Bluetooth portable conference speakerphone smackdown: Philips WeCall vs. Logitech P710e

Update: Check out the Harman Kardon Esquire which we reviewed in December 2014

As we begin to rely on our mobile devices for more and more of our business needs, I found myself needing a “portable Polycom” which would allow me to make quality speakerphone calls from my Mac or iPhone. Sure, the built-in speaker and mic are top notch on Apple products for their size, but I’d often have a hard time hearing what was on the other end of the line. Even more importantly, people couldn’t understand what I was saying, especially as I moved around.

I’ve decided to take a look at two similar solutions:  Philips WeCall ($150) vs. Logitech P710e ($140) pictured above… Read more

iPad Air Keyboard Smackdown: Latest cases from Logitech, Belkin, and ZAGG

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With its wide-range of applications, touchscreen capabilities, portability, and fast processing, the iPad Air has been regarded by many users as a tablet capable of content creation. Coming from a dedicated laptop, however, the Multi-Touch keyboard is a weakness. Not because it is incapable, but because it is sometimes slower to type with, less accurate, and less comfortable.

This is why several iPad accessory makers have created solutions: keyboard attachments in the form of cases. For the past few weeks, I have been testing the latest keyboard case offerings for the iPad Air from Logitech, Belkin, and ZAGG. Below, I have put together a review and comparison of the Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio, Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio, Belkin Slim Style Keyboard Case, Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case, and the ZAGG Folio Keyboard:

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Review: Ultimate Ears (UE) Boom and Mini Boom Portable Bluetooth speakers turn the volume up to 11…twice

Last year,  we took the best Bluetooth speakers we could find and put them head to head in one big ‘mega review‘. When all was said and done, the overall best in the field was the Ultimate Ears (UE) Mini Boombox which retailed for $99.  Since that time, we’ve reviewed plenty of others including new standouts like the $149  JBL Charge and the $199 Bose Mini Soundlink which we found to be fantastic, higher-priced alternatives.

A few weeks ago, Ultimate Ears dropped their prices on the Mini Boombox at retailers like Amazon and Best Buy and a new Mini Boom app hit the App Store. We reached out to Ultimate Ears on the matter and (long story short)  got ourselves the new UE Mini Boom demo units that launch this morning. How did they stack up against the competition and the previous versions?

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The search for the top App.net client

Welcome to 9to5Mac’s Smackdown series, where we compare the top hardware and software accessories for your Apple products.

App.net (or “ADN,” as many users have come to call it) was launched last year as an alternative to other microblogging platforms that had become more hostile to developers in recent months. The idea wasn’t so much about ripping off Twitter as it was about giving developers a friendly place to build cool apps and services. Rather than being funded by venture capitalists or advertisments, ADN was funded solely by the people using the platform. Users and app developers paid a yearly fee to get into the network or build on its API.

In the time since it was opened to the public, ADN has lowered their annual fee, introduced feature-limited, invitation-only free accounts, a cloud storage service, and more. Thanks to the developer-friendly atmosphere, many amazing iPhone clients have been released. In today’s smackdown, we’re going to put three of the most popular, fully-featured apps head-to-head to determine which one is the best.

If you want to give these apps a try, you’ll need either a free or paid ADN account. The free accounts are only available by invitation, but lucky for you we happen to have 400 invitations to hand out. Want to claim one? Just click this link and sign up. Once you get there, be sure to follow us.

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iPad keyboard case review smackdown: Logitech Keyboard Folio vs. Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case

iPad keyboards helped kickstart the move from content consumption on an iPad to creation. First there was the iPad dock which you could use in conjunction with a Bluetooth keyboard to get some serious writing done. But docks aren’t very portable.

Next came keyboard attachments – two of my favorites are from Logitech and Zagg – but they don’t offer much protection if you drop your iPad (in fact you may notice a slight crack at the top right of my screen there *ahem).

This week, both Belkin (Ultimate Keyboard Case. $99) and Logitech (Keyboard Folio $99) began selling keyboard cases that actually offer up some protection from falls.

(also check out the  ZaggFolio which also offers backlighting and comes in at $99-129. We’ll review that in the coming weeks).

I had a chance to put the two up against each other to find out which was the best and found out that it just isn’t that simple… Read more

The top third-party email clients for the iPhone

photoWelcome to 9to5Mac’s Smackdown series, where we compare the top hardware and software accessories for your Apple products.

When it comes to email on the iPhone, some users find the built-in Mail app lacking. Luckily, there are quite a few third-party clients available for your emailing needs. We’ll be running down all the major ones today, including those from the mail providers themselves and today’s big news Mailbox.app.

What you won’t find here are “apps” that simply give you the mobile web version of a mail service. If that’s what you want, you already have an app for that. If you want a native third-party email app for your iPhone, keep reading.

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Where is the best Twitter experience on the iPhone?

image by @surenix

Welcome to 9to5Mac’s new Smackdown series, where we compare the top hardware and software accessories for your Apple products.

If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly on some form of social media or another. You’re not a self-proclaimed “social media guru” or some kind of “expert” on getting people to follow you, just someone who enjoys talking to interesting people online.

For most of us, our network of choice is Twitter. But, when it comes to using Twitter while on-the-go, there is a ton of different apps to choose from. To help make this decision easier (and save you a few bucks in the process), we compared five of the most popular Twitter clients available for the iPhone.

Everyone uses Twitter for something different. The features you want may not be the same features I want. Whether you’re a long time iPhone user or just stepped into the world of iOS for the first time over the holidays, we have an app for you. If you’re a Twitter power-user, we got you covered. If you just want to read your timeline and keep up with your friends, there’s something here for you, too.

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