Reviews

Here we’re compiling our growing collection of reviews, articles, rants and raves on consumer topics.

These articles first appeared in other department directories. They are scattered all over the site. They remain in their original locations to avoid “URL not found” issues with bookmarks and search engines. This page is updated from the old “consumer.html” page, but has been pruned of obsolete articles and references.

Summitlake.com is not in the business of product reviews. We are not paid to praise or to condemn, so generally you will find reviews only on products we have purchased, that we found to be exceptionally good or bad. We post reviews to share our own consumer experiences of interest to the community. Reviews are ordered here roughly by article date. Dates are the most recent for which the posting had activity. Our rating system translates as follows:

Poor Show-stopper. We would never buy a product from this manufacturer again. Product and/or Customer Service experience were totally unacceptable.
Fair Severe reservations about product or manufacturer
Good Serves a niche purpose well but has one or more downsides
V.Good We are happy with this product and this manufacturer
Excellent We are delighted with this product and manufacturer
we award half stars for 1.5, 2.5, 3.5 and 4.5 star evaluations

 

Ratings revisions: We reserve the right to update our ratings based upon new discovery, or upon a change in the posture of the vendor or manufacturer. We are under no obligation to contact a vendor on “show-stoppers”. Generally, we feel that if a consumer has to spend evenings and weekends repairing damage, or fighting for a fair hearing, the consumer is wasting time, and risking catastrophic loss of hardware or the software installation. The manufacturer shares the responsibility for the entire purchasing experience, not just for the bad or problematic product. Service isn’t just part of what we expect when we buy a product that does not live up to performance claims. Customer service costs are factored into the product price, and we have purchased a right to expect fair remediation. A rating can go from a 3 to a 4 (for example, or vice versa) based on the disposition of a problem, but it would take a dramatic corporate disclosure or fix to improve a poor ‘1’ rating. Please be assured we will never change a rating unless new information quite obviously warrants a rating downgrade or upgrade.

 

POST DATE RATING ITEM Notes, Link to Review, Disposition
09/07/2011 Graphic Converter for Mac The best all-purpose image editing program I ever used:
Graphic Converter for Mac
07/21/2009 Barnes & Noble eReader This one has a long way to go:
Barnes & Noble eReader
07/05/2009 Acronis True Image Home 2009 One very creditable backup program:
Acronis True Image Home 2009
05/03/2009 JAlbum Outstanding photo album utility for desktop and web: Jalbum
 04/24/2009 RegCure Arguably our most unwise shareware purchase of all time: Short and Unhappy Life of RegCure
03/31/2008 CoolerMaster Cosmos 1000 The best computer case we ever purchased: CoolerMaster Cosmos 1000
11/23/2004 Super Flexible File Synchronizer For road warriors or any user trying to maintain current data across multiple machines or locations: we’ve found the ideal file synchronizer for our own household needs. Powerful and flexible, with an exceptionally clean and logical interface, this utility is also lightning fast. Our top rating. We recommend you give it a try. Review: Super Flexible File Synchronizer.
12/6/2003 Apricorn notebook HD upgrade kit Afraid to upgrade your notebook HD because you never did it before? Read this article: Apricorn Notebook HD Upgrade Kit
9/1/2002 Nikon D100 digital SLR Reviewing our newNikon D100 digital camera,in PHOTOS. This is digital’s “pro consumer” debut into Nikon’s single lens reflex camera family. Advanced features and price mean this equipment will never replace the family camera in most households, but serious 35mm fans who are looking for a move to digital without a compromise in quality may find that the time to move is here.
4/30/2002 DataDesk SmartBoard We review the almost-perfect SmartBoard keyboard from DataDesk. A well designed ergonomic keyboard by the makers of the legendary Mac 101E (also reviewed in this department).
4/28/2002 DataPort V A removable drive cartridge storage system for regular IDE and SCSI hard drives. By CRU. DataPort™ , our review: “Finally, a perfect backup system. A 5-star review of a hard drive data cartridge system that’s much cheaper than JAZ, usable when Firewire drives are not, and which holds a hundred times more data than the closest competitor, possibly with the hard drive you are using right now.”
2/9/2002 Dell Computer Arguably, our Dell 3800 Inspiron laptop was the most unpleasant consumer experience we ever endured. By far, our worst product investment and biggest financial loss. Dell Executive Support finally authorized an out of warranty repair, but it never should have gotten that far, nor taken that long. See Dell Customer Firewall. We upgraded from one to two stars, but Customer Care amd Tech Support generally remain severe obstacles in dealing with Dell. Letters still coming in from other 3800 users suggest this product may have been a “lemon”. Our recommendation: If you must buy a Dell laptop, buy Latitude, not Inspiron.6/2/2002: the entire laptop failed the next time we tried to use it. Sorry folks, this company is downgraded from two stars back down to one, and there it stays.
June 2001 DataDesk 101E Keyboard An excellent product, but this small manufacturer has not yet tapped the USB or PC keyboard market effectively. See DataDesk 101E.
April 2001 National Geographic DVD A wonderful adventure, but an expensive piece of obsolete software that doesn’t run under Windows 2000 and is no longer supported. See 110 Years of National Geographic.
2/1/2001 AlphaSmart 3000 Feature review. One of the most thoughtfully designed and useful writing tools I have ever purchased; highly recommended. See AlphaSmart 3000.
Nov 2000 Iogear MiniView KVM Switch We wrote a rave review on this item but it crapped out a few months after we posted the article. See KVM Switches.
Oct 2000 Elite Industries EL-509 Storage Unit (CD/Tape) One of the most delightful furniture assembly experiences we ever had. A great design. See Made In The USA.
07/26/1998 Kodak DC-260 Digital Camera Our first serious digital camera. A classic pioneer for its time. See Kodak DC-260 Digital Camera.

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