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Customer Reviews: 442
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Helpful Votes: 3299




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Eric T "ejt" RSS Feed (Marion, IA United States)
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   

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Five Star Locker Push Pin Board, 5.5 x 5.5 inches, Red (72580)
Five Star Locker Push Pin Board, 5.5 x 5.5 inches, Red (72580)
Price: $10.55

4.0 out of 5 stars It's a Pin Board, September 18, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I question the practicality of such a product, why wouldn't you just use a magnet instead of a magnetic push pin holder? But people have their reasons. The quality is great, and the magnet on the back is very large and sticks strongly to the metal surface. It is nice thick two layer high density foam, the red and black are each separate layers about 1/4" thick each. Only real complaint is small size, can't stick a lot to it.

Warnings (related to product images).
Mine came was black with a red center (not red with a black center) but maybe they sent vine reviewers the wrong pattern.
Also, the center is raised on mine, and the lip around the edge is lower, sort of the opposite of how it is pictures, raised red in the center, with a black lip around the edge which sits behind the red piece of foam.
Measurement of 5.5 inches refers to the outer measurement, not the inner measurement, which is only a bit over 4" (which is why I say it is small), but you can pin anywhere.


Nutiva O'Coconut Lightly Sweetened Coconut Treat, Hemp & Chia, 24 Count
Nutiva O'Coconut Lightly Sweetened Coconut Treat, Hemp & Chia, 24 Count
Price: $19.80
2 used & new from $19.80

4.0 out of 5 stars Coco for Coconut Treats, September 18, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The first one I had I really liked. The next one tasted astringent and not much like the first. I hope it was a fluke. I really wanted to give these 5 stars but couldn't since 2 of my 3 sweets tasted different, and the 3rd was eaten by my wife. (The review sample size was 3 instead of the usual 24).

Biting into the first one and it had a nice sweet (but not too sweet) and mellow coconut flavor. Slightly sticky and squishy, not at all hard or chewy. Delicious. I have no idea what hemp or chia taste like, but didn't notice anything unusual. The second treat tasted not so good, bitter chemical flavor which over-powered the coconut. Maybe this was the hemp/chia? Don't know, but it wasn't good. Maybe I shouldn't have tried to eat 2 in a row too, but the first was so delicious.

So reluctantly I took off a star for inconsistency as I don't really know which one they were supposed to taste like since I didn't have enough samples to know for sure. I would definitely recommend trying these if you like coconut.


Corel PaintShop Pro X7 Ultimate
Corel PaintShop Pro X7 Ultimate
Price: Click here to see our price
17 used & new from $94.67

4.0 out of 5 stars Hit and Miss, September 18, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
First off, if you are looking for an Adobe Lightroom replacement, this is NOT it, which is unfortunately what I was hoping for. I give it 4 stars as a inexpensive layer editing software as it is still a fairly powerful tool, but would give it 2 stars if you are looking for a well featured RAW developer and photo cataloguing system like Lightroom. I averaged set it to 4 star rating since I don't want to downrate it for something it wasn't really designed to do.

Who and what I do:
I shoot photography for fun and sometimes for work (weddings mostly). I need to be able to quickly process through a batch of 1000 photos. I need to be able to sort my images into professional work and personal work. I rarely touch layers or merge photos, etc. I shoot exclusively in RAW.

Setup:
Straight forward, but install is slow. I had some special requirements, like running off a drive other than the C drive, which this software allows. Just make sure to change your scratch drive in the preferences after install (where it stores temporary files).

Use:
I opened the program and went to import some photos from an SD card. I first looked for an import dialogue; couldn't find anything other than for importing other features (not photos). I knew I was in trouble when I couldn't find a simple import utility. Went to the manual and the directions said I had to manually copy my photos to the disk using Explorer or something else.

I manually copied my photos in, and browsed to them under the navigation pane. They were all there. If I double click on one it will open a full screen preview and you can quickly sort through the ones you want to keep or not. I found I could go through them quicker if I used my left hand on the arrow keys, and right hand on my mouse to click star rating. Unfortunately, there is no shift-<shortcut key> to cycle through very rapidly like in Lightroom (shift 1 would set rating to 1 and move to next photo with one keystroke).

There are options to group RAW+ files together or view separately, which is nice. In Lightroom 5 you have no way to view the original camera JPEG and edit it by itself, without importing it separately.

Adjust Pane:
For quick image manipulations you need to go to the adjust pane. This is where you will find your Lightroom like settings to quickly change exposure, clarity, white balance, etc. I found clicking on the sliders annoying because if I adjusted one it would refresh the image after a while (slow compared to Lightroom), but once it adjusted the image, it took focus from the sliders so I had to click on the next slider to bring focus back, and click a second time to actually adjust it. Made for a lot of extra clicks.

Also, the instant filter adjustments are slow, and sometimes you can't undo them. Just depends on the individual filter. I found this highly frustrating as I had to revert my images many times before I found something I liked, and with how slow it is at applying the preset it was sort of frustrating.

HDR:
Built in HDR tool is okay, and is fun to play around with. Nice that it is included with the product.

Edit Pane:
Before you can edit RAW files you have to convert them to TIFF or some other standard image format. This is the pane where you do all your layer editing. Only problem I had is the instructions were overly specific and used terms like Tool Options Palette which took me a while to figure out what it was referring too, none of the window boxes were obviously labeled with what they were. This isn't a big deal, but there is a steep learning curve to the tool. Someone more familiar with layer editing would probably be comfortable here.

I found brush strokes a bit limited, I didn't see any brush with many points included by default, like for smudging to make look like an oil painting. You can import and edit brushes, but I am not familiar enough with it to do that.

Performance:
Overall, the performance is fairly good, but sluggish when you make changes in the adjust module, or apply some filters. This is unfortunate as a program like Lightroom is so fast, even with working on large images because of how it processes a smaller copy for a preview, but it works so well. I don't like to adjust exposure sliders and have to wait 1 second for it to update, drag it again (also remember issue with having to click back in the box to return focus to slider before dragging it).

Recommendation:
I personally wouldn't buy this program as I need something like Lightroom, but I wanted to explore alternatives. I find the lack of cataloguing and other organizational tools too limiting. However, if you want navigating your own image folder structure and editing files in place, on a smaller number of files (I wouldn't want to process a thousand wedding photos for example with this), then this might be a good alternative to much more expensive programs. So I tentatively give it 4 stars instead of a lower rating because I don't want to down rate it for what I don't use it for, but also its performance could be much better, but it is comparable to the Pixelmator program I use for Mac so I still give it 4.


MOCREO® IPX5 Water-resistant Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Indoor/Outdoors Ultra mini W/ Carabiner Hook / Rechargable Built-in Battery / TF card Supported for iPhone 5s/5C/4s;Samsung galaxy S5/S4/S3,Samsung Note 2;HTC,iPad Air/5;iPad mini Retina;iPod,Google Nexus 7,Nexus 5,MP3 Players and Other Bluetooth Devices- MOSOUND Drips - MOSOUND Drips (Green)
MOCREO® IPX5 Water-resistant Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Indoor/Outdoors Ultra mini W/ Carabiner Hook / Rechargable Built-in Battery / TF card Supported for iPhone 5s/5C/4s;Samsung galaxy S5/S4/S3,Samsung Note 2;HTC,iPad Air/5;iPad mini Retina;iPod,Google Nexus 7,Nexus 5,MP3 Players and Other Bluetooth Devices- MOSOUND Drips - MOSOUND Drips (Green)
Offered by MOCREO
Price: $33.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Speaker for your Active Needs, September 17, 2014
Setup was a breeze, turned it on and a voice gave me directions on what to do. Pairing was easy with my S4, and was immediately playing music.

I find it unique that it actually talks to you to give you directions or tell you status, an accented lady voice states that the speaker is powering on and waiting for a connection, but then a different voice says "Bluetooth Connected" once my phone connects. It is a bit distracting that it is in a different voice, but not a big deal. Overall I think it is a neat addition to the little speaker.

Build quality:
Nice silicone touch with silver trim piece, feels high quality.

Weather Proofing:
I tested the water proofing by running it under my faucet in shower mode. If you get water on the speaker it will muffle the sound, and it will remain muffled until you get the water out of the speaker. So if you use in the rain try not to let water get on the speaker itself. I don't think it will hurt it, but the water muffles most of the sound. Blow it out and you are good to go. There is a negative review on weather proofing, but I imagine it is just water sitting on the speaker muffling the sound.

Sound Quality:
Music is mostly treble, with fairly weak bass, and the speaker is easy to completely mute by covering it. This is not a big deal, just noting it. It is very similar to another similar sized speaker that I have, similar frequency response as well, so I think it is likely typical of the speaker size.

Usage:
The controls are a bit hard to find, but easy enough to do when you find them, and the pull out cable cover is easy enough to use, it doesn't bind up or anything. The internal batter is on the small side for a portable speaker, but still about 4 hours at medium volume, so plenty for my usage. Charges over micro-USB fairly quickly so can always have an extra USB battery pack with you if you need more life from it.

Bottom Line:
For the price, this is a pretty good speaker. No, it isn't going to wow you with the sound quality, but it isn't bad either. I got this as a sample to review, but it is a nice sturdy speaker which makes a lot of sense if you want a palm sized speaker to use outdoors, and wouldn't break the bank if someone ran off with it. Throw it on your bike, use it outside studying, take it in the shower, it is a great speaker for the active lifestyle person.


MOCREO® 2500mAh Ultra-portable Power Bank Pack Universal Backup External Battery Charger for Most Micro-USB Enabled Devices W/ Built in Micro-USB Cable - ( No Lightning Adapter Included for iPhone or iPad )(White)
MOCREO® 2500mAh Ultra-portable Power Bank Pack Universal Backup External Battery Charger for Most Micro-USB Enabled Devices W/ Built in Micro-USB Cable - ( No Lightning Adapter Included for iPhone or iPad )(White)
Offered by MOCREO
Price: $14.80
2 used & new from $9.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Slim and Elegant, September 17, 2014
Having used many of these portable battery packs, what I love most about this one is the compact size and simplicity. It has plenty of charging current to rapidly chart my Galaxy S4, it might not be enough for a tablet. It has the universal micro USB port on it which will connect to almost any non Apple device, and isn't much larger than a cell phone battery (for those of us with phones we can change them in). It is literally about the same size as a stack of 4 credit cards.

This isn't the battery to get to charge a huge tablet or to power your car, but when you want a very slim battery to slip into your back pocket to double the life of your non Apple smartphone, charge your smart watch, keep your bluetooth speaker running all day, this is the battery for you.

with its 1 amp charging it is plenty given the capacity of this device, and its simple to use design make this a win-win.


Goal Zero Portable Torch 250 with Power Hub and Emergency Light with Solar and Hand Crank
Goal Zero Portable Torch 250 with Power Hub and Emergency Light with Solar and Hand Crank
Price: $79.99
4 used & new from $79.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Bright Ideas Bright Light, September 15, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The first thing I noticed about this torch is that it is fairly high quality. It has a nice rubberized finish which is soft to the touch and the crank is decently high quality and so are buttons.

It has a nice set of features, including a decently large solar panel, hand crank, bright forward facing flashlight, nice bright wide angle flashlight, and red LEDs that face the same direction as the main flashlight and can be solid or blinking.

All the lights can be controlled independently, and simply cycle through modes (so about 3 presses of each button to go through all modes, the two lights have bright, dim, and off, and the red lights are on, blinking or off.

What I really like is if you used this for an emergency tire repair, you could lay it flat on the road by where you were changing the tire, facing the light to oncoming traffic with the blinking lights, and use the wide angle light for light to see your tire.

It has a large internal Li-Ion, specifically Li-NMC (Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide). It is great for extending the life of a smart phone, or tablet. Had no trouble charging my devices, like Galaxy S4.

The hand-crank is useful for the lights only, not charging a smart phone. I cranked for 60 seconds and got about 11 minutes of run time from all the lights on full brightness. Pretty impressive.
About the solar panel. The instructions say that it takes 24 hours to charge in full sunlight. To put this in perspective that is two 12 hour days in direct sunlight. 24 hours doesn't mean one day, it means 24 hours of sunlight. In Iowa, I charged it for 2 sunny days in a row, and only got up to 25% power. So this time of the year in late summer it might take a week to charge fully. Don't think that the solar panel is going to be suitable for keeping a smart phone charged and used regularly, it would only be keeping it charged for emergency use, and should do fine with a feature phone of course.

I give it 5 despite my qualms about the solar panel and usefulness of the handcrank because it is a good light overall.


Skip Hop Zoo Lunch Kit, Bee
Skip Hop Zoo Lunch Kit, Bee
Price: $9.00
3 used & new from $9.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cute but has some issues, September 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a cute little bee lunch container, but it has some issues. Like another reviewer mentioned, the seal doesn't work very well. It won't even contain a spilled water. It will leak out between the lid and the container.

The second issue is that with the little container inside there is very little space to hold anything. If you take the small container out, it will hold a sandwich but nothing else. With the small container it can hold a few carrot sticks and some dip.

the final issue that I have, is this latches are supposed to be easy to use, but in reality they are very difficult. They are easy enough to open' but closing and sealing the container is a problem. You have to hold both of the latches open when you put the lid on to close the container, otherwise the other latch has a lip on it which will get stuck between the seal and the container making it not want to close all the way.

Bottom line: the container looks cute and might do the job, but will have some issues. If you value looks over function this is a great container. It isn't bad by any means.


Kazu (R) 100% Organic Green Tea Matcha, 9 Ounces, with Free Gift
Kazu (R) 100% Organic Green Tea Matcha, 9 Ounces, with Free Gift
Offered by Lau Family's Herbs
Price: $18.99
2 used & new from $18.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Matcha to Like About this Tea, September 13, 2014
I have made Matcha before, so was excited to get a free sample to review. I poured the water into a small bowl onto the tea and used the whisk to mix it until it was well mixed with the water, and poured it into small serving cups (like tea shots). I used about 1 teaspoon for 8 oz water. Drinking one or two of these is plenty, these are a lot stronger than your regular tea since you are consuming the tea as well as the liquid. Experiment with different amounts to get the taste you like.

I am impressed with how well the matcha mixes with water and how fresh it tastes. The last stuff I tried had an astringent flavor and wasn't as fresh. The color of this product is a nice mild green, not artificially bright, but not dull and stale either.

My only very minor complaint was the bag it comes it doesn't have a very good seal, and the fine powder makes it worse. So I put it in my own container for storage.

I will buy from this supplier in the future.


Authentic 100% Organic Genmai Cha (Brown Rice Green Tea) 100 Teabag Value Pack
Authentic 100% Organic Genmai Cha (Brown Rice Green Tea) 100 Teabag Value Pack
Offered by Lau Family's Herbs
Price: $12.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Fine Quality Tea, September 13, 2014
First thing I did was heat some filtered (charcoal) water to near boiling, and pour it into my cup. I used one ice cube to cool it to exactly 160 F (brew green teas at lower temperature than black or oolong). I let this steep for 5 minutes, which was a bit long. I smelled it and observed the color while brewing and it starts as a green and ends as more of a yellow/brown color.

The tea has a fairly ricey flavor if you let it brew for 5 minutes at 160 F, let it brew less for a stronger green flavor. I prefer a straight green, but this isn't bad either, and if you like brown rice (think drinking the water from the rice as it cooks) it isn't bad.

The quality is excellent, and I would recommend it.


LeapFrog Roll and Go Rocking Horse
LeapFrog Roll and Go Rocking Horse
Price: $14.99
24 used & new from $9.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Yee Ha, September 13, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This LeapFrog horse is a high quality toy. It has a lot of different sounds, with high quality voices. Has an on-off switch with volume control (two settings). the rolling mechanism seems like it will last a long time, and a sensitive to movement to trigger the voices/sounds.

My 2 year old daughter really likes it, and my 8 year old son launches is it across the floor as fast as he can and rams it in the everything. The only issue I had with it was someone running across the floor stubbed their toe on it, and it's pretty heavy so it hurts when you kick it.

It is yet another noise making in toy, but a pretty good one so definitely one of the favorites in the house.


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