that could appear on the US citizenship test. It provides answers, together with variations on those. Each question also has an accompanying paragraph that explains in more detail the background behind that particular concept/idea. Most questions are pretty straightforward, and if you have lived in the US long enough and are familiar with the US politics, culture and history you should be able to learn this material without much trouble. In most cases you can just concentrate on the questions and the answers. The booklet comes with an accompanying audio CD with all the questions and answers vocalized. The read questions and answers are pretty monotonous, but this is a good exercise to have in order to prepare you for the actual verbal test that you will take. I wish the brochure also came with a CD ROM or at least a website link with a possible multiple choice practice test - this could also help with the learning process.


AomeTech Mini Stereo Wireless Bluetooth Hands Free Headsets Headphones for Iphone-White
AomeTech Mini Stereo Wireless Bluetooth Hands Free Headsets Headphones for Iphone-White
Offered by AomeTech
Price: $13.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Decent Small Bluetooth Headset, November 20, 2014
There are many mono wireless headsets around, and most of them do a decent job of helping you communicate via your cell phone. However, I am in general not too keen on using them as they tend to have an inferior sound quality as compared to the wired headsets.

This AomeTech is one of the better designed and convenient headsets that I’ve come across. The headset was easy to pair up with my iPhone 4S. The controls are well made, but they are not the most accessible controls around. This is probably due in no small measure to the fact that this headset is fairly small. Its size, however, is overall a plus – the headset is very lightweight and comfortable. The soft earpieces also greatly contribute to the overall comfort level. The around-the-ear attachment keeps the headset firmly in place, and even with some jerky head action it did not fall off.

The overall signal quality for this headset is decent. The sound is not as clear and sharp as with a wired headset, but I was able to have numerous conversations with it without any serious side effects. The best of all, people on the other side of the line did not have any issues either.

Perhaps the biggest selling point of this headset is its price. It is a very affordable headset, and there are not many that can compete with it in terms of price. I would recommend it to all budget minded shoppers, as well as to people who are like me and lose these small gadgets too often to justify buying a really high end device.

**** Product provided for review purposes. ****


Avantree Audition Wireless Bluetooth 4.0 Headphones with Microphone and audio line input, over the ear design, NFC easy pairing technology, up to 40hrs music time, supports iPad, iPhone, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 plus, Samsung Tab, Samsung galaxy note 3/note2/S5/S4, Google nexus 5/4 and any other Bluetooth enabled audio devices - Black/Red
Avantree Audition Wireless Bluetooth 4.0 Headphones with Microphone and audio line input, over the ear design, NFC easy pairing technology, up to 40hrs music time, supports iPad, iPhone, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 plus, Samsung Tab, Samsung galaxy note 3/note2/S5/S4, Google nexus 5/4 and any other Bluetooth enabled audio devices - Black/Red
Offered by Gadgetsville.
Price: $59.99
40 used & new from $38.26

5.0 out of 5 stars Very Nice Midrange Bluetooth Headphones, November 20, 2014
These are very slick looking and affordable over-the-ear headphones. Overall I am pretty happy with them, but they do have their limitations. Here are some of my impressions.

The headphones fit fairly comfortably and securely on my head, and seem to be capable of giving a good fit for most head sizes. The headband spring mechanism is not as finely balanced as some other “double-headband” designs that I’ve seen, and hence they feel a bit tight. The headphones are well-padded and soft on the ears. They are comfortable enough for several hours worth of music listening, although all over-the-ear headphones that I had ever tested felt uncomfortably hot on my ears after two to three hours. I think this is one of the few advantages that in-ear headphones still have.

I found the sound quality of these headphones to be very pleasing and well balanced. The low notes were rich and filling, while the high ones were pretty crisp and clear sounding. I listened to classical, pop, and some techno music on Pandora with my iPhone, as well as to several iTunes songs that I had. All of them sounded very good. The sound quality is a noticeable, albeit not a dramatic, improvement over the Rokit Bluetooth headphones that I've been using. It’s still not as impressive as some other high-end headphones that I had tested, but it’s more than satisfying for my listening needs. I consider myself a casual music listener, and don’t spend an inordinate amount of time listening to music during my day. Nonetheless, I do appreciate high quality sound, and these headphones satisfy my need.

One of the best features of these headphones is the three-way connectivity: Bluetooth, audio cable, and NFC. I don' have an NFC-enabled phones, but the other connectivity modes worked great with it. The Bluetooth is very convenient when you don't want to be physically tethered to your audio source, although it doesn't have too much of a range. I've been able to sue it around the house and it worked fine for me. The cabled connection will help you with the battery life, and in my opinion it also sounds a tad bit clearer. The headphones were also easy to charge, but this will mean that you have to be more cognizant of their battery life than with the regular "passive" headphones.

I really wish that these headphones would be foldable. They don’t come with a rigid carrying case, and a foldable design would greatly improve their portability.

The headphones use "passive" noise canceling, which essentially means that they rely on their shape and cushioning to block external sounds from reaching your ears. This works well enough for my needs, but if noise canceling is a priority for you than you might want to invest in some of the higher end active noise canceling headphones.

Overall, I really like these headphones and intend to use them as one of my main headphones from now on.

**** Product provided for review purposes. ****


Avantree Sacool Universal Heavy Bass In-Ear Design Noise Isolating Bluetooth Headphones with Pouch for Wireless Music Streaming-Black/Green.
Avantree Sacool Universal Heavy Bass In-Ear Design Noise Isolating Bluetooth Headphones with Pouch for Wireless Music Streaming-Black/Green.
Price: $34.99
15 used & new from $23.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Pair of Workout Headphones, November 20, 2014
Over the past few years I’ve become a bit of an expert on Bluetooth wireless headsets. They seem an almost ideal way of listening to music or making the phone calls. The Bluetooth headsets are ideal for workouts: compact, unobtrusive, and very functional. I have gone through at least five MOTOROKR S9 and MotoROKR S9-HD headsets, four different Jabra Bluetooth headsets, and several headsets from smaller manufacturers, all of which shared one common major shortcoming: they were not sweat-proof and inevitably stopped working after less than a year of use.

In terms of functionality, my favorite Bluetooth headsets are the stereo sport variety kinds. They are extremely compact and ideally suited for what I primarily use headphones for these days: listening to music while working out. This Avantree Sacool headset falls in that category. It is a decent headset with a few attractive features, but it still has its share of shortcomings. Here are some of my impressions:

Pros:

– Lightweight and compact. These are the most lightweight bluetooth stereo headphones that I’ve ever come across. While they are in my ears I can hardly notice that they are there.

– Great price. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better deal on stereo Bluetooth headphones anywhere. Sure, you can try getting some of the cheap knockoffs on eBay (and I had gone down that route before), but chances are none of those will really work. Or will work for about a week before they completely break down.

– Decent sound. I really don’t have very high expectations from the exercise headphones when it comes to the quality of sound. I just need the beat to be fairly strong and the music not to be “muddy.” These headphones satisfy on both accounts.

– Easy pairing. I’ve paired them with my iPhone without any issues.

– Quick charging. It took me a couple of hours to get them fully charged.

Cons:

– Short cord. The cord that connects the two headphones and keeps them together is very short. It is adjustable, but even at its longest extension it is just barely long enough to have these headphones wrap around my head.

– Very loose fit. I tried wrapping them around my ears as shown in instructions, but even still they keep coming out constantly while I am running. They are slightly better for the types of exercise that don’t require a lot of fast motion.

– Very small and inconspicuous buttons. Those are really hard to reach and press properly, especially while exercising.

This could be a really great headset if they addressed some of these issues that I’ve pointed out. Even so, for the price there are very few headsets that can compete with these in terms of overall value.

**** Product provided for review purposes. ****


VKNIVES® 440 Stainless Steel 11" Double Edged Dark Assassin Dagger w/ Sheath
VKNIVES® 440 Stainless Steel 11" Double Edged Dark Assassin Dagger w/ Sheath
Offered by Airsoft Joe
Price: $3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Kick-A** Dagger, November 20, 2014
I am not someone who is all that into the knives, medieval accessories, or similar artifacts. However, even I am really impressed with this stainless steel dagger. It feels very solid and dangerously sharp. Really sharp. I've used it to cut a few items around the house, as well as stab a pumpkin or two. They were no match for this dagger. The dagger makes a really cool envelope opener and paper cutter, but it's an overkill for those purposes.

The overall build quality of this dagger is OK. There are several asymmetrical and otherwise not well crafted metal parts, but you have to look closely to see them. The plastic parts are a bit more problematic, especially where they are joined onto the metal parts. The sheet in particular can easily be taken apart. This is not that much of an issue if you just plan on keeping this dagger on display. The red faux-velvet holding case looks nice and compliments the dagger well. It's an overall pretty nice and inexpensive artifact to have on display in a curio. Just make sure it's far away from the reach of children.

**** Product provided for review purposes. ****
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 22, 2014 6:21 AM PST


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