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These days, shoppers have a slew of options for finding merchandise online. Whether they order direct from retailers, or seek out third-party sellers, consumers have the ability to do their homework and find exactly what they need, from convenience to price to quality. For those seeking convenience and speed, Amazon is a great place to get your goods. Their Prime membership including free, two-day shipping is increasingly popular, and Amazon continues to make headlines as a direct threat to the convenience of big box stores. However, if your priority as a shopper is a great deal, you probably have to look elsewhere. Two places you should look are the main players in discounted goods—eBay and Quibids. The former is a longtime veteran of the web. The latter is a recent upstart with an interesting bidding model. Let’s compare the two bargain hunting sites across 6 key questions and see which one comes out on top.

1. Who has more deals?

Quibids entire pricing model is built on penny auctions. Each bid costs 60cents, but you are only raising the bidding price of the item by one cent at a time. This way, you can time your bids however you choose, with a live look-in on how many people are actively bidding on the item, so you can maximize your potential discount. Built into every auction is a “Buy Now” feature, which allows you to get the item right away after simply paying the difference between your bidding cost and the value of the item. Conversely, eBay has recently steered away from its days as an auction hub. Many more of its items are now “Buy It Now” only, without any chance to get a steal-of-a-deal through an auction. With fewer and fewer auctions, eBay is becoming a less enticing option for finding the deal you want.

Winner: Quibids

2. Who is more trustworthy?

Everything on Quibids is sold directly by them, achieved through overstock from distributors and manufacturers. As a BBB accredited business, you can be fairly confident that if you purchase an item, you will receive that item in brand new condition in a timely manner. eBay invites a large population of independent merchants to sell their goods on their site. It’s important in this case to verify their consumer rating and read any negative reviews left on their profile by dissatisfied customers.

Winner: Quibids

3. Who has a broader variety of merchandise?

The same feature of independent sellers that nags at a consumers trust when buying from eBay, is the same feature that works to eBay’s advantage in this case. With so many independent merchants, eBay trumps Quibids with its diverse offerings. If you have an obscure item that you simply can’t find anywhere else, your best chance of finding it is with eBay.

Winner: eBay

4. How does bidding work?

Both eBay and Quibids have automatic bidding options, which comes in handy when you have other pressing matters to attend to besides clicking a mouse. The main difference is that while Quibids has a maximum number of bids that you can autoload, eBay has a maximum price that you commit to pay if the auction reaches it. In this way, it’s more benefical to know your cost ceiling and then walk away, which is why eBay has the more favorable automated bidding system.

Winner: eBay

5. Who has better price stability?

With the ability to compare prices of the same product from different sellers, eBay provides consumers with the tools to zero in on an expected price for any given item. This way, consumers have a good sense of whether they got a bargain or not, relative to other identical transactions on the site (with sellers essentially stabilizing prices through natural competition).

With Quibids, it’s a lot harder to know how much you’ll end up paying for an item. During a recent auction, we noticed a memo line that states how much the item has been purchased for recently, with wildly varied numbers, from $0.08, to $14.00, to $36.95. The way the bidding structure works, it’s very hard to know exactly how much an item will sell for at any given moment.

Winner: eBay

6. Are there additional ways to save?

With eBay, there isn’t much else besides looking for the best deal or lucking out with one of the fewer and fewer auctions around. With Quibids, there’s a way to actually win additional bids through a thing called, “Gameplay.” Many auctions have Gameplay packages attached to them, and if you win one, then when you play the online game, it translates your score into free bids that you can use on actual items. With the Gameplay feature, there are additional ways to save money and earn purchasing power on the site for free.

Winner: Quibids

Verdict: TIE!

eBay: 3 Quibids: 3

Both eBay and Quibids have their pros and cons, as they both operate very differently. If you’re at all interested in getting good deals online, then we recommend trying out both sites to see which one fits your style and shopping needs the best. It’s an interesting online landscape, and these two players have certainly found unique ways to benefit bargain-hunting shoppers.

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With so many vacuum cleaners on the market it’s hard to tell which vacuums suck and which ones do not do a great job picking up dirt and dust. From customer reviews and personal recommendations, we’ve heard great things about the Dyson DC65 Multi Floor vacuum cleaner. So we decided to compare the Dyson vac with two other vacuum cleaners: the new Hoover Air Cordless and the Samsung Motion Sync. Here’s how they stacked up:

Dyson DC65 Multi Floor Vacuum Cleaner

dyson dc65 animal

The PROS:

If you’ve been vacuuming with cheap dust-busters, the first time you use the Dyson DC65 will be pleasantly alarming. The DC65 will pick up so much dirt and dust you’ll be surprised your carpet is still sticking to the floor. What would normally take a few attempts, the Dyson DC65 cleans in one pass. The canister and filter are both easy to clean. The vacuum is also easy to maneuver, light and nimble.

The CONS:

The price is the major roadblock, and the cost goes up for each additional attachment. If you can spend that money on a vacuum, however, it’s worth spending that money on the DC65.  Pet owners might also have to consider the pricier model, The Dyson DC65 Animal.

Hoover Air Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

hoover air cordless

The PROS:

The Hoover Air Cordless has significantly better suction than most cordless models. The brush has a separate on/off switch from the vacuum’s main power switch to vary your cleaning options. It comes with a handy headlight to illuminate darker corners. The battery charges quickly and each charge can last for nearly an hour of use.

The CONS:

The Hoover Air Cordless operates under the banner of “great for a cordless.” While it does excel for a battery powered machine, ultimately the suction and design is less than ideal. The suction is significantly less and its canister capacity about half the size of the other two models. 

Samsung Motion Sync Vacuum Cleaner

Samsung motion sync

The PROS:

The Samsung Motion Sync looks great. Its sleek canister, with a capacity of 2.2 liters, is the largest of the pack.  While not as strong as the DC65, it’s a powerful vacuum. Its built-in handheld vac is a great addition.

The CONS:

The Motion Sync is heaviest and hardest to maneuver vacuum we reviewed. The brush easily gets stuck while cleaning carpet surfaces and needs to be reset. Beyond the built-in hand vac feature, the Motion Sync seems very much indebted to similar Dyson models without the ease of use.

The Verdict:

We’re going with the Dyson DC65. It’s superior cleaning power is in a category of its own and it’s design allows for excellent maneuverability without sacrificing performance. It’s definitely a high-end vacuum, but the DC65 won’t leave you disappointed like the other models might.

While our minds are made up, be sure to take a look at the chart below and see which vacuum matches up best with your needs.

Dyson DC65 Review Table

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Via Amazon

Anyone sitting in a chair for 8 hours a day can tell you how vital the comfort of that chair is. Nitpicking about the details of a seat back, how far it reclines, how stiff or not it is, whether or not the armrests are adjustable, etc. might seem absurd to someone that teaches for a living or manages a restaurant, but to us computer staring folk, the chair is the end-all be-all. It must empower us, energize us, encourage impeccable posture, and all while providing the up-most comfort. I know that is a lot to ask of a piece of furniture, and there is an uncomfortable amount of overlap with the role our mothers play in our lives. … I know.

I should first establish my firm belief that mesh beats all. Mesh office chairs don’t learn the shape of your backside and cradle you into the worst sciatic pain of your life. No, mesh gives you just the amount of curvature your body weight earns, while still resisting and providing the support your lower back needs. Mesh also maintains a cool temperature, while traditional chair materials create pockets of heat that promote back pain.

Most would argue that Herman Miller makes a mean mesh swivel chair. The Aeron is a top rated fan favorite, and happens to be the first chair to have lost its foam. Kudos to Aeron and its innovative designers, but it isn’t my top choice these days.

The Metrex Mesh office chair has learned from its trail blazing predecessor. All the same features as the Aeron (mesh, posture friendly design, adjustable height, adjustable armrests, adjustable recline) with a few added bonuses. In the Metrex design the legs the wheels roll in have rubber grips on the tops of them (as seen in photo… if squinting eyes and looking closely). These grips are wonderful if you prefer to tuck your feet underneath you, instead of outstretching them underneath your desk. There is also more space between the armrests and the actual seat, so if you happen to like the occasional cross-legged position there is plenty of room to fold your legs under. Finally, the reclining feature. Like most office chairs, the Metrex offers an adjustable recline. Unlike most though, the recline resists just the right amount so that the chair gives you the break you’re asking for (go ahead… stretch on back), but reminds you to straighten up soon.

Metrex is available on Amazon, but I bought mine at Costco (for less than half the price).

 

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Watching TV shows on TV is fine.
But using streaming services on computers and mobile devices is so much more convenient. You can watch any show at any time with a click of a mouse.

Here at The Foundist, however, we’re even over watching TV on computers. We’re on to the next, groundbreaking thing: Watching TV on computers on TV. That’s why we decided to take a look at the Roku 3— one of the leaders of streaming devices. To get a fuller perspective, we decided to compare the Roku 3 with two other similar devices: Amazon Fire TV and Google Chromecast. Let’s see how they stack up.

Roku 3

PROS:

Roku 3, like the other two devices, is incredibly simple to use. Plug it into your TV, connect it to the internet, and you’re watching whatever you like on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and WatchESPN. Roku 3 specifically has over 1,000 channels in addition to the old stand-bys. There’s even a cross-platform search so you can find the shows and movies you want to watch… wherever it is.

The Roku 3 is lightning fast with almost no noticeable lag. The interface has been updated and is a breeze to navigate through as well.

Roku 3’s remote is simple and easy to use. There’s a headphone jack right on the remote for private listening and watching which comes in handy much more often than you’d think.

CONS:

The remote has a motion-sensor but with very few gaming options, there isn’t much use for it at the moment.

If you’re interested in watching or listening to anything from your personal library, Roku doesn’t make it easy to do.

Amazon Fire TV

amazon-fire-tv

PROS:

Amazon has a large and dependable roster of apps and programs to make sure you can watch your favorite shows and movies. The gaming library is much more extensive than Roku.

CONS:

It greatly favors content from Amazon Instant, and because you basically need an Amazon Prime subscription, you’ll keep paying for your purchase long after the initial $99.

Google Chromecast

googlechromecast

PROS:

It’s super cheap and it works very well. It may not have the  selection that other devices have, but it can also cast your computer screen on your TV. Anything that plays on your laptop will play on Chromecast. You can also still use your computer while the Chromecast is streaming.

CONS:

It’s very limited and dependent on your other devices to run. If you choose to cast directly from your computer screen there are two drawbacks. The screen can only be visible in 720p and there’s a slight time lag between the two screens.

The Verdict

All three are dependable, but The Roku 3 is the superior device with the best variety and interface. If you’re only going to use a streaming device to watch Netflix on the big(ger) screen though, you can’t beat Google Chromecast for doing the job effectively and cheaply. It all depends what you’re looking for.

Take a look at the comparison chart below to see which device best works best for you.

Roku 3 review table

 

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Most times, when we snap a pic, we see all the potential in the raw material but need tools to get it there. Enter photo editing market, generation mobile. Of these top eleven photo editing apps, the Google made Snapseed takes our Android breath away.

Unlike the iOS app Camera+, I can’t claim that Snapseed is super user-friendly. It takes a little patience to familiarize yourself with the full extend of this app; reading through the tutorial is strongly recommended! But if you do decide to make some time for it, getting to know Snapseed is well worth the Instagram likes to come.

Our favorite features on this gem:

  • Tune Image controls several aspects of a photo’s overall composition. Brightness, ambiance, contrast, saturation, and white balance are all improved through this feature. So the dull from the “Before” snapshot is brightened and crisped to likable perfection.
    From the Google Snapseed Support webpage

    From the Google Snapseed Support webpage

  • The Center Focus feature does what it sounds like it does—it draws attention to the central object of the photo by focusing on it. There are several settings available for different style “blurs” you can use, so that like a paint stroke, you strategically blur parts of the photo to bring attention to the object.
  • Best for last, the Selective Adjust feature uses award-winning U Point technology that makes selecting sections of a photo intuitive and less time consuming. Simply point to the part of the composition you’d like to enhance and the tool selects it for you. No need to spend time tracing with your finger to crop out that section anymore.

Oh, and did I mention it’s free?

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Dr. Dre is a very rich man. He’s even more of a rich man than he was a few months when he was still a very rich man. In May Apple announced it was buying Beats, the best selling headphone company, from Dre and Jimmy Iovine for $3 billion dollars. Now, without having any time to pick out a decent yacht or seven, they’ve released a brand new pair of headphones: Beats Solo².

The Solo² is the successor to their wildly popular on-ear model, Beats Solo. While the Solo² isn’t made exclusively for billionaires, its $200 price tag is still a hefty cost. That’s why The Foundist is finding out if these new Beats are worth the bill. 

How It Looks

The Solo² has a slick, new redesign with a curved headband and fancy upholstery around the earcups. It comes in pink, grey, black, white, red, and a particularly sweet shade of blue. While the predecessor was iconic and stylish in its own right, the Solo 2 is a definite improvement.

How It Feels

The overall feel of the new headphones are natural and comfortable. The upgraded earcups fit more snuggly but keep your ears from getting too hot. While its more flexible headband is an improvement, some people may still find it uncomfortable for longer periods of use. Dre fans with weak necks can breath a sigh of relief though, The Solo² is a little lighter than the clunky original.

How It Sounds

Compared to older Beats models this is a huge improvement. Never the choice of the audiophile, Beats have traditionally sacrificed a full range of sounds and tones to boost the bass. Treble would pretty much disappear. Hi-hats would sound a room away. If you braved listening to non-bass heavy genres like folk or bluegrass, you were better off listening through laptop speakers. The Solo² is a huge step towards a well-rounded sound. It may not compare to other brand’s studio-quality headphones but the sound finally matches the price.

The Verdict

The new Beats Solo² look fantastic, feel pretty good, and sound alright. It’s a step in the right direction and a massive improvement, but ultimately you’ll be paying for how you look while listening to music that could sound better for cheaper.

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The young Lord Instagram, mighty adopted son of the great Lord Facebook, rules over the mobile lives of a global kingdom. We take photos of everything. We take photos of our meals, our new outfits, our cars, our meals, nature, our meals, skylines… you name it, it is living somewhere on the land of Instagram. And like in any reality based realm, we like to look our best. On the mobile app, that means photo editing. While Instagram is technically a photo editing app (where the endgame is to share your finished product), there are a slew of others that have come to market in recent years for those of us that want more than a Sutro or Earlybird filter. Some of these apps are free, some aren’t. The price isn’t necessarily indicative of an app’s awesomeness. Of the top thirty apps buzzing the scene today, we chose Camera+ as our favorite photo editing app for amateurs and pros alike that are employing Apple.

Camera+

Priced at a reasonable $1.99, Camera+ is an all-Instagramers favorite. “Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or someone who’s barely touched a camera, Camera+ will make you love taking photos…” That is, without a doubt, a heavy handed way to hype yourself up. I’ll disagree with the wording “make you love taking photos.” I don’t feel imposed on or ruled over (okay, okay, the metaphor ends here); I feel invited. Camera+ is user-friendly. The interface feels natural to interact with. For instance, the Touch Exposure and Focus features hardly need pointing out. If you’re second nature is to touch the photo first—which for any Instagram user that is the case—then you’ll find that you can set exposure separately from focus. The Grid, Flashlight for brightening, and Digital Zoom are all familiar enough to those of us interested in tweaking our shots. It is the Shooting Modes, and that aforementioned Touch Exposure and Focus feature, that set this app apart from the masses. Shooting Modes gets your phone as close to a traditional camera as possible. Set the Stabilizer to steady your phone for the crispest shot imaginable; set the Timer the way you would to shoot a family portrait; set Burst for quick-fire streamlets of pics that work great in any active / sports scenario. Camera+ turns any iPhone into the original Olympus family outing camera, 21st century edition.

Camera+ is available fore iPhone and iPad.

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Ah, the diner. Some of the more pivotal scenes in television and film have been set in quaint diners with muted lighting, classic booth...