Reviews Archive

Lenovo Yoga 900S Review: Blogger’s Dream?

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LenovoYoga900sReviewIt’s been a while since I reviewed my last notebook, and now my Sony VAIO is slowly dying.  It takes forever to startup sometimes.  Basic internet surfing pauses frequently.  Black spots have started to appear on my display.  It’s time for a replacement, but like last time, it’s so hard to find the perfect one.

I really wanted to love the 2016 Apple Macbook.  It was a top contender.  But it’s relatively expensive.  And there’s no touchscreen.  And minimal connectivity.

I also liked the Microsoft Surface Pro 4.  The base model was in my price range and the display is beautiful, the best one I’ve seen in this class.  I just wasn’t completely sold on the kickstand and typecover arrangement.

The new HP Chromebook 13 is a relative bargain.  The Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Tablet also looks very interesting.  Neither of these was available when I was buying.  So what’s the ideal portable for this blogger, to be used mostly for home office applications, internet publishing and surfing the web?

I had a few requirements:

  • Fanless.  For quiet rooms or when wife is asleep.
  • Laptop.  Actually comfortable on a lap when needed.
  • Backlit keyboard and/or touchscreen to work in low light.
  • Lightweight and portable.

Just these requirements weed out a huge number of systems.   Finding one with enough power to avoid slowdowns was tougher, as this eliminated most older and lower priced models like the Surface 3.  My VAIO lacks this power, lacks a backlit keyboard, lacks a touchscreen and has a quiet but audible fan.  It’s a 13.1″ notebook that weighs about 3 pounds, and that is about the limit I would accept for its replacement. Finding something that checks all the boxes isn’t easy.

yoga900s2Thanks to the miracle of other bloggers, I happened upon the Lenovo Yoga 900S-12ISK.  It not only met my requirements, but had a few bonuses, too:

Jack of All Trades? A Review of the Safety 1st Continuum 3-in-1 Convertible.

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Out of the box glory!

Out of the box glory!

Remember back in the day when our choices for birth to booster seats were very limited, and quite frankly, pretty awful? It’s totally amazing how much has changed, and how many choices we have regardless of budget and scenario. Dorel/Safety 1st has released several of these budget-friendly seats and the Continuum is one of them. It’s basically a budget version of the Safety 1st Grow and Go Convertible with slightly lower height/weight limits. You can buy the Safety 1st Continuum for less than $120!

Let’s get to the basics first before touching on the more juicy details.

Height and weight limits:

  • Rear facing: 5-40 lbs. and 19-40 inches or when the head is above the top of the headrest
  • Forward facing: in harness mode 22-50 lbs. and 29-45 inches (and a minimum of 2 years of age!)
  • Belt positioning booster: 40-80 lbs. and 43-52 inches (and at least 4 years old!)

Continuum Features:

  • No rethread harness (except in newborn mode) that also adjusts the headrest
  • 3 crotch buckle positions (only the first two positions are permitted for rear facing use)
  • 3 recline positions (2 for RF; 1 for FF and booster mode)
  • Harness holders to keep straps out of the way when your child enters or exits the seat
  • Removable, dishwasher safe cup holder
  • FAA certified for use in airplane with 5-pt harness
  • 10 year life span before expiration!

Measurements:

Graco Tranzitions Combination Seat Review

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Tranzitions ProofMy son, like most four year olds, had a few specific items he wished for Christmas this past year.  But unlike most four-year olds, he was pleased with his gift of a new 3-in-1 combination carseat, the Graco Tranzitions!

Carseats are not a regular gift given in our home, but it seemed appropriate this year for a few reasons. For one, his convertible car seat was going to be passed down to his little sister. Secondly, he needed a very narrow seat when a new baby brother boots him to the 3rd row between his two older booster-using brothers. And so, on Christmas morning, my four year was correct when he guessed that the oddly wrapped, chair-shaped package with his name on it was, in fact, a new car seat! Luckily, upon opening this unconventional and totally practical gift, the sleek all-black design, TWO cupholders and extra padding did not disappoint him!

Tranzitions Weight & Height Limits:

  • Forward-facing with 5-pt harness: 22-65 lbs.
  • Highback Booster: 30-100 lbs.
  • Backless Booster: 40-100 lbs.

Features:

  • No-rethread harness with 8 height positions
  • Dual cup holders (outer plastic portion can be dismantled if space is more important than a functioning cupholder)
  • Machine washable cover
  • Optional body cushion and harness covers
  • Open loop shoulder belt guide for high-back booster mode
  • Lifespan is 7 years from date of manufacture

Tranzitions Proof Tranzitions Frills

2016 Subaru Forester Review: Safety and Performance

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Subaru Forester StockI keep hearing such good things about the Subaru Forester: It gets a 5-star rating in government crash tests, and it’s an IIHS Top Safety Pick+, so it’s hard to beat for safety. Forester owners I’ve talked to seem to love theirs. I wanted to try it out for myself, though, especially since my husband and I are in the market for a secondary car to replace our existing Honda Civic. Could the Forester be a contender?

Here’s a quick video overview, with more detailed information below.

Vehicle Features and Driving

I drove the 2016 Subaru Forester 2.5i Limited for a week. As I’ve mentioned in other vehicle reviews, I’m not a “car person” in the sense that I know a lot about fuel injectors or rear suspension. But I do know what I like, and I like a vehicle that feels responsive, as the Forester does.

First, this thing has amazing acceleration. I’d barely touch the gas pedal and it would take off—but not in a bad way. It was nice knowing I could pull out into traffic without worrying about my engine lagging behind. I didn’t do anything crazy, but it handled turns nicely, too. I’m not the kind of person who typically says, “Wow, I really enjoyed driving that,” but I really enjoyed driving that.

Forester EyeSight

EyeSight Cameras on either side of center windshield

The safety features are a big consideration with the Subaru. Foresters equipped with Subaru’s EyeSight technology earn the IIHS Top Safety Pick+. (Foresters without EyeSight are still a Top Safety Pick, just not a “plus.”) EyeSight technology is available on mid-level trim options, which is nice considering that some manufacturers offer similar safety packages only on their top trim levels.

EyeSight includes a frontal crash avoidance system that alerts drivers (through a sound and a dashboard light) when they get dangerously close to a vehicle or object in front of them. If necessary, the vehicle will apply the brakes to avoid or minimize a collision. Also included with EyeSight is a lane departure warning. If the vehicle detects dedicated lanes in the road, it can alert drivers when they veer over the lines.

The warning systems in the Forester seemed a bit more subtle than in some other cars I’ve tested. They’re still noticeable but not startling.

The Adaptive Cruise Control, which allows you to set your speed but then slows down or stops the car based on traffic ahead of it, worked perfectly the few times I tried it out. You can adjust your following distance (close, far, or in between) to your preference.

The only feature the Forester lacked that I would have appreciated is a blind-spot detection/avoidance system.

Subaru ForesterOne other nice safety feature of the Forester was adaptive headlights. My husband took the car out at night and came home to report that the headlights were flashing on and off. After doing some research, we realized it was actually the fog lights. When the headlights are on and the car turns or goes around curves, the fog light on that side of the vehicle lights up to give the driver a better view and a bit more reaction time in case something is around the bend. We were surprised that even just a slight turn of the steering wheel would activate the lights—it worked even on very subtle curves in the road, not just on tight curves. I wouldn’t say the feature was distracting, per se, but it was unusual for us. I’m sure it’s the kind of thing we would have gotten used to and not even noticed after a while.

The Forester’s fuel economy is 24 MPG city/32 MPG highway, for a combined MPG of

Car Seats and Kids