Jul 29

VIVA OFFICE® Swivel Task Chair ★★★★☆

VIVA OFFICE® New Arrival Mid-back Black Bonded Leather Comfortable Ergonomic Swivel Task Chair, Adjustable Computer Office Chair VIVA08835

You might say I’ve had a lot of experience putting together office chairs. The hardest part is usually the wheels, which was relatively easy for me here. The rest of the assembly was a cinch. If you can turn a screw with the included hex wrench, you can assemble the chair.

This VIVA OFFICE® Chair has well-padded seat and seatback. Even the armrest was not forgotten. I love the cushy yet firm armrests. Lumbar support rides a little low for me. Given that I like to slouch so that my lumbar region is not in contact with the proper parts of the chair, I’m not sure how much lumbar support is supposed to help. When I sit up straight, it just doesn’t quite hit me where I need it.

The chair can lock upright, or I can lounge in the reclining mode. Reclining is one step away from slouching. It’s so comfortable that way. Even though it’s a mid-back I don’t ever want it upright.

The wheels roll better on carpet than they do on tile. They feel locked up on tile. On carpet, they perform about as well as my other office chair. I don’t do a whole lot of rolling, though. I mostly sit in one spot.

There’s a pneumatic lift to easily adjust to just the right height. I can go high enough so that only the balls of my feet touch the floor (I’m 5’5″), or I can go low enough that my thighs are parallel to the floor and my feet rest flat. For those who need to know: the top of the front seat edge rises from 16″ to 20″.

It’s a nice chair – not too big, yet well-padded and comfortable. My husband has been eyeing it, said he’s ready to change chairs.

This product was provided for review by Viva Office.

Jul 29

Poweradd TravelMate USB Wall Charger ★★★★★

Poweradd™ TravelMate 17W/3.4A Dual-Port USB Wall Charger Adapter Portable Travel Charger for Apple, Android and other 5V USB-Charged Devices

As a travel charger, the Poweradd™ TravelMate is perfect. It’s compact for storage. The prongs fold up so they don’t rub holes in our luggage. There’s no LED bulb to light up our hotel room at night.

I like the USB ports positioned on the back of the charger. That’s so much better than on one of the sides. I can reach the ports without unplugging the charger from the outlet.

I’ve used this charger on two different trips and at home for my phones, power banks, and tablets. It works well. The only issue I have is it’s so hard to see which port is 2.4 amps.

This product was provided for review by Poweradd.

Jul 29

Glad Press’n Seal Wrap ★★★★★

Glad Press’n Seal Wrap

Glad Press’n Seal has always been my favorite food wrap. It clings better than anything else on the market. I can wrap the top of a bowl and stack another bowl on top without worrying about the seal giving way. Try that, Saran Wrap!

Press `n Seal is also ant-proof. I had a horrible problem with ants. They’d get into the bottles and jars, no matter how tightly I closed the lids. Enter Press `n Seal. Simply wrap the lid where it meets glass with Press `n Seal and no ant can breach that barrier.

Although the wrap is impressive, the last two boxes I’ve bought have been a disappointment. The wraps were fine, but the plastic ends that keep the wrap in the box fell off so that the roll wouldn’t stay in the box. That’s a problem. Trying to unwrap the wrap while holding the roll causes the wrap to cling to itself until I have a wad of Press `n Seal stuck on a hollow cardboard tube.

I just got a three-pack to test. Here be my chance for Press `n Seal to redeem itself . . . and it has. I’ve not yet had any problems with the plastic ends coming out. The rolls stay in the box and my wrap comes off neatly. Hooray! I’d have been so sad if that weren’t the case.

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

Jul 29

Monopoly Electronic Banking ★★★★☆

Monopoly Electronic Banking

My son collects Monopoly games like nothing else. Of course, he had to have Monopoly Electronic Banking. The properties here are just like in the original, except everything costs more, inflation and all. The pieces are really cute, totally different from the game of old: a cheeseburger, Rollerblade, jet, cell phone, skateboard, and racecar. Each player gets a debit card and all the cash is kept track of there. We have a little machine that looks like a calculator that we put the card into for every different type of transaction.

My son and I played a round today, which went well until there was a glitch and the machine stopped working. I might chalk it up to a glitch, because he’d been playing and it has never done this. We were able to reset the machine and it was running like normal again, but we had lost track of where we were and stopped the game.

I like not having paper bills flying all over the place. It’s just cleaner, but we don’t know where we stand. I kept having to ask my son how much money I had left. It was fun overall, though. I enjoyed it, maybe a little more than the original because of the fresh take and the cute game pieces. Minus one star because if the card machine glitches, the game ends.

Jul 29

Yellow Submarine Fold and Mail Stationery ★★★★★

This review was originally posted February 3, 2009.

Yellow Submarine Fold and Mail Stationery

I bought the Yellow Submarine Fold and Mail Stationery for my son a few years ago for his yellow submarine birthday party. He was only four, but he was a huge Beatles fan. These were used for his birthday invitations. I still have some left that I use occasionally for letter writing. I love them. They are bright and attractive and I think something Beatles fans would get a kick out of.

There are five different designs. The inside features lined stationery with the yellow submarine up top and various drawings from the yellow submarine on each page. Once folded, the back side has one of five different designs from the movie; and the front has drawings of the Beatles looking out of the portholes of the submarine with space for address and return address, of course.

Simply fold the sheets up as directed, moisten the flaps to seal and send it off. It will make for a pleasant surprise for a lucky recipient.

Jul 29

Strawberry Shortcake Big Fun Book to Color ★★★★☆

This review was originally posted February 3, 2009.

Strawberry Shortcake Big Fun Book to Color ~ Just Lovely

I am not sure why they call this “Big Fun Book to Color,” but it’s not really giant. It’s just as thick as any other coloring book and the pages are no bigger than letter size paper.

It’s got plenty of Strawberry Shortcake pictures to color, of course. It also has some educational puzzles, mazes and color by number — good mental gymnastics for a preschooler. My 4 year-old has had lots of fun coloring this book. It’s a great way to keep her busy.

Jul 28

Creative Sound Blaster Roar ★★★★☆

Creative Sound Blaster Roar: Portable NFC Bluetooth Wireless Speaker with aptX/AAC. 5 Drivers, Built-in Subwoofer

ROAR/TERA BASS

Creative Sound Blaster Roar is full of functionality. I don’t think I own another Bluetooth speaker that can do more than this one can, but it’s not just a gimmicky speaker. The sound lives up to Creative Labs expectations. Tera Bass throws in bass where I never knew it existed. Roar boosts music over the chatter of a crowd and fills the room. I love Roar. Music bounces off the walls. Fullness without hurt-my-ears loud. How’d they do that? It’s a feast for my ears and they leave satisfied.

CHARGING

An AC adapter is provided, but the Sound Blaster Roar can also be charged via micro USB cable.

WIRELESS

I think my phone might be finicky, but this is one of the few devices where NFC actually works on my HTC One. Connection is so quick and easy, and I don’t even have to worry about reconnection. It reconnects automatically. Of course, there is an option to use Bluetooth pairing, if you don’t have NFC.

Bluetooth range is excellent, comparable to my best Bluetooth devices. I can go two rooms away and still have a great connection.

AS A POWER BANK

Yes, I can use this speaker to charge my devices. It’s far too big to regularly use as a power bank. I’m not going to be carrying it around with me. Instead, I use it when I want to charge my phone while playing music. It fully charged my phone and still had power left for music.

MICRO SD CARD

I don’t need a smartphone to use this speaker. I can use a micro SD card instead.

With the card, I can record music that’s playing on the speaker, or I can turn the mic on and record myself speaking. Loop playback or shuffle the music are both options.

SLEEP FUNCTION

This function is only available if we use the micro SD card. We have a choice of 15 or 30 minutes and the music slowly fades out so we are not jolted out of sleep by the sudden quietness.

RECORD

To record, we need to insert a micro SD card. Record with either the microphone on or off, and play the result right back without needing to insert the card into the PC.

ALARM

The alarm sounds more like a fire truck saying “get out of my way,” rather than a panic alarm screaming “save me!”

This isn’t an alarm clock. It’s just an alarm that sounds when we press a button. I’m not sure when I’d ever need it.

PHONE CALLS

Phone calls come through loud and clearly. There is a minor echo on the caller’s end. My daughter thought it was louder than I did when we tested the speaker. We were able to hold a conversation without too much difficulty, though.

DRAWBACKS

The drawbacks have mainly to do with the controls. Only power, volume, NFC and telephone are available on top of the speaker. Everything else is on the back. If I want to boost the bass, I need to turn it around. If I need to advance the music, I need to turn it around. If I want to press the play button, I need to turn it around. If I want to reach the bass button, I need to turn it around.

Another problem is some functions are not intuitive. For instance, sleep mode requires we first set the speaker to loop the music and then press and hold the record play button until it beeps once (15 minutes) or twice (30 minutes). It also requires the use of a micro SD card. No card, no sleep.

And who knew that pressing the alarm button when the alarm switch is off will trigger the bass function? Alarm = bass?

OVERALL IMPRESSION

This is a hefty speaker about the size of a fat book that speaks to quality. Functionality is incomparable, sound does not disappoint; but controls are a little inconvenient and not entirely intuitive.

This product was provided for review by Creative Labs.

Jul 28

Creative Sound Blaster Roar Carry-bag ★★★☆☆

Creative Sound Blaster Roar Carry-bag

Creative Sound Blaster Roar Carry-bag fits the Sound Blaster Roar like a glove. It comes with a shoulder strap. The mesh material lets the music play through. I don’t have to remove it to enjoy my music. There’s a pocket on the side allowing me to carry my phone and speaker together. All the ports are exposed to allow easy access for charging, micro SD card, auxiliary cable.

There’s only one problem: someone forgot to cut out holes for the controls. Sure, I could press the power button through the mesh. I just have to do it blindly, and the switches are tricky. If I don’t have everything memorized (there are quite a number of switches and buttons), I have to take the speaker out of the bag to see what I’m doing.

Perhaps cutting out enough mesh to expose all the control buttons would weaken the bag? At the very least, allow the volume, phone, and power buttons. I would even sacrifice port access for that, since being in the bag means it’s on-the-go.

Though it can function as intended (play music while carried in the bag), the function is limited by the design. It can be better.

This product was provided for review by Creative Labs.

Jul 28

Prolix HTC One M8 Heavy Duty Protective Cover Case ★★★☆☆

Prolix HTC One M8 Heavy Duty Protective Cover Case with Kickstand for HTC One (M8) / The All New HTC One (2014) (Black/Orange)

I am impressed by the rugged nature of the Prolix HTC One M8 Case. Lots of protection for my HTC One, and a screen protector to boot. I did not use the screen protector, as I already have a tempered glass one I like, but it’s included if you need it.

The case is easy to grip, it’s visible enough to pick out from a distance, and a stand is built right in to the back. Yes, the stand works, but only in landscape position. It feels a little on the cheap plastic side, like it might break off if I’m not careful. That hasn’t proven true yet. It’s still there, and I still use it.

The ports are easy to reach. I can charge my phone without removing it from the case. The power button is recessed so that reaching it takes more finagling, and the volume buttons are covered, push-through style. Pushing through takes effort. I often use the volume button to snap the photos, but I can’t do that with this case. I have to push so hard that the phone shakes and the photos are blurry. Adjusting volume takes effort.

Fix the button issues and this could be a four or five star phone.

This product was provided for review by Prolix.

Jul 28

Ziploc Slider Storage Bags ★★★★☆

Ziploc Slider Storage Bags Quart

Ever have a zippered plastic bag accidentally spill because you thought the bag was zipped up? With Ziploc Slider Storage Bags, that’s less likely to happen. One slide, and the bag is sealed.

This incarnation of Ziploc is special for its flat bottom design. The bag stays upright when filled with snacks. That proved useful when I brought a bag of cereal with me to the bowling alley. I could just set it on the counter and munch away.

I tested the seal by filling a bag with water and setting it on the counter. The seal leaked. Honestly, I didn’t expect it to pass. I’ve always had problems with Ziploc bags and liquids. I use them only for dry foods, or mildly wet foods for this reason.

The write-on area works with both ballpoint pens and markers. I tried both and ink took to it like it knows where to go. Very easy to read, no smudging.

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