Review: Brydge keyboard for iPad Air/2 — can this all-aluminum model beat the ClamCase Pro?

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One thing I love about 9to5Mac readers is how engaged they are in the comments. My review of the ClamCase Pro iPad keyboard case last month led to a lively discussion about the relative merits of that vs the Brydge keyboard, so I decided to give that a try for a retrospective shoot-out.

The Brydge Air is a slightly different beast to the ClamCase, being just a keyboard and not a full case. It still hinges shut in a laptop-like clamshell fashion, but there’s no rear protection on this one. That, as we’ll see, has both pros and cons …  Read more

Review: Anker’s Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2 brings reasonable pricing and smart design to Bluetooth typing folios

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I’ve tested almost every major iPad keyboard case since the first iPad was released five years ago, and still recall when companies charged $100 for greasy vinyl folios with terrible, squishy rubber keys. Thankfully, a lot has changed since then. If you’re willing to spend $100, you can get a much nicer iPad-holding case attached to a nearly great keyboard. Drop $130-$150 (or go nuts for $170), and you can get a metal keyboard that partially resembles a MacBook Air. Personally, $100 is the ceiling I’d ever be willing to pay for an iPad keyboard case, and I’d rather pay less. But unless you count discontinued models for prior-generation iPads, there aren’t many great options.

Anker is changing that. Its new Bluetooth Folio Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2 sells for a stunningly low $40, and just like the 25,600mAh Anker iPad battery pack I previously reviewed, it delivers remarkable value for its price point. As the product of strategic compromises, it winds up giving up only one thing I typically prefer — a complete iPad-holding frame — in order to offer an excellent typing experience for the same cost as a typical iPad case without a keyboard. Read on for the reasons why I’d recommend this over options costing three times the price.

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Review: CM4’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Q Card Cases are high-class wallets at affordable prices

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Our editors all have their favorite wallet cases for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus: Seth’s top pick is Pad & Quill’s Little Pocket Book, Ben’s fondest of Mujjo’s Leather Wallet Case, and up until now, my pick — based more on material quality than practicality — has been Twelve South’s BookBook. Each of these cases picks up where Apple Pay leaves off, carrying a handful of credit cards and a little cash for the (still numerous) times when wireless payments aren’t an option. But most of the cases haven’t properly balanced practicality and protection.

That’s where CM4’s Q Card Cases for iPhone 6 ($32-$40 at Amazon) and iPhone 6 Plus ($32-$40 at Amazon) come in. Their MSRPs are tied with the most affordable wallet cases I’ve previously seen for the new iPhones, combining the slim protectiveness of a TPU iPhone case with the look and feel of a leather wallet. While the standard $40 cases use realistic-looking faux leathers, CM4’s Limited Edition versions use genuine leather and pack-in simple plastic screen protectors for $60 each (iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus). Below, you’ll see why it’s hard to go wrong with any of the Q Card Cases…

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Review: Anker’s 2nd Gen Astro E7 triples any iPad Air’s run time with an insane 25,600mAh of power

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There are hundreds of external battery packs out there, and most of them are highly similar to one another: cosmetics aside, their capacities, features, and pricing tend to be predictable. Anker’s 2nd Gen Astro E7 ($80) is a complete outlier. It has the highest capacity of any external battery pack I’ve ever tested, yet it’s priced competitively with products that deliver half as much juice.

If you have an iPad or plan to carry your iPhone around without access to wall power, Astro E7 is as close to a must-have battery as I’ve seen. Delivered in efficiently designed, eco-friendly packaging, it quickly earned a place in my personal travel bag, for reasons I’ll explain below.

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Review: Sengled’s Pulse system combines LED lights and JBL-powered Bluetooth speakers (Video)

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Sengled’s Pulse LED light system is definitely a product I never thought would be a thing. The Pulse series is a system of LED lights with built-in speakers. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s something I never thought would need to exist. That being said, because it was so unique I figured it would be worth checking out and to my surprise, it’s actually pretty cool…

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Review: Truffol’s Intelli Classic iPhone 6 leather wallet case features RFID card protection

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Contactless credit and debit cards are only just starting to take off in the USA, but with Apple Pay driving merchants to introduce contactless payment terminals, you are increasingly likely to find that RFID symbol on your bank cards when you receive replacements.

We’ve had contactless cards in Europe for a few years now, and they’re even more convenient than Apple Pay for low-value transactions. For anything up to £30 ($46), you don’t need to verify the transaction in any way: just tap your card against the terminal. You can even do this without taking the card out of your wallet. (Bank guarantees protect you against fraudulent transactions.)

Convenient, that is, unless you have more than one contactless card in your wallet. This can either lead to the wrong card being debited or, more usually, cause the transaction to fail. Truffol has come up with an iPhone 6 wallet case specifically designed to solve this problem …  Read more

Review: Lenmar’s Maven Battery Case for iPhone 6 streamlines a familiar design, offers 112% extra power

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Featured in our guide to the best Apple device batteries, the one-of-a-kind MacBook external battery pack ChugPlug demonstrated that Lenmar knows how to make unique accessories. By comparison, Lenmar’s new Maven Battery Case for iPhone 6 ($100) isn’t quite as distinctive. It’s basically a softer-curved and more powerful version of the company’s iPhone 5/5s battery case Meridian, which makes it extremely similar to numerous rival iPhone 6 battery cases I’ve tested from other companies.

But with four color options, the ability to refuel itself at 2-Amp speeds, and better button openings than certain lower-priced competitors, the 3,000mAh Maven does have some merits. Here’s a more detailed look at what makes this case blend in and stand out…

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Review: A-Audio’s Icon over-ear headphones pack Bluetooth and active noise cancellation in a premium package

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These days, it seems like there is an endless variety of headphones to choose from. With new models popping up on a weekly basis, it’s hard to sort through the crowd to find the ones that fit you best. When it comes to active noise cancellation this elite selection thins out a bit, but there are only a handful that fall into the same category as A-Audio’s Icon over-ear headphones.

From a functionality perspective, these headphones give you everything but the kitchen sink. They can be used wirelessly via Bluetooth with active noise cancellation, in passive (wired) mode, and even feature dual sound profiles. Along with that, they include a wide variety of accessories that offer more than enough for any situation…

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Review: Speck’s CandyShell Grip + Inked offer ideal iPhone 6 Plus protection, funky looks

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I prefer to start iPhone case reviews with a photo showing the iPhone within a case, so you can immediately see how your device would look inside. For Speck’s new iPhone 6 Plus versions of the super-popular CandyShell, I’m doing something different, because the magic here is hidden inside the case. CandyShell’s one-piece, co-molded design — textured rubber inside with hard plastic outside — has been copied (and admired within the accessory industry) more than almost any case feature in the past five years. With military-grade drop protection and the ability to absorb scratches, CandyShells are the cases I’ve historically used to keep all of my personal iPhones in perfect shape, and I’ve loved them.

That changed with the iPhone 6 Plus. Until now, Speck didn’t have a plain old version of CandyShell available, so I switched over to Incipio’s thicker, steel-pinned Trestle. But Speck has just released CandyShell Inked for iPhone 6 Plus ($45, available for $37 and up based on color), joining the earlier CandyShell Grip for iPhone 6 Plus ($33 to $40, also color-dependent). Unlike the standard CandyShell, which still hasn’t been released for the iPhone 6 Plus, both of these cases are visually intense: Inked is offered in a handful of multi-colored versions, while the two-toned Grip adds extra rubber ridges to the back. If you’re looking for a super-protective and distinctive-looking case, one of these CandyShells should be at the top of your list.

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Review: Nomad’s NomadClip, NomadKey + NomadPlus are practical charging solutions for iPhones and iPads

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Lightning cables and battery packs are often so similar that I rarely have a strong preference for “nicer” alternatives over basic ones. But Nomad has been working to change that by creating practical charging accessories that you’ll actually want to carry around everywhere. Last year, it debuted the NomadKey ($25), which places a Lightning to USB cable on your keychain, as well as NomadPlus ($40), an iPhone battery pack that combines with Apple’s 5W USB Power Adapter to become an 1800mAh “anywhere” recharger.

Now it’s shipping the NomadClip ($40), which combines a super-sturdy carabiner clip with a Lightning cable. I’ll walk you through all three accessories below in this combined review.

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Review: Pad & Quill’s Bella Fino wallet case for iPhone 6/Plus combines beauty & protection

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I’m generally a minimalist where iPhone cases are concerned, preferring either the naked phone or a very slim case like the Mujjo wallet case that is my daily driver. But Pad & Quill’s leather cases are so gorgeous, it’s hard to resist trying out something a little more substantial.

The Pad & Quill Bella Fino is a pocket book style leather wallet case available for both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Designed for use in a jacket pocket, it combines all-round protection for the phone with slots for either four (iPhone 6) or five (iPhone 6 Plus) cards, plus a slot for bills …  Read more

Review: SwitchEasy’s Canvas returns as an affordable folio for iPad Air 2

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Every iPad since the original has had a SwitchEasy Canvas case, a series of folio designs that hit their apex back in 2013 with an uber-protective version for the original iPad mini. The formula’s always the same: a canvas lid and mostly canvas back, plus a plastic iPad-holding shell and a fabric lining. SwitchEasy always tosses in some goodies to sweeten the package, too, including screen film and a cleaning cloth. There aren’t many surprises, but a Canvas case is always a good case.

Arriving at a time when iPad Air 2 cases are still scarce, Canvas for iPad Air 2 ($50) doesn’t stray far from the formula. With an MSRP nearly $30 lower than Apple’s $79 iPad Air 2 Smart Case, it’s available in three color options, each with the standard three materials, and does a nice job of protecting Apple’s latest tablet. Read on for additional photos and details.

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