Apr 20

Rii® i8+ Wireless 2.4G Mini Keyboard ★★★★☆

Upgrade Version! Rii® i8+ Wireless 2.4G Mini Keyboard for Google Android Devices (Smart TV, TV Box, HTPC, PC, Notebook Pad and Other Games) with Multi-touch up to 15 Meters (Compatible with i8) (Gold)

The Rii® i8+ is about the size of a game controller. It features a QWERTY keyboard with extra keys for music and mouse control, separate number and function keys, and hot buttons.

WIRELESS

This remote has a USB dongle which stores conveniently in a little compartment when not in use. Your system must have a USB port to connect wirelessly. If you want Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or wired connection, this keyboard is not for you.

TYPING

Thumb typing is comfortable with the exception of using the shift key. The shift key is located on the left. It must be held down while a letter is typed. There is no shift key on the right, so typing a capital “A” is awkward.

Numbers and function keys are on separate rows, so they are easy to type without needing to shift between letters and numbers.

I found the page up and page down buttons useful.

MUSIC

All music controls are within easy reach, clustered on the right upper corner. Pause, play, volume, repeat, skipping forward and back tracks are just a touch away. All is intuitive.

HOT KEYS

There are eight convenient keys next to the touchpad to launch the following:

* Windows Media Player
* email
* mute
* left mouse click
* right mouse click
* search files
* home button (launches the first screen of my computer’s file system)
* web browser

These buttons are very convenient, especially the mouse buttons.

TOUCHPAD

With the touchpad, we can do the following:

* right click
* left click
* scroll down
* select

I mostly use the pad for moving the cursor. Sensitivity is good for cursor movement, but I have to swipe so many times to get across a page that I would prefer a thumbstick to the pad.

Using one and two finger touches for the mouse button took too much time (not instant). It was easier to use the touchpad to move the cursor and then one of the mouse buttons to click or the page up and down buttons to move up and down.

Also, I often get the misfire, where the pad gives me a right click when I don’t want one.

SCROLL BUTTONS

There are a set of buttons clustered on the upper right that can scroll a page left and right or up and down and select.

SET TOP BOX

I tried this with the XBox to watch a video. There was limited functionality there. I could move between selections but we couldn’t get a movie to play.

I tried it with an XBox game (Minecraft). In that case, it didn’t work at all.

I tried it with my Windows Live TV and it makes searches easier, but don’t get rid of the remote. The Rii is mostly good for typing in the search box. The hot keys, mouse, touchpad don’t work. The scrolling buttons are functional.

So far, I get the most out of the Rii on my Windows 7 PC.

OVERALL IMPRESSION

The Rii keyboard is very well laid out. It is small and compact and attractive. For someone who needs to type or use a mouse constantly, I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s more for those who need the occasional mouse or keyboard to type in search boxes or scroll across a page. If you have an entertainment system that uses a remote control to hunt and peck letters across a screen, this keyboard would make your life easier.

This product was provided for review by Hausbell.

Apr 20

John Frieda Precision Foam Hair Color, Glosser Warm Brunette ★★★★★

John Frieda Precision Foam Hair Color, Glosser Warm Brunette

I just started coloring my hair and noticed it was a little dull. John Frieda Precision Foam Hair Color really put the life back into it. It’s very subtle, but I can tell the difference. My hair looks much healthier after just one treatment.

It’s easy, and not as messy as I was led to believe from the other reviewers. I just put it on in the shower, leave it for a few minutes, and then rinse off. It doesn’t stain my hands or any other part or my body. I just have nicer hair. There’s no residue or anything.

This product is not foam. It’s just a dark liquid. I think “foam” refers to the foam hair dye this works with. The product itself is just a refresher for the hair dye.

As long as I color my hair, I’m going to keep using this treatment. Good results for not much effort. That’s what I always look for in a hair product.

This product was provided for review by the Amazon Vine program.

Apr 20

Tek Republic TUH-3700 USB 3.0 7 Port Hub ★★★☆☆

Tek Republic TUH-3700 USB 3.0 7 Port Hub with Two (2.1 amps per port) USB charging ports and 5A Power Adapter

The Tek Republic TUH-3700 USB Hub looks like a 5 + 2 hub (five data ports, two dedicated charging ports). It’s not. All seven ports can carry data. The two charging/data ports are supposed to be 2.1 amps.

It is a self-powered hub, meaning it comes with an AC adapter. Can it be bus powered (i.e., will it run without an AC adapter)? Yes. Just be sure the devices you plug in are not power hogs.

CHARGING PORTS

Both dedicated charging/data ports are labeled 2.1 amps. Charging a generic Android tablet, I can get 1.47 amps. It doesn’t matter if I’m using a charging port or not. I’m not sure why the two 2.1 amp ports are marked as dedicated.  They act just like the other ports in every way.

These results are not consistent, however. My iPhone sometimes charged at no more than 0.3 amps and my Kindle at 0.4 amps. I am not sure why the huge variability, but the charging speed is very noticeably affected, to the point that the iPhone charging indicator does not light up. At those times, I check the values against my 2.1 amp wall charger and see a huge difference.

COMPATIBILITY

What it works with:
* Eikon fingerprint reader
* microphone
* Bluetooth dongle
* ScanSnap scanner
* flash drive

What it doesn’t work with:
* Logitech Universal Receiver
* handheld keyboard dongle
* 2 different SD card readers
* iPhone 4S

SPEED

I do not get USB 3.0 speed from this hub:

* moving 1.71 GB to a flash drive on this hub: 57 seconds
* moving 1.71 GB to the same flash drive on another USB 3.0 hub: 31 seconds
* moving 1.71 GB to the same flash drive on a USB 2.0 hub: 1 minutes 16 seconds

OVERALL IMPRESSION

I’ve owned a lot of USB hubs. I consider this one underwhelming. Charging speed is variable. Charging port is not truly dedicated (I would like it to be dedicated). Too many devices are not compatible. It’s half the speed of other USB 3.0 ports for data transfer (though faster than a USB 2.0 hub).

The good thing is it can be self-powered or bus-powered, so I can charge devices when the computer is off or when I’m not connected to a computer. This also ensures I won’t be underpowered.

This product was provided for review by Tek Republic.

Apr 20

Aerb® 3IN1 Rechargeable NFC Enabled Bluetooth Receiver ★★★★☆

Aerb® 3IN1 Rechargeable NFC Enabled Bluetooth Receiver

I’ve owned a lot of Bluetooth receivers. What does one use them for? Well, if we have wired speakers or headphones that we would like to hook up with our phone via Bluetooth, now we can.

I usually use my Bluetooth receivers in the car, hooked up to the car’s speakers via the auxiliary port. I paired the Aerb® 3IN1 with my iPhone 4S, which it did flawlessly. Sound is good, clear, no problems with the connection. Phone calls are clear enough to hold a conversation. The car isn’t the best place for this product, though. It has no dash mounting option. I have to leave it loose.

When I think of using this for my headphones, the problem is there is no clip for clothing. I know, I know. The photo online shows a clip. The product description says there’s a clip. There’s no clip on mine, just a rubber pad on bottom. I would have to leave it loose or tuck it in a pocket. Minus one star for not being as described.

The optimal place for this receiver is for desktop or floor speakers, where it can rest undisturbed. It’s a good receiver. I just wish it were more versatile with the mounting options.

This product was provided for review by Aerb.

Apr 20

Kirkland Signature Fast Acting Lactase ★★★★★

Kirkland Signature Fast Acting Lactase

It seems like everyone we know is lactose intolerant and everything we eat has dairy. My husband lives on lactase tablets, specifically Kirkland Signature Fast Acting Lactase. We always have a box in the house. These pills are individually packaged for portability. Just pack a strip in a pocket or purse. Sometimes, I forget my pills and just hope I don’t have a problem. Sometimes, I regret it. My husband won’t eat any meals without them — just in case, he says.

They work. They’re small and easy to swallow, and they don’t cause me any problems.

Apr 20

Ultra Fit Jr Brannock Device ★★★★★

This review was originally posted May 4, 2009.

Ultra Fit Jr Brannock Device (children’s)

This Ultra Fit Jr Brannock Device has proven so useful. When I think my kids may need a new shoe, I just measure them at home and off we go.

When you get it, make sure to read the instructions. I use the arch measurements as well as the foot measurements to get the correct size. Even at the shoe store, the employees often neglect the arch measurements. Some stores have these devices without any arch measurement markings whatsoever (a la Payless Shoe stores). Basically, the arch measure measurement (that part that you slide to the joint of your big toe) gives a shoe size and the foot measurement (the measurement to your longest toe) gives another shoe size. Compare the arch and foot measurements and buy the larger size. The instructions are also on the Brannock company website.

This device also measures the width of the foot. Both of my kids tend towards wide feet, but they seem to grow in and out of it.

The Ultra Fit Jr. model differs from the other models, because it is made of plastic and only measures children`s sizes. That’s fine with me. Metal is so darn heavy.

Apr 20

Oxo Good Grips Nylon Square Turner ★★★★★

This review was originally posted May 5, 2009.

Oxo Good Grips Nylon Square Turner

The Oxo Good Grips Nylon Square Turner is one of my favorite spatulas. It has a nice long handle with a comfortable rubber grip. The spatula has a broad surface, the better to flip things that might otherwise fall apart. It doesn’t scratch my non-stick cookware and doesn’t melt at high temperatures. My other spatulas just don’t compare.

UPDATE 4/20/14: I still have this spatula. It still is my favorite.

Apr 18

Hose Nozzle / Hand Sprayer ★★★★★

Hose Nozzle / Hand Sprayer – 7 Spray Settings Water Saving Plastic Garden Hose End Sprayer – 1 Year Replacement Warranty – Yellow Nozzle

I got a nozzle just like this at a city event from a booth promoting water conservation. I can see why they work. Water only squirts out when I’m squeezing the trigger, not when I put it down and the extra pressure in the nozzle means I don’t have to turn the water up so high.

There are seven setting to choose from: shower, jet, flat, center, cone, soaker, mist. I leave mine on shower, because I use the hose most often to wash my dog. The mist setting is very fine. Jet is strong. My least favorite is soaker, which resembles a broken fire hydrant.

I like this Hose Nozzle / Hand Sprayer. I had moved my hoses around and lost track of my other one, so I was glad to have another one to replace it. It’s much better than the single option gun sprayers. I can set it any way I like.

This product was provided for review by Pretmanns.

Apr 18

StufZ Burger Press ★★★☆☆

StufZ Burger Press

This is my first stuffed burger press. I thought I’d be able to put a ball of meat in and pound it into form (says so in the instructions), but that was not to be. First, I need to shape it somewhat into a patty. Then, press it, and a shallow well forms in that patty. Fill it up, then form a second patty for the top. Press it with the burger press. Voila. A stuffed burger.

The key is to shape the meat into a patty before sticking it into the press. Speaking of sticking, wet the press if you have any problems.

StufZ Burger Press works, though not as smoothly as I dreamed. I stuffed a bunch of burger patties and froze half of them. My husband wasn’t crazy about my recipe, but that’s the cook’s fault. Ahem.

Since we have to do most of the work in shaping the patties before pressing, and we have to do it twice for each burger, I give it three stars. It’s not as quick and easy as they make it look.

This product was provided for review by Interact Marketing.

Apr 18

Pogi’s Poop Bags ★★★★★

Pogi’s Poop Bags – 10 Rolls 150 Bags – Large, Earth-Friendly, Scented, Leak Proof Waste Bag – Perfect for Small, Medium, and Large Dogs. Lifetime Guarantee

There are poop bags, then there are poop bags. Pogi’s Poop Bags are noticeably better quality than el cheapo from the dollar store. They are lightly scented. I can smell a fresh powder scent with each pull from the dispenser. They separate from the roll easily, and I don’t get holes in any of the bags. They are thicker, more durable.

Don’t just think poop for these poop bags. There are so many more uses. Use them to dispose of any unpleasant messes like small soiled diapers, or those things that risk clogging the plumbing on a monthly basis – ladies, I’m talking to you!

These are good quality poop bags. I like them.

This product was provided for review by Pogi’s Pet Supplies.