Review: Mophie’s Watch Dock elevates your Apple Watch with jewelry store-quality metal and leather

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As I noted in yesterday’s review of the Nomad Stand for Apple Watch, I wasn’t initially certain that the Apple Watch needed a dock, but actually using a Watch changed my mind: just as the Apple Watch Edition’s custom charging cases hinted, it’s best to keep metal or metal-accented Watch bands from rubbing against nightstands during charging, and even Apple’s fluoroelastomer Sport Bands tend to flop around when the Watch’s charging puck is connected. My guide to the best Apple Watch stands and docks spotlights many potential solutions, some of which are a lot more compelling than others.

Mophie’s Watch Dock ($60) is completely different in looks from the Nomad Stand, but their identical price points reflect one critical area of overlap: class. Each has the materials and design necessary to look great with everything from Apple’s $1,100 black stainless steel Apple Watch to the entry-level $350 silver aluminum Apple Watch Sport. Unlike the wide Nomad Stand, Watch Dock goes for height, combining black leather with a mostly aluminum stand that has a compact footprint. Thanks to its clean lines and manageable size, Watch Dock could easily become the retail Apple Watch display stand of choice when more watch and jewelry stores start selling Apple timepieces…

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What to know before you buy the Apple Watch w/ Milanese Loop band

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I decided on the Apple Watch with stainless steel Milanese Loop band for a few reasons, but not before considering the benefits and drawbacks of Apple’s entire collection of straps and bands for Apple Watch. Budget will in many cases guide your decision, but going for the Milanese Loop was a no-brainer for me. There are a few downsides of the band compared to others, however.

Here are a few observations I’ve made after wearing it for the last couple weeks, including little talked about pros and cons you’ll want to consider before purchasing the Milanese Loop for yourself. Read more

Review: Sennheiser’s ClipMic Digital is the perfect lavalier microphone for iPhone + Apple Watch (Video)

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Back at NAB 2015, I had a chance to meet with Sennheiser and take a look at their new ClipMic Digital. This is a professional grade lavalier microphone that connects to an iOS device via its Lightning port, not to mention the the first of its kind. I know most audio accessories for iOS claim to be “professional” quality, but this thing is no joke. It even compares to my $600 wireless lavalier kit from Sennheiser…

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Review: Nomad Stand for Apple Watch is the futuristic curved dock your smartwatch deserves

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Before the Apple Watch was released, I wasn’t sure that it needed a dock or stand — the included charger would be enough, right? But after actually using the Watch, and noting that Apple included a dock with Edition models, I realized that these accessories had a functional purpose: they kept metal and metal-accented Apple Watch bands from rubbing against nightstands during charging. Some of the dock designs also looked really cool. When I compiled our guide to the best Apple Watch stands and docks, a few definitely looked like objects I’d want to keep on my nightstand, while others definitely did not.

From the first time I saw it, Nomad’s Stand for Apple Watch ($60) stood out as particularly compelling. I have a thing for futuristic accessories, though they rarely have the right combination of looks and pricing. Inexpensive ones too often look kitschy or geeky, while nicely designed ones tend to be unaffordable. Nomad has struck just the right balance, coming up with an elegant design at a reasonable price…

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Review: Apple’s iPhone Lightning Dock plays nice with iPhones, cases, and even iPads

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Four years ago, I wondered why Apple sold such seemingly simple plastic docks for $29, so I cut two of them in half to see what was inside. I was impressed: in addition to a larger-than-expected collection of electronic components, they were filled with substantial zinc plates that kept Apple’s devices standing safely upright, no easy feat since the docks kept shrinking every year. The only problem: most (but not all) of Apple’s docks have been model-specific and case-unfriendly, issues that were particularly pronounced in the official iPhone 5s Dock and iPhone 5c Dock. When Twelve South released the handsome multi-device and case-compatible HiRise and HiRise Deluxe, many people — including me — had no need for a more limited, Apple-designed alternative.

Somewhat belatedly, Apple has just released the iPhone Lightning Dock ($39), its first docking solution for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. It’s not clear why Apple took its time releasing this accessory, which uncharacteristically has a 2014 date on the back of its box. But it’s the dock Apple should have released three years ago, delivering case compatibility, multi-device support, and the expected Apple minimalism. It has no back support for your iPhone, instead relying on a stiffened and modestly padded Lightning connector to hold your device on the traditional Apple light recline. And it also includes an audio-out port, which has been absent from all of its third-party rivals. Now that Apple has released the right sort of dock, should you consider buying one?…

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Review: Dotti & Notti, fun (if pointless) ways to receive notifications

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My conclusion in my Skeptic’s Apple Watch diary series was that the device didn’t really have a unique selling-point to me, but was a slightly more convenient way to receive notifications. Ultimately, though, I kept it because it was a cool gadget.

The same argument, I think, would have to be deployed to justify what are really a couple of fun toys that happen to alert you to notifications: Dotti and Notti …  Read more

Tylt’s Energi Sliding Power Case for iPhone 6 Plus, RIBBN charger satisfy larger devices’ battery needs

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While two dozen battery cases have been released for the iPhone 6, only a handful have become available for the larger iPhone 6 Plus, which can run longer without assistance. But there are definitely situations where even the iPhone 6 Plus can benefit from extra battery life, including international travel and occasional emergencies. And that’s why Tylt has released the Energi Sliding Power Case for iPhone 6 Plus ($100). It’s a true rarity due to its Made for iPhone certification, some unique features, and much better performance for the same price as Mophie’s Juice Pack for iPhone 6 Plus.

In what may well be a first for iPhone battery cases, Energi is actually being offered in two different widths, one billed as “2.9-inch” and the other as “3.3-inch.” They’re both sold for the same $100 price, but the 2.9-inch version has a 3,200mAh battery and the 3.3-inch model has a 3,500mAh battery. Another surprise: the model I tested with the 3,500mAh battery unusually boasts 2.1-Amp power output, which means the iPhone 6 Plus will recharge at its top possible speed. There’s more, too…

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Review: Apple Watch as a watch, a gadget, and platform (Video)

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Apple Watch has been out for over three weeks and I’ve been using mine now for most of that time, from the moment I wake up to just before bed each night. While my colleague Ben Lovejoy previously journaled his experience in his excellent “A skeptic’s Apple Watch diary” series, I’ve been sold on the appeal of Apple Watch since the first day I paired a Pebble smartwatch with my iPhone and discovered its potential…and potential pitfalls.

Apple Watch faces new limitations different than Pebble or traditional watches, digital or analog, but it’s arguably the best smartwatch for iPhone owners with the coin to drop. It’s usefulness depends largely on your own needs — in some cases that’s the need to tinker with a new gadget — just as its drawbacks depend on your priorities. Below I walk through my Apple Watch evaluation including what I think Apple gets right and where I feel Apple Watch can grow going forward, and don’t miss Dom’s own hands-on video review just below the fold as well.
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Review: Spigen Apple Watch Stand is a minimalistic charging dock at an affordable price

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Apple Watch charging stands are sure to be a popular item as the device needs charging nightly. Not everyone, however, needs a dock that costs more than the charging cable that’s sold separately, and accessory maker Spigen has an affordable alternative for them.

The $24.99 Spigen Apple Watch Stand S330 combines attractive aluminum and rubberized TPU to produce a minimal Apple Watch charging stand. It resembles the base of an iMac with a smaller footprint than other options and a price that won’t break the bank. Read on for my first impressions and hands-on photos with the Spigen Apple Watch Stand below.

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12-inch MacBook month review: A great new Mac if you manage your expectations (Video)

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For the last month, I’ve been using Apple’s new 12-inch Retina MacBook almost exclusively. There’s no denying that’s it’s underpowered when compared to other models on the market, but is its portability worth the performance sacrifice? Can you really get anything done with a relatively small display, an Intel Core M processor, and more importantly, zero traditional USB ports?

This won’t be an in-depth review of features and performance (check out Zac’s take on the MacBook for an in-depth look), but instead, I’ve mainly focused on my personal experiences over the month I’ve been using it. Does the Retina MacBook live up to the hype? Let’s go ahead and find out…

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Review: Twelve South HiRise for Apple Watch, a sturdy charging stand to showcase your timepiece

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With the Apple Watch released a few weeks ago and still making its way to customers around the world, Twelve South has started shipping its signature HiRise dock designed for any Apple Watch model. While the Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable offers a simple and convenient way of juicing the device even in the dark, the issues with Apple’s MagSafe technology still remain including an overly easy way to accidentally remove the charging magnet from the Apple Watch.

While HiRise still uses the same charging cable, its form factor helps alleviate the issue of your watch separating from the power source while offering a more attractive presentation of your Apple Watch. With its $50 asking price, though, how does Twelve South HiRise for Apple Watch stack up as one of the first charging stands? Read on for the details and more photos… Read more

Review: Mobee’s Magic Hub hijacks your iMac’s stand to add 3 hidden USB 3.0 ports, 2.1-Amp charging

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USB hubs are often hard to tell apart from one another: the Moshi iLynx 3 I reviewed here in February was the rare hub that actually matched the silver metal and black plastic look of the Macs it was designed to be used with. After an extended post-announcement delay, long-time Mac accessory maker Mobee Technology has finally released an alternative that uses two cool tricks to stand apart from all of its rivals: the Magic Hub ($50).

Five inches tall, 2.6″ wide and around 2″ thick, the Magic Hub is the first USB hub designed such that its physical characteristics are all but irrelevant. Mobee’s concept is to completely hide the Hub behind your iMac, filling the hole Apple left in the iMac’s stand using a screw-on clamp and a pass-through wall power port. Rather than requiring its own wall outlet for power, it hijacks the iMac’s power cable and passes power through both itself and your computer, powering four USB 3.0 ports in the process. If that sounds cool, read on…
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