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Customer Reviews: 354
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Helpful Votes: 1200


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Robert Stone RSS Feed (Midwest / Ohio)
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GOAL ZERO 22008 Venture 30 Power Pack
GOAL ZERO 22008 Venture 30 Power Pack
Price: $99.99
7 used & new from $98.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Rugged Charger, July 27, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We got this a few days ago in the Vine program (review completed in exchange for product) and planned to give it a workout on a cross country flight. Surprisingly, the iPad and iPhone batteries lasted a lot longer than expected so it did not get much of a workout but it works well topping off charges. It is nice to have power to spare especially with the lack of availability of charger stations which actually work at airports and on planes.

The product has a very robust design and will be going with us on several upcoming campouts. I have not subjected it to water exposure yet but that will likely happen at some point as on campouts stuff getting wet just happens! It has a VERY bright light array good for emergencies or lighting up the inside of a tent.

The connecter between the USB plugs (of 2 types) doubles as a charger cable in a clever way. I would love to see a version with one end being a lightning cable!

Overall, nice design and works well.


Belkin MFi Certified 4-Foot Flat Lightning to USB Charge Sync Cable for iPhone 6 / 6 Plus, iPhone 5 / 5S /5c and iPod touch 5th Gen (Red)
Belkin MFi Certified 4-Foot Flat Lightning to USB Charge Sync Cable for iPhone 6 / 6 Plus, iPhone 5 / 5S /5c and iPod touch 5th Gen (Red)
Price: $19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Works Well, July 22, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a nice cable, works well. Bright color and flat configuration are nice features. I got this cable for free with the Vine in exchange for the review and looking at the present price point just south of a "Jackson" unless you are in love with the color and flat nature there are certainly cheaper alternatives out there. I'll give this 5 stars since it does what it is supposed to but taking price into consideration it may well merit 4 or even 3 stars for those on a budget.

Sort of weird they copied my review for one cable to another - but they do both work, one of the ones I got is red and the other is blue.


Motorola Talkabout T460 Rechargeable Two-Way Radio Pair (Dark Blue)
Motorola Talkabout T460 Rechargeable Two-Way Radio Pair (Dark Blue)
Price: $79.76
6 used & new from $67.80

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Well Built With Limitations..., July 19, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I got this set for free through the Vine program as noted - and as with all my reviews for the purposes of the review I enter the mindset of having paid the current retail price. I actually like these quite a bit and would have rated them 4 stars - except for the ridiculous range estimates which don't stand up to real world testing I did for this review.

The "unboxing" experience left a lot to be desired. The packaging is very heavy molded plastic - I used some bandage scissors to open it up, almost like doing surgery! I have no idea why the thrown-away plastic is of such a high gauge; it was the opposite of Amazon Frustration Free Packaging. After at least 3 minutes (not kidding) I was able to liberate the radios and chargers. I popped the rechargeable batteries in (after removing 2 more layers of plastic from them) and then plugged in the units to their USB chargers. That was in the late afternoon and when I checked the next morning they were still charging. After somewhere around 20 hours they were fully charged / the indicators stopped blinking. It is a bit odd that the case has charge points for a charging cradle which I assumed was available but per the accessories insert sheet in the package the charge cradle is not compatible with the T460 model which I received. Very strange.

The units themselves are VERY solidly built - feels like a professional grade unit. The instructions are straightforward and I set them up on a channel which allows higher power and put the privacy code in. I went through the menus and enabled vibration alert. I then tested them out with my wife and they worked well in the house. As others have noted the volume is quite low even at "full blast." If the amp in This Is Spinal Tap went up to an 11, these go up to maybe a 7.

So, on to the field test. I took one of our dogs for a walk up a biking path near where we live. It is located down a pretty steep hill from our house and our house is surrounded (of course) by other houses and also by trees. My son stayed at home moving from an upper floor bedroom initially to a more real-world spot (of course in front of a computer playing Minecraft). The location in the house did not seem to matter much. We are in a residential neighborhood which is well connected - my computer at this moment is detecting 5 computer networks in addition to my own in the pouring rain / usually I can detect 7-10.

So, the results: Reliable back and forth voice communication distance was about 900 feet (0.17 miles). We got some intermittent signal out to about 3,125 feet (0.6 miles) - the unit would detect a signal and buzz but voice communication / conveying meaning was not possible. So, not the 2 mile neighborhood range as advertised.

Pros:
High Quality Construction / Great Build Quality, Especially The Volume / On / Off Switch
Easy to Set Up
Rechargeable Batteries Included
Can use 3 AA Batteries (Eneloops work best)
Weather Radio Built In
Flashlight

Cons:
Limited Range in Neighborhood
No Charge Dock (and apparently not available as addon)
Long Charge Time
Soft Volume

Overall I actually like these a lot - they lose a star for the many minor cons and another for the 2 mile range claim. I plan to use them on upcoming Honor Flight missions (taking WWII and Korean War veterans to Washington to see their memorials) to connect with the group and for that I am sure they will work great.


Chesapeake Bay Candle Heritage Collection Large Glass Jar Candle with Lid, Blood Orange
Chesapeake Bay Candle Heritage Collection Large Glass Jar Candle with Lid, Blood Orange
Price: $20.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Nice Candle!, July 13, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This candle arrived today and gets the seal of approval from my wife! As I write this the candle is lit and looks nice with the frosted glass of the container. It smells nice as well and is large enough for last a long time.


Kelty Dualist 0 Degree Sleeping Bag - Regular
Kelty Dualist 0 Degree Sleeping Bag - Regular
Price: $199.95
8 used & new from $199.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Very Nice!, July 12, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a product review of a free product - as with all my Vine reviews I review it in the mindset of paying the current full price. We have two kids and camp often - including over the fall and winter months - with Y-Tribe / Guides and Cub Scouts so when this became available on the Vine I grabbed it since we plan more cold weather camping and my wife does not have a high-quality sleeping bag like the one I have from years ago. That bag has served me well since a dino dig in Montana in 1990. Anyway, now that we have this she has a better sleeping bag than I do! This is a very nice bag, very comfortable with easy pull zippers and a stuff sack included. I did not have any problems stuffing the bag into the sack - although it came rolled from previous experience you can never roll them tight enough to get the bag back in the container that way - just stuff it! Vine now requires reviews within 30 days and as it is summer I was not able to fully assess it's cold-weather performance. Traveling to South America or asking the local Kroger's if I can sleep in their freezer seemed like a bit of overkill for a review so I did not take either of those step. What I did do was stretch it out on my couch and climb in for a while. A VERY short while it turns out, it is a well insulated bag! I can also confirm it is down. How do I know? We have 2 golden retrievers in the family and as I unpacked the bag they obviously smelled the down and registered their approval! I am just shy of 6 feet and the bag was very comfortable with a nice hood.

Overall, highly recommended.


Optrix by Body Glove Pro Kit for iPhone 6
Optrix by Body Glove Pro Kit for iPhone 6
Price: $169.95
2 used & new from $159.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Turns Your iPhone Into A High Adventure Camera!, July 11, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Length:: 3:22 Mins

Video review of the Optrix Pro iPhone 6 case by BodyGlove. I received this product in return for the review but for the purposes of the review assumed that I paid the current price for the product. As an advanced amateur photographer my main concern is picture quality and that is what this review concentrates on. My main camera is a Canon 5D mark III and main lens is a 24-70 f2.8 "L" lens so I'm pretty picky about PQ. But sometimes you just can't bring a big monster like the 5D with you and I've been impressed with how far the iPhone cameras have come. This case both protects the iPhone and allows expanded utility with several interchangeable lenses. I did note quite a bit of distortion toward the corners with the wide angle lens and nearly docked a star for that but I was still impressed with the product enough to rate it 5 stars. I have not had it underwater yet as I just got it a few days ago but from the very high quality feel of the construction - actually much better build quality compared to some waterproof cameras I own - have no doubt about the ability of it to keep the iPhone dry.

Pros:
Very well made, solid construction.
Multiple interchangeable lenses.
Easy to place on and remove from iPhone.
Much better sound quality than usually seen with a waterproof case.

Cons:
Bulky especially with attachment point on the back which works with optional accessories.
Significant distortion near corners on wide angle lens.
Front Camera does not work with case in place (for me this is very minor issue, for some it may be significant).

Overall, highly recommended.


V-LIGHT Traditional Style CFL Banker's Desk Lamp with Green Glass Shade (VS688029AB)
V-LIGHT Traditional Style CFL Banker's Desk Lamp with Green Glass Shade (VS688029AB)
Price: $49.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Nicely Made Lamp, July 10, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a well made lamp, very solid feeling with a well weighted base which does not move when the cord is pulled to turn on the lamp. I have a banker's lamp from another company which is fine but this one is much nicer and will serve to light a desk area for kids to do their homework.

Overall, highly recommended.


Sharpie Extreme Permanent Markers, 4-Pack, Black (1927436)
Sharpie Extreme Permanent Markers, 4-Pack, Black (1927436)
Offered by Clothe Co.
Price: $12.99
2 used & new from $10.76

5.0 out of 5 stars Sharpie - Still the Standard, July 8, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I first learned about Sharpie markers back in the 1980s getting autographs from baseball players at card shows. It was the marker everyone used for that and after making the switch I've never gone back to the others (if they even still exist - I vaguely remember "Marks-a-lot" - always reminded me of King Arthur / Camelot). Anyway, not much to say about these that has not been said already. The usual version is quite permanent and these are supposed to be even better. So far, they work great. I have not done formal fade tests - we have used them on some stuff which will get sun so if there are any issues, I'll post an update. Knowing Sharpie, I doubt that will happen!


Belkin Apple MFi-Certified 2.4 Amp MIXIT 4-Foot Premium Metallic Lightning to USB ChargeSync Cable for iPhone 6 / 6 Plus, iPhone 5 / 5S / 5c, iPod touch 5th Gen and iPod nano 7th Gen (Gray)
Belkin Apple MFi-Certified 2.4 Amp MIXIT 4-Foot Premium Metallic Lightning to USB ChargeSync Cable for iPhone 6 / 6 Plus, iPhone 5 / 5S / 5c, iPod touch 5th Gen and iPod nano 7th Gen (Gray)
Price: $27.61

5.0 out of 5 stars Nice cable, seems well made, June 27, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've been using this cable for a week or so and it works well. It seems that it is built more sturdily than the typical cable with a sore to mesh of metal around it. Maybe it is like the metal-sourrouding on hoses for washers which I understand really does not help much but it seems more solid to me.

I'll rate it 5 stars for now and return if there are any issues of durability long term.


Linksys AC1200 Amplify Dual Band High-Power Wi-Fi Range Extender with Intelligent Spot Finder Technology and AC Pass Thru (RE6700)
Linksys AC1200 Amplify Dual Band High-Power Wi-Fi Range Extender with Intelligent Spot Finder Technology and AC Pass Thru (RE6700)
Price: $118.22
33 used & new from $100.75

3.0 out of 5 stars Hardware may be great, Documentation Limited, June 27, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Well, I finally had a chance to install this product - I did so after reading some of the other reviews and learning that any repeater like this does effectively halve your bandwidth which certainly makes sense. I therefore planned to install it and wire it to a nearby Ethernet outlet as a direct extension of my network rather than in repeater mode. Apparently the unit can do that although instructions on how to do so are not easy to find. Included in my box was only the 2 page Quick Start guide and looking online there is an FAQ but I could not find a true full manual - although the quick start guide gives a download support site for that the page does not exist (at least as of this writing).

I was also less than impressed with the ease of setup, or rather re-setup. I linked the unit quickly to my "guest" network since the password on that is less lengthy than for my primary network. That was a mistake as it is very difficult to un-link it. Yes, I tried holding the reset button for 10 seconds but it would not reset until I connected it to the computer via ethernet and in the menu selected to restore to factory settings.

Anyway, I'll give it 3 stars for now in the hopes that I'll be able to install it to do what I want but after a couple hours of this today I'm giving up for now. I do suspect some tweaking on the software / a firmware update may well make all these problems go away.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 27, 2015 9:21 PM PDT


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