Mini-review: Oneadapter Twist/Plus World Charging Station (Video)

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Standardizing on USB was arguably the best thing ever to happen to gadget lovers. Instead of having an unholy mess of chargers cluttering up your home, you just need a few USB cables and something to plug them into. I’ve previously reviewed the Lightning Rabbit Triforce and Truffol Station 5 USB chargers, which offer stylish options for the home or office. We’ve also reviewed a bunch of others.

When travelling, though, I pack light. I tend to just charge everything from my MacBook Pro, which is convenient but doesn’t offer the fastest of charging speeds. The Oneadapter Twist and Twist Plus World Charging Stations are designed to overcome that issue, offering a combined USB charger and international plug adapter …  Read more

Review: Anker’s 60W 6-Port USB Charger is ready for your family’s iPads, iPhones, and Watches

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USB chargers aren’t sexy, but they’re critically important to iOS users — so vital that every iPhone and iPad arrives with a basic one-port charger in the box. Without USB recharging assistance, these devices would literally be dead after one day of active use. And the more Apple devices you (or your family) use every day, the more valuable a multi-device charging hub becomes. When I travel with my wife and kids, I can’t leave the house without a charging solution for everyone’s iPads and iPhones.

Up until two or three years ago, few families had five or six Apple devices. Moreover, early multi-device chargers were expensive: Griffin charged $100 for an early five-port charging station, and Bluelounge charged $100 for a four-port version. But that’s changing. iPads are cheaper than ever, iPhones are more ubiquitous than ever, and Apple Watches are about to add “one more thing” to the list of Apple devices requiring a daily charge. Thankfully, great multi-device chargers have become affordable; RAVPower’s Bolt 6-Port USB Wall Charger impressed me last year for $27, and a slightly less powerful version now sells for $25. Over the past week, I’ve been testing something even better: the most powerful home and travel charging hub I’ve ever seen.

Correctly billed as “family-sized,” Anker’s 60W 6-Port Desktop USB Charger ($36) features an intelligent power management system that lets any of its ports recharge any iPad, iPhone, iPod, or other USB accessory at its top possible speed, sharing 60 watts of power across them. You can recharge six iPad Airs or iPad minis at peak 10W speeds, or five older, power-hungrier third- and fourth-generation iPads at their peak 12W speeds. There’s no need to confirm that you’re using the right type of port for your device, as all of Anker’s ports self-regulate power up to 12W as appropriate. Read on for more details…

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Review: Anker’s Ultra Slim Battery Case for iPhone 6 offers a surprising mix of thinness, power, and low pricing

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I’ve learned over the years that there’s no such thing as an Apple accessory that’s perfect for every user. A design optimized for budget-conscious users will often turn off people who are ready to spend more for something fancier, and vice-versa. The best a company can do is to design, execute, and price products well for a particular segment of the population. Anker specializes in this — it focuses on creating very good to great accessories for value-focused users.

Its new Ultra Slim Battery Case for iPhone 6 ($60 on Amazon) is another example of that formula. Unfancy but more polished than similarly budget-priced rivals such as uNu’s DX-6, it’s not the most powerful or beautiful iPhone 6 battery case I’ve tested, but it does precisely what most users want: it more than doubles the iPhone 6’s power, doesn’t add much bulk to the device, and costs very little relative to most battery cases. Anker’s current $60 price tag would be competitive for an Apple-certified case on its own, but at press time actually includes this excellent, powerful six-port USB charger for free (use Amazon promo code FREE60W1). This bundle makes the Ultra Slim Battery Case the best overall value I’ve seen for iPhone 6 users, hands-down.

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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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