Aug 24

aLLreli® Digital Audio Voice Recorder Dictaphone ★★★★☆

aLLreli® CP0037 Rechargeable SPY 8GB 1165Hr Digital Audio Voice Recorder Dictaphone MP3 Player Perfect for Recording Interviews and Meetings, Students Learning

My first thoughts when I saw the aLLreli® Digital Dictaphone? Why not use a smartphone app? Well, not only will this work as a plain old recorder, it can also be used to record phone calls. That’s right, and all the required cables and equipment are included. I tried it out with my daughter. Whoa. No one would be the wiser, and the end result are voices that are as clear as could be. Of course, anyone considering using this would observe all applicable laws.

As a recorder, it works very well. The only issue I have is recordings are listed in numerical order and they are hard to see on the main screen.

Included are a wearable mic and earphones. The earphones are necessary, if we want to use the radio function. For some reason, radio won’t play over the external speakers. The stations come in pretty well, and I’m able to enjoy the stations I like on it.

The Dictaphone has mp3 player functionality, but the only way I’d use it is if it came with a micro SD slot. It does not. I’d have to hook it to my computer and transfer files, so I skipped that.

My favorite use for this is recording phone calls, not that I’d do that, but it’s different. I’ve never had anything that could do that before, not without being noticed by the other party. Pretty cool.

This product was provided for review by aLLreli.

Aug 24

Abco Tech Air Vent Universal Car Mount Holder ★★★★★

Abco Tech Air Vent Universal Car Mount Holder / Cradle for Cell Phones, IPhone 4 4S 5 5S 5C 6 – Samsung Galaxy S3 S4 S5 – Galaxy Note 2 3 – LG G2 – Motorola Moto X Droid HTC One, Nexus 5 and All Smartphones

I bought an air vent mount once. It adhered to the air vent via adhesive. That didn’t work out so well. But for this Abco Tech Air Vent Universal Car Mount Holder, I would never have known how useful an air vent mount could be.

The first thing I noticed is the mount is via a spring loaded clamp on the vent. This is much better than the adhesive option of my first mount. It’s on and off in a jiffy. I can move it around until I find the right spot.

I used this air vent mount with my HTC One M8 and my giant Huawei Ascend Mate2. It will hold the largest phones with no problem.

This is so much better than putting my phone on a dashboard mount. My phones are so large that they tend to obstruct vision. At air vent level, that’s not a problem. Yes, it does block some of the air flow, and maybe it might obstruct the radio controls or display. Those are tradeoffs I’m willing to make.

This product was provided for review by Abco Tech.

Aug 24

Soundbeats S1 Bluetooth Stereo Headphone ★★★★☆

Soundbeats S1 Bluetooth Stereo Headphone – Supports Wireless Music Streaming and Hands-free Calling (Black)

Soundbeats S1 Bluetooth Stereo Headphones have been great for listening to music as I walk my dog. Pairing and reconnecting is easy, music sounds good, controls are easy to reach, and it’s comfortable. It doesn’t fall off. I like how it folds up.

The plastic build around the buttons feels a little cheap and we have to deal with a proprietary charging cable, but my qualm is with the power button. I need to hold it to turn it off, but sometimes I don’t hold it long enough and I end up redialing the last person called. That’s happened on a number of occasions and eventually I’ll learn. Maybe they could make it so I don’t have to keep getting taught.

This product was provided for review by Soundbeats.

Aug 24

Gembonics 5600mAh Power Bank ★★★★☆

Gembonics 5600mAh Portable External Battery Charger Backup Power Bank for iPhone 5 5S 5c 4S, iPod Touch, iPad 2,3,4, Mini, Air, Samsung Galaxy S4 S3 S2, Google Nexus 4, 5, HTC One, Nokia Lumia 520, 1020, most Cell Phone including Apple, Android, Tablets, PS Vita and other USB-charged devices – Black

The Gembonics Power Bank is an attractive smaller power bank that’s highly portable and can deliver enough power to give my HTC One M8 an 84% charge. It’s a little disappointing, considering my other power banks in that range can deliver a full charge, but it works well enough to get any cell phone user out of a bind.

I like the metal surface, which resists fingerprints and is not easily marred. So many power banks come with a glossy finish that looks beaten up after only a few days of gentle usage. In contrast, the Gembonics power bank doesn’t have to be handled with kid gloves. I really like how it looks, and I expect it will stay looking this nice for a very long time.

This product was provided for review by Gembonics.

Aug 24

BenQ GW Series GW2765HT 27-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor ★★★★★

BenQ GW Series GW2765HT 27-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor

First thing I see: inside the box is every cable we need to get started – power cable , DVI cable, audio cable, VGA cable, and . . . get this . . . an HDMI cable! Monitors almost never come with HDMI cables.

The BenQ Monitor is my third monitor in recent weeks. It’s the largest one I own. I have it next to another monitor in a dual monitor setup, using it as the primary screen, and I love it. It is huge. It is beautiful. I don’t have to squint to read. Everything is just that much bigger.

Besides the screen, the stand is extra fancy. The monitor can nod up and down. The neck can stretch higher and lower. It can even spin around into portrait position. The only thing it can’t do is look side to side.

Right now, I’m wishing the second monitor in my setup was as big as this. Every time I look at my screens, I’m reminded how much better the little one could be.

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

Aug 24

Soft Claws: 4 Adhesive Glues & 12 Applicator Tips ★★★★☆

Soft Claws: 4 Adhesive Glues & 12 Applicator Tips – Made in USA – Veterinarian Safe

The only thing I wish for the adhesive glues is that they come with more applicator tips. Twelve tips for four bottles is simply not enough. I buy 100 tips directly from the maker, because reusing the tips simply isn’t feasible. They get clogged up quickly, and it’s very messy.

Soft Claws adhesive is effective for gluing on my cat’s claw caps. They stay on until they shed off most of the time. I not only use the glue for her nails, I also quirt it anywhere I need sticking power. It’s like super glue.

Aug 24

Shrek the Third Valentine Cards ★★★☆☆

This review was originally posted January 13, 2009.

Shrek the Third Valentine Cards 32pk

Shrek the Third Valentine Cards are standard children’s Valentine cards. They are perforated cardboard cards of various sizes. Most of them are about 2 ½ ” x 4 ¼”. Tear them off, write on one side, fold them up and seal with a heart sticker. Most of them have Shrek images with the occasional special card that is 3 ½” x 4 ¼”, which contains a larger Shrek image. There are 32 cards in a box.

Aug 24

The Vietnamese Cookbook ★★★★★

This review was originally posted January 14, 2009.

The Vietnamese Cookbook (Capital Lifestyles)

by Diane My Tran

I don’t really describe myself as much of a cook. I generally can follow recipes, but I can’t do it from taste or experimentation. Most recipes I follow come out okay, but I always wonder if it was something I did wrong or if there was a secret ingredient left out, because they only turn out so-so and lack that punch. Not this cookbook.

Some things to point out:

* The photos are beautiful. Not all recipes have a photo to accompany them, though. Wish they did.

* The recipes are easy to follow, but if four-ingredient cooking is your thing, you will not find it here.

* Each recipe comes with serving suggestions.

* Every recipe I’ve tried has been a hit. No misses. A perfect blend of flavors.

For an authentic taste of Vietnam, try The Vietnamese Cookbook. Every recipe is sure to please.

Aug 22

Huawei Ascend Mate2 ★★★★★

Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G LTE Smart Phone – 16GB – 6.1” Screen – Quad Core – Factory Unlocked – US Warranty (Black)

I have never, ever heard of Huawei before, but what an impression it has made on me. Wow. The Huawei Ascend Mate2 is the largest smartphone I’ve ever had, maybe even the largest I’ve ever seen. I didn’t think they made them this big. It might even qualify as a small tablet.

My husband wondered who would ever want to talk on such a large phone. The truth is, I don’t talk on my phone so much as text, surf the web, and check my email . . . along with take pictures and listen to music. So how does it do? Before you find out, you’ll need to get a micro SIM card. It’s unlocked. I got one of those no contract cards (AirVoice) and it’s worked so nicely.


We can add a micro SD card, but it’s inside the case. I never skip a chance to add memory anywhere, so I put in a 32 GB card. It’s a cinch, but it would be more convenient if the card slot was external.


No problem. I’ve been using it over the past week and got used to the size. Calls are clear for both parties. No one ever has to ask the other person to repeat themselves.


With a screen this big, surfing is a dream. No squinting to read the pages, no zooming to see each word. I mostly surf when connected to Wi-Fi. There’s no lag or anything. It’s all smooth sailing.


Photos come out clear and videos are just fine. No 360° photos and none of that dual camera business, but it has most of the basic functions people want, like photo, video, panorama.


The speakers are located on the back of the phone, so turn it over to use it for music. Not bad for a phone, though. I don’t need to use a Bluetooth speaker unless I want to share the music with a crowd.


The screen is very responsive. It doesn’t hang. Clarity is excellent. It’s a great phone, I love it. Just make sure you have big pockets.

This product was provided for review by Huawei.

Aug 22

V7 Portable Power 4400mAh Battery ★★★★☆

V7 Portable Power 4400mAh Battery – White

The V7 4400mAh Battery is an attractive little power bank. It’s lightweight and fits nicely in a purse or pocket. There’s even a little LED flashlight for those moments when I just need to have one handy.

At 4400 mAh, it gave my HTC One M8 a 74% charge. That’s okay, I didn’t expect a full charge. On the other hand, I’ve seen better. My last 4400 mAh gave my phone a 92% charge, so I was slightly disappointed. It does have a nice form factor, though, and it definitely has enough juice to keep me out of a bind.

This product was provided for review by Ingram Micro.