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Customer Reviews: 321
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ALEX Toys - ALEX Junior, My Busy Barn, 1998
ALEX Toys - ALEX Junior, My Busy Barn, 1998
Price: $69.47
9 used & new from $53.53

4.0 out of 5 stars Visually pleasing but rather bulky activity barn - I would've made the roof openable to double it as a small toy tote!!, October 20, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A big barn with activities on all sides - a fun toy for toddlers, but is quite large, heavy and takes up a lot of space. This wooden toy is shaped like a bar and has doors that reveal pictures on one side, revolving alphabet cubes on the second side, spinning gears on the third and blocks with a picture (tractor, cow) that slide along a groove on the fourth side. The barn's roof has some pretty pictures and numbers. It is very appealing and appears to be a nice visual sensory object for toddlers. Out two toddlers had loads of fun with the toy and were happy that they could even interact with it standing up.

The complaints we have are that it is rather bulky (taking up lots of space) and we would have liked handles on the spinning gears. The toddlers often try to rotate them by the side and get their little fingers stuck between them. For a box this big (about a foot long and foot tall and 3/4 foot wide!), if the roof can be opened, it would even act as a small toy storage tote.

Concept Board Game
Concept Board Game
Price: $29.37
34 used & new from $25.55

5.0 out of 5 stars Pictionary with out the need to draw! fun-filled activity that brings out your creativity; well-made game pieces too., October 17, 2014
This review is from: Concept Board Game (Toy)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Want to play pictionary w/o drawing, but with some standard symbols and colors for the entire group? That is exactly what 'Concept' is all about. You are given a game board with a set of "icons/symbols". You look at a card that specifies an object, name or phrase etc; You then use a set of colored marker pieces that you place on these icons for your team member (or the group) to identify it. It was amazing to see the level of creativity among your friends/family/kids on how they convey different things. While it appears that you are restricted to the icons on the board, that is what made the game far more interesting in my opinion.

After trying this game with a small group, I can see how this game can be used as a 'breaker' or an afternoon game for a large group during the holidays or weekend gatherings. The "rules" are very simple, but you can make your own rules - for example challenge someone to use the minimum number of pieces to solve like in that Hollywood game show on TV or you can set a timer to solve under a minute etc.

The board pieces are well-made. There are four "code cards" that explain the standard meaning for the icons on the main board. There is even a bowl (not that strong) to pass around the marker pieces. The rules ask you to use victory points to decide who wins the game, but playing the game is far more fun than the actual goal to win the game as there is no strategy or anything.

Overall, an excellent, well-made, creative activity - not so much of a "game". Can be played with a large group and making up some fun rules would make for a pleasurable gathering.

Mega Bloks World Builders NYPD Mobile Command Center
Mega Bloks World Builders NYPD Mobile Command Center
Price: $29.99
4 used & new from $29.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Megabloks might have a long way to go to be a genuine Lego competitor. Packing in ordered bags, would make building easier!, October 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We have "large" building blocks from Megabloks and were excited to see a somewhat less expensive alternative to Legos. Unfortunately, it seems Megabloks has a long way to go to be a genuine competitor to Lego. With the way the different pieces are packaged and the instructions are, I dont think a five year old can put these together. Our 10 yr old go this done in a good amount of time, but still had to open multiple bags and keep track of where to find a particular piece later in the build. Similar Lego items come in bags marked 1,2,3 and so on. You start building with bag 1 and proceed according to the instructions. Here there is no such order.

The final product does look as good as a Lego brand, but the instructions and the way the pieces are packed together in bags make it not so easy ot build these. Perhaps someone who is not used to Lego might find it okay?

Thames and Kosmos Gyrobot-Gyroscopic Robot Kit
Thames and Kosmos Gyrobot-Gyroscopic Robot Kit
Price: $39.99
48 used & new from $36.15

4.0 out of 5 stars Neat gyroscope educational kit, the string-walker robot is very cool; needs a PH000 precision screw driver (battery compartment), October 13, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Given that all smart phones have gyroscopes, this kit is a nice way to introduce the principle to kids. The kit is built around a powerful gyroscope that keeps its balance - abled by a spinning disc powered by three AAA batteries. The very first "experiment/activity" introduces that by asking the kids to hold the gyroscope and gently try to turn in vertical - you can feel the force of the gyro trying to stay level. The other experiments/ activities used "lego" like pieces that are used to build different things around the gyroscope. A balancing robot, airplane, compass, string walking robot (this is probably the coolest one!!) etc. Our 10 yr old loved all the different builds and was excited to try each one out. As pointed out by other reviewers, some of the pieces fit rather strongly and needed to be pulled apart gently using a pair of pliers.

The battery compartment needs a PH000 precision screw driver. So make sure you have one before you begin. The instruction booklet is very informative and provides a nice introduction. Similarly, the instructions for building are very detailed. Our gyro for some reason kept making a screeching noise occasionally and the build would try hard to balance and fall down. At this time, we are not sure why this happens, but it's possible that the disc is hitting something inside the gyro. We will try a few days and then get back to Amazon for a replacement.

Cash N Guns Second Edition
Cash N Guns Second Edition
Price: $30.48
40 used & new from $29.95

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hold-up your "friends" at gun point and share the loot! A fun game for a large group!!, October 13, 2014
This review is from: Cash N Guns Second Edition (Toy)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Want a fun filler game for a large group (up to 8 players, the more the merrier) during game night? You have an excellent one here. In my opinion it would fall in the category of games such as Resistance or Sabateur. The game is about a bunch of crooks splitting the loot through eight rounds of game play. You lay out the loots for the round and then select a click or a bang card (to load your gun with a blank or a real bullet). The godfather for the round (there are rules on how it's selected and usually each player gets a turn) does a count down, and each player chooses another player as target for a hold-up against their portion of the loot. Note that multiple players might choose to target a single player. Now players have the choice to stand-up to being targeted or fold-down (surrender). Then, each player reveals their bang or click card. If you had chosen to fold-down, you give up your rights to sharing the loot for the current round, but you are guaranteed not to get wounded. If you choose to stand-up, you might get wounds depending on how many real bullets were targeting you. If you got wonded in the round, you are not allowed to share the loot for that round either. If you take a total of three wounds you are out of the game. So you want to choose wisely if you want to surrender and not take a wound or gamble that who ever was pointing at you just has a blank and not a real bullet. After that, the player remaining for that round (those that didn't surrender or those that didn't get wounded), would take turns and share the loot.

As expected, the pointing at part of the game was the most exciting and fun when we tried the game out last weekend. There are several power cards as well that give you ways to steal from others or get the first pick or pick something even before the loot sharing begins and so forth. Overall, it is a simple game, fun to play with a large group.

The game pieces are of excellent quality as you would expect in a game from Asmodee. The foam guns are well made and the cards are of very good quality as well. The box is large enough to hold them all for a long time and thougtful of the game maker to also provide a few "ziploc" bags for storing the different game pieces.

One thing I would have liked to have in the game is the ability to form teams. You identify partners and choose not to shoot at them or team-up against the godfather; Remember the game is about crooks - why not have some fun rules like that? :)

SmartLab Toys Room Defender
SmartLab Toys Room Defender
Offered by goHastings
Price: $26.19
6 used & new from $26.19

4.0 out of 5 stars Cool toy! a mechanical switch detects opening/closing of door; program different sound outputs for each input, October 12, 2014
This review is from: SmartLab Toys Room Defender (Toy)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A fun way to teach kids about input and output in programming. The room defender receives different types of inputs (a door bell button, another button that presses against the door frame to sense if the door is open or close, sound input through knocks on the door, key pad input and a very simple mechanical "swipe card" input). It responds with sound outputs depending on what you program. The simplest example offered is if the input is "door bell button", play the door bell sound. Each program has multiple lines and each line can hold a single input and output; you can also have linked inputs and outputs - for example, you can sequentially trigger two outputs for a single input.

The instruction manual is a very good start although there is room for improvement (see below). The mounting instructions are very good and the cardboard guide provided with the room defender is very helpful in properly positioning it. ** This is crucial since the 'door open/close detector button' is just a mechanical trigger that pushes against the door frame when the door is closed. They do provide a little "extension insert" for the button in case you accidentally position it slightly off. Physical installation involved attaching the panel plate to the door using two sided tape stickers (These appear to be quite strong and hold the defender well). Specific plates for flat vs panel doors are provided. After attaching the plate, you can simply slide and click the room defender on to the plate. It is easy to remove it off the plate for changing batteries (needs 3 x AAA) or convenient programming (Overall, very thoughtful!).

Programming is rather simple and fairly intuitive. Select an input and corresponding output for each line; save the program and run it. There are a total of 18 programs, the machine can store. However, you can run only one program at a time. The only thing I would have liked to see in the instruction manual is a simple list of all possible inputs and all possible outputs with a bit of explanation about each one. This will allow the kids to get rather creative and generate additional combinations outside of the examples given in the manual.

The various sound outputs include standard sounds preprogrammed as well as recordable messages of your own (allows the kids to get quite creative). So, instead of simply playing the door bell sound, you can play a message if someone pushes the door bell button. Similarly, if someone opens the door, you can play a creepy door opening sound or a message such as "Enter if you dare, muahahahaha...".

There is also an alarm routine where the door is "armed" and if open with out a specific input (say a key pad entry, a specific swipe card - three of them provided), the alarm would sound. Of course, one can still open the door and enter inside - not a real "defender", may an annoying deterrent. The message flashing pattern tells the "owner" that some intruder entered w/o authentication. What is cool is you can set multiple entry codes and program custom outputs for each one. For example, a code for mom or dad can specifically greet them and a swipe card for the little sister/brother can specifically greet them or play a sound.

Our 10 yr old was very excited about this - practically installed it himself (I just needed to help hold the back plate in place for the stickers to work well). He tried a few example programs in the instructions and then started doing some custom outputs for me and my wife and a few others. Alas, the dog did not have a means of input :)

All programming needs a three digit security code that you set when you initially start the unit. You need it to edit different programs or run a specific program. So, it is "secure". One improvement we would like to see is some backlight (the LCD is hard to read in low light), and perhaps volume control for the speaker - some sounds effects are rather loud.

Spin Master Games - Shark Mania Board Game
Spin Master Games - Shark Mania Board Game
Price: $19.99
11 used & new from $16.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun game with little strategy; Nice action of bridge segments getting popped up by the shark; Recommended for 4-6 yr olds!, October 5, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
After rolling the dice, the kids (playing pirates!) have to decide if they choose to move that many steps or pick up that many coins. Well, There is a shark on their tail and they are not safe until they reach the island from the ship wreck. It's definitely a fun game for young kids with very little strategy involved.

The pieces are nicely done and you need a long table - dining table - or a smooth floor (doesn't do well or carpet or rug) to assemble the game. There are two long bridge units made of little segments that connect your ship wreck to the island. Once you push start, a spring-loaded shark moves through the bridge segments (you just see the fin) - actually popping each bridge piece as it moves. If your pirate is still on that piece, he literally gets knocked off the game! That's why as soon as you roll the dice, you have to make the call to move or collect coins as the shark is 'chasing' you.

It's a four player game and the dice faces have 1,2,3,4,4 & 5 (No six). The one thing you have really insist is for the kids to be fast in making the decision and passing the dice to the next player. The most fun part is the shark actually moving through while popping open the bridge segments. In two places, a dock between the two bridge units and close to the island, the shark's head also pops up. The kids love that! So for young kids, there is definitely quite a bit of replay value. The box states 6+ for age - actually in our case, it was more like 4+ (Couple of 7 yr olds we played with got a bit bored after a few rounds; One reason could be that we play lots of board games and they are exposed to ones with more strategy involved).

Update: After playing it a few times, if you play with small kids you have to consider that the shark moves rather fast! They have to be super quick. With four players (two four yr olds), we had no time to pick coins; we're all on the run! It's a bit of a pain to store the assembled units back in the box. However, the shark chase is still fun and older kids we played with purposely let the pirates fly off on a shark pop!!

Thermatek Heated Memory Foam Travel Pillow, Black, One Size
Thermatek Heated Memory Foam Travel Pillow, Black, One Size
Price: $24.99
2 used & new from $24.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Very comfortable; the single use heat packs (go up against the back of your neck) are great; bu the plush cover is a dust magnet, October 3, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have always longed for good quality travel pillows for long car rides or long flights. This pillow made with memory foam covered by a smooth velvet plush is perfect for my neck. I tried it on a two hour car ride which is not much, but I could feel the difference well. It comes with two single-use 'air-activated heat packs' that you can insert in to the pillow - they would be right against the back of your neck. These are similar to the thermapacks you might have used to relieve knee or elbow pain. Initially the packs were a bit too hot for my comfort, but after a while it was okay. I did put the pillow behind my shirt collar. The heat packs cost little over a dollar each.

The one issue I had with the pillow was that the plush cover attracts a ton of dust and is not so easy to clean. Actually, just off the pack, it has little cardboard pieces stuck to it from the packing. We had to brush them off before use. The dust was obvious with the black pillow we got - may be they are less visible with other colors, but the issue is not visibility, but cleanliness.

Belkin HDMI to HDMI Cable for FireTV and other HDMI-Enabled Devices (6 Feet / 1.8 Meters)
Belkin HDMI to HDMI Cable for FireTV and other HDMI-Enabled Devices (6 Feet / 1.8 Meters)
Price: $12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Well constructed high quality cable - So thick it lifts/moves the Fire TV - ultra HD/4k perhaps an overkill for most devices?, October 3, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A ultra HD 4K HDMI cable for Fire TV? Perhaps an overkill at this point. However, since this was specifically advertised for Fire TV, we thought we would test it out. This HDMI cable is indeed well constructed. It is so thick that it is not as flexible as other cables such as the Amazon basics one. The problem is it lifts up or moves the light weight (10oz) Fire TV box - perhaps would do the same for other light weight ones such as as Roku TV too.

The cable came well-packed with protectors on both ends. It worked well with different devices we tested (Laptop, Wii and Xbox 360).

LaGila Golf Wipes 18 Pre-Moistened Double-Sided Cleaning Wipes Pouch for Your Golf Balls and Clubs, Green/White
LaGila Golf Wipes 18 Pre-Moistened Double-Sided Cleaning Wipes Pouch for Your Golf Balls and Clubs, Green/White
Price: $6.95

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Neat wipes, decent size with one rought side, work very well in cleaning the club face; Strong smell might be a negative, October 1, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
How often have you gotten your ball in a rough spot and even a good shot brings a bunch of mud with it? Well. With me even with a good lie, I sometimes dig a few inches before the ball and end up with a chunk of it. These golf wipes are handy in cleaning the club face (or even the ball - not legal in the middle of the round if you care). They are ~6 x 8 inches and one side is slightly rough to work through the club face. They come in a resealable pack. The sealable lid is thick and quite strong - So no worries about it getting open and allowing the wipes to dry.

The wipes contain water, isopropanol, butoxyethanol, ammonia, Sodium laureth sulphate and sandalwood fragrance. So, there is pretty good cleaning power even with some dry stuff (I tried it on my 4 iron which I dont use often and hence had some dry mud and green stains on the club face). The ammonia does smell strong sometimes especially if you use it indoors to clean; So beware of that. Because of that reason, you may not want to get too much of these wipes on your skin either. One issue I had using it right after hitting was keeping them until you find a garbage bin - (the strong smell). I use it in the tee boxes and dispose of right away - that way I can also clean more than one club with a single piece of wipe.

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