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Customer Reviews: 1109
Top Reviewer Ranking: 137
Helpful Votes: 8321

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John S. Dean "John" RSS Feed (Sturtevant, WI United States)

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Enitial Lab Monroe Rectangular Coffee Table, Walnut and Black
Enitial Lab Monroe Rectangular Coffee Table, Walnut and Black
Price: $181.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly solid table, but not quite so sure about the leg joints, August 29, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is my third Enitial Lab coffee table. With a 10 year old who builds Mega Bloks and Legos, I need the space to store the things we build.

The first one I purchased back in January, the Finley, with the Z shaped frames on the sides. I liked it overall, it was a good value and sturdier than I had anticipated. Second one I got this month was their Lansing model with the storage. That one was not as well done as the first I had, and was a bit disappointing in how things just didn't line up very well.

I liked that the beams that go "across" the inner bottom surface there to help support the coffee table on the legs actually have metal nuts embedded in the wood, so the 8 screws per board can be tightened well and get it very secure. The main rectangle of the coffee table itself is SOLID. VERY solid. This has the thickest "wood" of all three models I have.

The assembly was quick, done in under 30 minutes by myself with no power tools. Everything lined up well, edges were all even and flush. It looks better than the photos show, they don't do it justice.

There are only two things here that I think make it less than it could be, which is why it lost a star. The first, which didn't really impact on the rating, is that I wish it had a little more space between the upper and lower pieces of the table. That limits what I can use it for. The other tables I had purchased had multiple levels, and I could fit the building kits we made on both levels. This one I'm really limited to only using the top surface for the toys and such. I've ended up using the bottom to hold the instructions that I always keep, and the extra parts bag I have - a big 2 gallon ziplock full of assorted pieces from all the things we've built. It's just too shallow for things I'd use it for, but if you're looking to slide things like books, magazines, or a phone or a tablet, it'll work great.

The second downside, which did ultimately cost the star, is that the design of the legs, while it looks good, just isn't quite as sturdy as I would want in a table. The "down" legs only have one screw/cam assembly in each holding it to the lower edge of the table, and two wooden dowels glued in. So they really aren't designed for much sturdiness if there's any force pulling them in or out from that edge. Three legs went on tight, but one wouldn't get tight no matter what, and had a little wiggle in it. Once you get the cross pieces that go to the tops of each and the bottoms of each it stiffens up better, but there's no way I'd feel safe dragging this table over a carpet if I was hauling it lengthwise, putting pressure on the boards. With particle board like this, it wouldn't take much to split it around that weak joint.

So my plan anytime I want to move it is to tilt it up onto one of the short edges of the table itself, move it, then carefully put it back down when I'm done.

But since once I have it placed where I want it, I generally won't be moving it, so while it was enough to ding a star just for the structural weak point, it doesn't detract from how much I like it or how well it works as a table.

Obviously you'll want to make sure little kids who have a habit of sitting on the edges of things from sitting on this, though.

For the price, this has the thickest boards of any of the three from them that I built, and is a good value if you have a good use for the short space between the top and bottom levels of the table. But I still think the Finley is my favorite since it's the most solid one there is, with no weak areas, so you can drag it around from the sides or the front with no concerns, and it has more usable surface area.

Enitial Lab Lansing Rectangular Coffee Table with Storage, Black
Enitial Lab Lansing Rectangular Coffee Table with Storage, Black
Price: $170.66
3 used & new from $170.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad table, but things just aren't very level or lined up quite right, August 27, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This came annoyingly packed with a ton of styrofoam, but the plus side is that there was a benefit of all those little static balls of white sticking to everything inside. It arrived without a single blemish or scratch or anything. Each piece was well protected during shipping, especially the outer edges and the corners. It's also double boxed for some added protection.

Assembly took me just over an hour to do by myself, which included a break to make a pitcher of iced tea and to drink a bubba mug of the finished product.

It's a typical lower end furniture assembly process, ala Sauder and such. Cams to twist to lock onto the shafts you screw into various pieces, and small wooden dowels glued into the holes.

All told, the assembly is pretty solid. Once it's completed, it doesn't feel flimsy.

I would have preferred another method of securing the glass, simply becuase the suction cups, clearly visible through the glass, detract from the appearance. But from an engineering standpoint I'm guessing they're better than just some standard stop to hold the glass in place since they can absorb energy transferred from things being plopped on the glass. So maybe little Billy, when he sets something down too hard, just makes a loud noise this way, compared to breaking the glass if there wasn't these four little "shock absorbers" holding it.

Another thing I wish they would have done was some kind of hidden hinge. Having two hinges hanging out the side edges for the opening storage areas is another thing that I didn't really care for. I may at some point change that part of it, and the good news there is that everything mounts from INSIDE surfaces, so if you do decide to do something else, you're not left with holes on the outer surface from hardware you removed.

I've dealt with the cam system of building for a lot of years, since it's such a popular method of construction for inexpensive furniture like this. One thing I missed here was that some companies put an extra cam or two inside their packages in case one breaks. I've had them snap, and not from over tightening. So be careful as there are no spares. And I had an odd problem with several of the cams on this table, where they seemed to slide sideways and caused a "wave" of sorts in the wood where it pushed it up and shoved it a bit, since they didn't just rotate in place. Even on the other Enitial coffee table I have, I've not experienced this problem. But here, five or six of the cams did that. Fortunately, they're either underneath or inside the cubby area, so they don't mar the "normally visible" parts of the table.

The bottom surface is unfinished, and they only give you four tiny little "feet", so this can make it a bit of a pain to drag on carpeting if you're moving things around.

The top surface on mine is a mixed result as far as how well things line up. One of the opening panels sits just slightly recessed from the frame around it, and the other is actually raised ABOVE the frame around it on one side, then canted down to the other side where it's all slightly recessed from those same frames. I also noticed some poor alignment in the base, and on the short sides of this, were you can see a changing amount of "flushness" between pieces, or a piece that should be vertical has a slight tilt to it. But if you're not looking for it on the base, it's not that noticeable, whereas it's very noticeable on the top surface.

I've got four or five different coffee tables in various parts of my house, since I purchased them for all the Mega Blok and Lego sets my 10 year old and I build together. Some of them were the same price point as this or less, but they are more aestheticaly pleasing. This one just LOOKS like an inexpensive table, unfortunately. The other comparable tables I have even came with small black fake wood grain circle stickers to put over the cams, so they're not as noticeable. I was expecting those here, at least for the inside of the storage areas, but I guess they feel since that's normally closed, it wouldn't matter. I still personally would have preferred a smooth look on the interior when I opened it up rather than the big silver screw heads of the cams being visible on every "wall" inside that cubby area.

Somehow the "doors" on the left and right top surface always seem to contrast as a lighter color than the rest of the unit, no matter where the lighting is in the room, and what angle you're looking at them. I had initially thought maybe it was because the grain is running in different directions, but several complete walk arounds showed that it didn't matter which one you were seeing the grain "straight on" or at a 90 degree angle, the panels always seemed lighter in color. This can be a plus or a minus depending on if you'd prefer that slight visual contrast, or if you're someone who really wants a uniform color for the whole table.

About a year ago I purchased this company's "Finley Rectangular" coffee table, which is less expensive than this one, and I really do prefer that one over this one as far as looks go. It's much more of a modern feel, but that one has no internal storage. It was also much quicker and easier to install since there were so few bolts to deal with.

All told, though, this is a decent little table, but for this price I expected a little more. But if you need those internal storage cubbies to keep things out of the way but have them handy, this is certainly a viable option for you.

[Apple Mfi Certified] ZeroLemon® Lightning to USB Cable 10ft / 3m for Iphone 5s / 5c / 5, Ipad Air / Mini / Mini2, Ipad 4th Generation, Ipod 5th Generation, and Ipod Nano 7th Generation [2 Year Warranty] - Black
[Apple Mfi Certified] ZeroLemon® Lightning to USB Cable 10ft / 3m for Iphone 5s / 5c / 5, Ipad Air / Mini / Mini2, Ipad 4th Generation, Ipod 5th Generation, and Ipod Nano 7th Generation [2 Year Warranty] - Black
Offered by Bastexwireless - Authorized ZeroLemon Retailer

5.0 out of 5 stars Great quality and works flawlessly, just may not quite fit with some cases, August 27, 2014
I have a bunch of different cable types hanging from a small table next to my couch where I sit. Everything from a Wii-U charger, standard USB, newer USB, Nintendo 3DS, and a lightning cable. They all plug into a multi outlet I have behind the couch. And all of them have plenty of length to charge something while I'm using it if I need, but the one thing that was just too short was my lightning cable. It was the standard length Apple one, and I could charge things, but only if they were sitting right on the table. That cable wouldn't let my son's iPod touch or my Retina iPad mini even sit on the arm of the couch if they were charging.

A month or so ago I got a longer cable that gave me a little more leeway, and I had reviewed that one positively since I really appreciated the longer length. Now I could actually have the iPad sit on the arm of the couch while charging, but I still couldn't move it for anything more than just reading an ebook.

Zerolemon had seen that review, and contacted me asking if I'd review this one. I gladly took them up on the offer, since a 10 foot cable would give me all the length I'd possibly need. So they shipped me the black 10 foot cable.

It's thicker than the apple cable, and stiffer, so it's not quite as flexible. The lightning end is housed in plastic that is larger than the standard Apple plug, wider and thicker. And that would be the only possible real downside to this cable compared to the Apple product. I have several different cases for my son's iPod touch 5th generation, and this cable fits all but one of them - that one's lightning opening is just too narrow for this to fit. But that's not one we use often anyway, so it's not a big deal for us. And for the three cases I have for my iPad mini, the Pelican was the only one that I couldn't use this with because of the size of the plug. The other protective case, and the "regular use" thin shell I use just to protect the back from scratches, both worked fine with this cable.

But this isn't an issue strictly with this cable - the other one I reviewed that was longer than the standard apple one was also about the same size around the lightning connector, and that one didn't fit the same cases this one didn't.

But since the cases this doesn't fit are protective cases that I use pretty much just for traveling, I'm not concerned about the 10 foot cable fitting them, since when I travel I can use the short standard Apple cable. The longer one is for places at home where I won't use those cases.

Whether I plug it into the charger that came with the iPad mini, or just a standard USB port on one of my outlets, or the USB port on my computer, it works fine. ITunes worked without any issues.

All told, the price can't be beat, it's very well constructed, and it's amazingly long. For anyone who needs a longer cable, this one is definitely the cable you're looking for.

Kyjen 2437 Hide-A-Squirrel Plush Dog Toys Squeak Toy
Kyjen 2437 Hide-A-Squirrel Plush Dog Toys Squeak Toy
Price: $14.78
25 used & new from $14.39

5.0 out of 5 stars Won't last but the dogs absolutely LOVE them, August 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I may as well add another "me too" to the thousands of reviews.

First off - these are NOT very durable. But for the wheaton terrier and labradoodle I got this for, NOTHING is durable. Anything that's designed to last simply does NOT. They chew everything up, find seams, break squeakers.

But despite the fact that these are very, very vulnerable to aggressive chewing, they are adorable, and both dogs LOVE them to the exclusion of every other toy.

They even will keep them in their mouths when they go outside to go to the bathroom.

So they're going to go through them pretty quickly, but they're inexpensive, and it's worth ever penny to see just how much they love them.

inFAMOUS First Light - PS4 [Digital Code]
inFAMOUS First Light - PS4 [Digital Code]
Price: $14.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Other than a few annoyances, it's definitely worth the price, August 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I also had problems with Amazon's code - and it wasn't a matter of being patient, it didn't work. As of about 7 AM on release day, Amazon support said Sony knew about the problem and had hoped to have a fix in place so the code would work by midnight of release day. They did give me a refund though, and I purchased it then from Sony so I could have it downloaded while I worked and play when I got home.

I knew this wasn't going to be as "full" feeling as the standard Infamous games. It's a DLC, shorter content, shorter run. And compared to the other Infamous games, it feels abbreviated. It doesn't take long to max out your gifts. There's no real feeling of accomplishment since you're not dealing with karma at all, you're just going through the motions. But it's still fun.

Some annoyances I have - trying to find where the gunshots are coming from. Nothing but echoes and such, so until you've already killed a bunch of guys, it won't show them as red icons on the mini map. But that's something you get used to.

I hate it when game developers change buttons around. And they did it here. I understand it's a different character, but come on, we've been used to doing some functions with certain buttons, so it would've been a more natural game to "fall into" if you weren't changing muscle memory.

Small annoyance - it doesn't go straight into the game when you launch. That was a feature I loved in previous infamous games. Turn on the playstation, pick the game, and viola, you're at your last save point. Here, it makes you confirm it.

Now, some changes I just LOVE - setting waypoints. No more trying to get it just where you want it. If you're setting it around an event or target somewhere, it auto centers your pointer for you on that item. That makes it easy to get them spot on.

Graphics are of course great. And it's awesome seeing the incredibly familiar game areas from Infamous Second Son that look so different without the DUP presence here yet. Having played Second Son through five or six times on each karma level, I'm quite familiar with everything, and the changes are subtle yet you notice them.

Neon was always my preferred power in Second Son since I loved the extended focus you got on good karma, slowing things down to get some great shots in. That focus slow down is here as well.

Side missions are pretty tame though. There's races where you try to catch a flying bit of neon gas. These are part of what you collect to upgrade your powers. There are also stationary bits of neon that are similar to blast shards that you collect around the city.

Bridges are locked down though, you can only wander on the top part, at least as far as I've played so far.

But it does start to get more of an "Infamous" feeling as the DUP start showing up and you're doing the more standard type of fighting in the city. And by that point, you had gotten used to the "DUP-free" Seattle, and then it gives you a deja-vu feeling yet again as they start to build their towers here and there as their presence builds.

And in the mountains it gives a totally different feeling, running through canyons, over frozen rivers, up by Curdun Cay. So it adds a dimension that you don't get at all in the urban only environments of the other games.

So it's not quite as good as the full games were, and it's not as immersive or compelling a story for me, since we already know what happened. It gives me a very "connect the dots" kind of feeling.

But for a fraction of the price, and the chance to enjoy this "world" in a new way, it's certainly worth every penny.

Mega Bloks Halo Flood Hunters Battle Unit
Mega Bloks Halo Flood Hunters Battle Unit
Price: $9.98
28 used & new from $9.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to our sets, August 25, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
We have all the vehicles and ships in our collection, but one thing we didn't have was any good representation of the flood.

This set comes with a great infected Elite figure, and of course the flood themselves, which my 10 year old calls the "popcorn guys" for how they pop in the game.

It's a great addition to help fill out any dioramas or for playing and having battles.

For the price, the value couldn't be beat.

The Muppets Most Wanted Exclusive 13 Inch Plush Figure Rowlf
The Muppets Most Wanted Exclusive 13 Inch Plush Figure Rowlf
Offered by Running Crow toys
Price: $12.95
74 used & new from $12.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly soft and well made, August 25, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I picked this up for my kid after we saw the Muppets Most Wanted. I got him several characters, but this one is one of his favorites because it is so insanely soft.

It's really well built, solid material, and no bad threads or seams, everything is well crafted.

It looks very much like the character, is soft, and was a great price, hard to go wrong with this purchase.

Spongebob Multivitamin Gummies, 240 ea
Spongebob Multivitamin Gummies, 240 ea
Offered by Global Net Enterprises
Price: $24.95
3 used & new from $14.99

1.0 out of 5 stars My 10 year old really doesn't like the taste, August 25, 2014
I picked these up for my 10 year old son. He's a SpongeBob fan, and up to this point had been taking the Flintstones gummies. I saw these in a local pharmacy on sale and thought I'd give them a try.

The first time he took them, he kind of raised his eyebrows and said, "Not bad." The next morning, it was a lot of work to get him to take them again, and when I asked him what the problem was since he said they weren't bad the previous day, he complained that after chewing them a bit, they start to taste not at all good, and they left a bad taste in his mouth for a long time.

He takes fiber gummies as well, and for the short period of time we used these, I just had him follow these up with the fiber ones to help get the taste out of his mouth. He's so set in his routine of taking vitamins after brushing that I couldn't get him to take these BEFORE brushing to help get the taste out of his mouth.

So I ended up ordering more of the flintstones ones that he liked, and I threw these away...

KOBI ELECTRIC K2L3 19-watt (100-Watt) A21 LED 5000K (COOL White) Light Bulb, Dimmable
KOBI ELECTRIC K2L3 19-watt (100-Watt) A21 LED 5000K (COOL White) Light Bulb, Dimmable
Price: $24.21
5 used & new from $23.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Brightest LED bulb I've got in my house, great light spread, August 23, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a solid light bulbf. It's the heaviest LED bulb I have, and I do have some Par 30 floodlights. This outweighs them.

My entire house was built with cans in the ceilings, the only place I have "normal" surface mounted lights are the bedrooms. So I had gone through replacing all the cans with CFL's, then replacing them as soon as LED's started coming out since I didn't care for the thought of needing to call a hazmat team if one of the CFL's ever broke.

My hallway from the great room to the bedrooms is L shaped, and has no direct light. So the LED's I have in those cans really need to perform well. The downside with the LED's is that my three way lit switches now flicker, rather than just stay softly illuminated. Even the CFL's let those night lights in the switches work right.

In the last 6 months I've gone through three different LED bulb manufacturers in those cans, trying to find some that don't die in a couple months. The current ones I've been very happy with are instant on, 6000k in color since I hate yellowish light. They're the Hitlights A19 LED's, but they're only 6w bulbs, the equivalent of a standard 40w incandescent. So they're bright enough to work well in the hallway, but they aren't really enough to put in the 7 cans in my very high ceiling in the kitchen. Since I haven't found anything I liked well enough yet, those are the last cans with CFL's.

For the moment I have this in the can in my bedroom's entryway. The sad thing is the only other light in my bedroom is from the ceiling fan, and that's limited to a wimpy little CFL in it, so my bedroom doesn't get very bright. This light in the entry way puts out enough light to better light the part of the bedroom that's not blocked by the wall. It's bright. Brightest LED bulb I have. And it works just perfectly in the cans I have, since LED's are generally by nature a little more directional than a normal incandescent bulb, unless you get the type that are designed to throw light in all directions by having several different angles inside with LED's pointing in multiple directions. But I did notice that this one really throws more light to its sides than the others I've tried or still have. The other ones in my hallway, you can kind of see on the wall where the light really starts to hit it, where it's well lit. This one gives me a larger swath of light on the walls.

It runs pretty cool as well at the bulb. I've got an infrared sensor to measure temperature of items, and with the bulb starting at an ambient temperature of about 74 degrees F, and after about 30 minutes, the bulb itself was registering about 81 to 82, and the inside of the can that I could hit with the infrared sensor showed mid 90's. When I checked the smaller LED's in the hallway, temps were about the same. You see different websites all over the internet claiming that LED's don't get hot, don't generate any heat. And it's true that the bulb itself isn't making heat like a standard incandescent bulb would. But these have all those cooling fins for a reason. After I pulled it out, I took it into the great room where I had set down the infrared, and it was registering about 120 degrees on the metal of the screw. That's about 45 degrees warmer than when it started.

All told, I like these. The problem is LED's are still prohibitively expensive for many people. And yes, LED's all claim to get a lot of years of "normal" use, but this year alone I had to replace the bulbs in those three cans in the hallway TWICE because the bulbs died out inside of a couple months, and they're only turned on a couple times a day when I head to bed, and then they're only on long enough for me to walk through the hallway. Unfortunately, there's no way to tell how long a bulb will last until it's actually lasted that long. On the plus side, this comes with a 5 year warranty, compared to the other LED's I have that only have a 3 year warranty.

If this one dies, I'll update this review and change the rating. I would give it 5 stars just for the performance and brightness of it, but I just can't give 5 stars to a lightbulb that runs almost $25 per bulb.

Ravensburger Empire State Building - Night Edition - 3D Puzzle (216-Piece)
Ravensburger Empire State Building - Night Edition - 3D Puzzle (216-Piece)
Price: $27.77
40 used & new from $24.97

4.0 out of 5 stars This actually ended up being the one Ravensburger 3D puzzle I've done that held together the best, August 23, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've had previous experience with their 3d puzzles. The most annoying one was a 3d globe I had made. That one didn't work very well, so I was curious to see if this one would work better.

As usual with their 3D puzzles, you spend more time sorting pieces into order than you do building. I always get everything sorted into rows, 1-9, 10-19, 20-29, etc... That way I can just go down the line grabbing pieces and snapping them into place.

This one actually assembles pretty well. It doesn't quite exactly line up everywhere, but they have clear plastic inserts that go eveery few rows to help pull things back into alignment. Pieces fit well, better than the globe I had done previously. Some pieces are creased and bend 90 degrees, and have small plastic pieces in the inner corner to help hold it in that 90 degree bent shape. It's not quite perfect, but short of molding the corner pieces to be solid, and not start out flat, nothing will ever line up quite perfectly.

And with most Ravensburger 3D puzzles, the farther you build, the more it helps hold itself together. Much like Lego or Mega Bloks, as things layer, they become a little more solid.

All told it took me about an hour to build, while watching the Muppets Most Wanted, so that included some pauses to smile at the songs...

When it was completed, I had to go back a couple places and use a ruler to hold a few parts from the inside where my fingers couldn't reach anymore to press out while I pressed inward from the outside, to get things to line up right again, as during the build some of the pieces you did a few rows previously may shift.

I wish they had done a better job on the bottom wtih the cardboard and where this fits to that cardboard base, since there's just too much light bleed from the slits in the cardboard base, since they're so much larger than the tabs that fit into them. But other than that, it actually looks pretty nice with the lights on after the sun has set and there's not so much ambient light around it. The colors slowly cycling from the LED gives it a nice appearance. And the way it shines through the clear pieces that help hold everything together give the outside a little more illumination. But the picture on the Amazon page makes the ligth seem a little more advanced than it is, since it only illuminates one color at a time, and the photo seems to show different colors on different parts at the same time.

The base also has a punch out piece so that when you put the light unit inside, you can reach the switch from below to turn it on and off. And it holds together well, so you can filp it sideways to get at the switch without things falling off.

All told, it's a nice end result for a puzzle, but I think it would've been better designed if the corner pieces were molded as corners, not having to be pushed to the 90 degree angle, as that would have helped make things line up better.

But I've never really considered these as "puzzles" since for me, a puzzle involves finding the right pieces to fit everywhere, and these are numbered with arrows showing the direction the next piece has to go. Like I said earlier, you spend more time putting the pices in order than you do building it. So I've always thought of them as more of a display item.

I'm not sure I'd want to pay retail price for one of these, but if you get it on sale and you enjoy these, I'll at least say this was the one of their 3D puzzles that actually went together the best, and stayed together best.

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