Review: RAVPower’s Savior delivers 9000mAh of Apple-certified Lightning battery power at a great price

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RAVPower has done a great job of changing the traditional price-to-performance equation for Apple device chargers. Its two-, four-, and six-port wall chargers (reviewed here) are the best options I’ve seen at their price points, so it’s no shock that its Savior 9000mAh External Battery Pack (MSRP $100, street price $50) delivers great value, as well.

Equipped with wall blades for easy recharging, Savior combines a high-capacity 9000mAh battery with an Apple-certified Lightning cable, competing with similar accessories such as myCharge’s Hub 9000 — but for half the street price. Read on for why Savior is so easy to recommend, as well as details on the compromises it makes to keep its size and price down.

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Review: uNu’s DX-6 battery case more than doubles the iPhone 6’s power, with Apple certification (Video)

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I’m always up for reconsidering the “best accessory” in a given category when something new arrives, and after every year’s CES, the “best iPhone battery case” tends to change thanks to new arrivals. But even though many new options were shown at CES this month, none impressed us enough to take the crown away from Incipio’s $80 offGRID Express (review).

uNu’s new DX-6 ($80 MSRP, street price $70) is the latest to arrive for testing, and despite the company’s strength with multi-device USB battery packs, its iPhone 6 battery case doesn’t stand out in any way except pricing. The pitch is simple: if you want an inexpensive, Apple-certified 3000mAh battery case, DX-6 is your option. But you’ll give up some frills to get it …

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Review: Truffol Station 5 USB Charger

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We all have a ton of gadgets these days that are charged by USB, from iPhones and iPads to things as diverse as cameras, scanners and GPS units. The challenge can be finding enough USB ports to keep up, which is why I resort to a powered USB hub. It’s plastic and not exactly pretty, hence my interest in a rather beautiful-looking product from Truffol–the company behind the reversible USB cable we looked at last year.

The Truffol Station 5 is not a USB hub: there’s no socket to connect it to a Mac. It’s designed for one purpose only, and that’s to charge up to five USB devices at once. It differs from most other such devices in two ways: form and function …  Read more

Review: LaCie’s Mirror and Seagate’s Seven set new standards for Mac hard drive shininess, thinness

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Until last week, the list of companies making visually stunning external hard drives began and ended with one name: LaCie. Partnered with respected industrial designers including Philippe Starck, LaCie has released more drool-worthy accessories than any other company in the Mac space — and that’s saying something. Numerous design successes led to LaCie’s acquisition by hard drive manufacturer Seagate, and at the 2015 CES, their combination bore fruit: the LaCie brand now has another beautiful hard drive called Mirror ($280), and Seagate debuted a designer hard drive called Seven ($100) — the thinnest 500GB portable drive ever made.

Although they’re cosmetically different and arguably designed to suit different users’ needs, Mirror and Seven have a lot in common, so we’re looking at them together in this review. Read on for photos and our hands-on test results.

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Review: Duet, the app that turns your iPad into a Lightning-connected Mac monitor

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I’m a big-screen fan. It’s the reason my primary Mac is still a 17-inch MacBook Pro, and why I have that hooked up to a 27-inch Apple Thunderbolt Display when I’m in my home office. When travelling, though, I have fewer pixels to play with. Sure, I could get a 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, but I favor physical screen space over smaller screen elements.

There are existing apps out there, like Air Display, that let you use an iPad as a second monitor for a Mac, but they work via WiFi, which poses two problems. First, they often don’t work on WiFi hotspots, which you’re likely to be using when away from home. Second, even when they do work, there is an annoying amount of lag.

Which is where Duet comes in. Instead of using WiFi, it feeds the video signal from your Mac to iPad using a standard Lightning or 30-pin cable. Built by ex-Apple engineers, I figured it ought to be work well, so put it to the test …  Read more

Review: ZeroChroma’s Folio-Slide and Slide-Lid Keyboard expand iPad Air 2 stand, keyboard case options

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History suggested that iPad Air 2 cases would be far more numerous after January’s annual CES show, but due to unexpected production delays, there still aren’t many choices out there. But thanks to ZeroChroma, there are two largely bright spots on the horizon: a finished case called Folio-Slide for iPad Air 2 ($70), and an upcoming $100 version called Folio-Slide with Slide-Lid Keyboard, both of which I’ve been testing for the past week.

The basic version of Folio-Slide is the iPad Air 2-compatible sequel to the very best case I’ve tested for the original iPad Air – one I highly recommended in an iPad case and stand roundup last year. But this year’s version regrettably took a couple of design shortcuts in order to quickly reach the market, the details of which may or may not matter to you. On the other hand, ZeroChroma’s Slide-Lid Keyboard is a truly interesting new add-on that will really appeal to iPad Air and iPad Air 2 owners. Read on for all the details.

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Review: Incipio’s steel-pinned Trestle case makes iPhone 6 Plus unbendable

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Finding supposedly major flaws in new Apple products has become an expected part of the early review process — it’s now assumed that there will be a new “-gate” every year, legitimate or not. For the iPhone 6 Plus, the issue was “Bendgate,” as early adopters found that the 7.1mm-thin metal phone could be warped if sat upon or flexed in strong hands. Citing only a small number of complaints, Apple deemed Bendgate a non-issue, and sources dismissed claims that Apple had tweaked the design after initial release to strengthen its internal structure. But Apple Stores also replaced bent units without complaint, so long as the damage was determined to be unintentional.

While Bendgate was overblown, there are real-world situations where the iPhone 6 Plus can be subjected to warp-causing stresses — particularly inside pants pockets when sitting down. So Incipio has developed a solution called Trestle ($40) to solve the problem. Sold in all-black, frost and black, or frost and pink versions, Trestle uses twin steel bars to radically reduce flex potential. After a week of testing, I can tell you that it definitely works.

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Review: Escali connected bathroom & kitchen scales make dieting smart and simple

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If there’s one thing almost as certain as death and taxes, it’s the gastronomic over-indulgences during the holidays and the consequent new year diet needed to undo the damage. In my particular case, a temporary drop in my main form of regular exercise–cycling–didn’t help matters.

But if there’s anything that can provide that added incentive to lose the holiday pounds, it’s an excuse to involve some gadgets. Two new connected scales from Escali seemed tailor-made for the job, automatically logging both weight and calorie-intake to an iPhone app, so I decided to put them to the test …  Read more

Review: Olloclip’s Telephoto and Circular Polarizing Lens lets iPhone 6, 6 Plus users shoot 2X-magnified photos through glass

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Professional photographers rarely used iPhone cameras five years ago, but images produced by the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are – under the right circumstances – indistinguishable from dedicated point-and-shoots. The one thing iPhones always lack is adjustable lenses, so Olloclip has been remedying that omission with accessories including the 4-in-1 Lens kits for iPhone 6/6 Plus (review) and iPhone 5/5s. At the 2015 CES, it debuted a second option for the iPhone 6/6 Plus called the Telephoto and Circular Polarizing Lens ($100), which is based upon but also different from the previously impressive version for the iPhone 5/5s.

Just like the 4-in-1 Lens, the Telephoto version offers big steps forward in functionality over the prior 5/5s model. It now features support for the iPhones’ front and rear cameras, uses a new clip-based housing, and includes a separate storage compartment for the polarizer. Read on for our full impressions.

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Review: Mujjo Leather Wallet Case for iPhone 6/Plus

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Apple Pay may mean you need to carry far fewer cards around than before, but it’s not accepted everywhere, so the chances are you’ll still need to carry a physical card or two. But the great thing about dramatically slimming down the cards you carry is that you can also slim down your wallet and iPhone to a single unit using an iPhone wallet case.

Jordan picked the Mujjo Leather Wallet Case as one of his holiday gift recommendations, and I thought I’d put it to the test. Both iPhone 6 and 6 Plus versions are available in black, gray and tan, with a choice of two card-slot designs …  Read more

Review: Ultimate Ears’ larger Megaboom 360-degree Bluetooth speaker goes to 11

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At CES today, Logitech subsidiary Ultimate Ears (UE) announced its Megaboom Bluetooth speaker.  Yes, it is a bigger, louder version of the popular UE Booms. That means it comes with apps that do things like equalize, set alarms and pair to stereo, with new features added all the time. The Megaboom also shares the 100-foot Bluetooth range and ability to pair with up to 8 devices with its smaller sibling.

But the bigger and louder sound of the Megaboom also comes with some nice extras not found in the other models. Megabooms are waterproof like crazy (IPX7). Bring it into the shower. Knock it in the pool (the shallow end, anyway). NBD. The MegaBoom also has a whopping 20-hour battery life but still charges via MicroUSB. Smart.

The cost: $299 is a significant $100 premium over the Booms and $200 premium over the Mini Booms and you’ll lose some portability with the bigger size. These are big and heavy and they don’t fit in a cupholder.

But if you want the banging-est sound you can find from a portable Bluetooth speaker, your search is over. I’ve secretly been reviewing a unit since last year and it is all true. The sound fills up a room, day at the beach, picnic, bikeride or destroys a car. It even works as a nice desk speaker. As I hinted in my Best Bluetooth Speaker o the year list, the Megaboom is as good, if not better than the other best $300 Bluetooth speakers we’ve reviewed: Bose Soundlink 3, Beats Pill XL and Jawbone’s Big Jambox have met their match!

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Review: Incipio’s offGRID Express is the most affordable Apple-authorized iPhone 6 battery case

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If I had to choose one word to describe how Incipio’s past iPhone offGRID battery cases felt, it would probably be “svelte,” as they were all impressively thin and gently curved. Starting today, Incipio is shipping its first offGRID case for the iPhone 6, and it notably trades “svelte” for “edgy” design. Offered only in matte black, it’s called offGRID Express ($80), and Incipio claims it’s the first Apple-certified iPhone 6 battery case that’s actually available for consumers to purchase. This time, the back is somewhat angular, due in part to a larger battery pack than prior models, and the sides are equipped with the fancy metallic button protectors rival Mophie has only offered in its most expensive Juice Packs.

Incipio’s message is clear: by offering 3000mAh of power at an $80 price point, offGRID Express is practically daring Mophie – and any other Apple MFi-licensed manufacturer – to step up and take a swing at its value proposition. Yes, comparatively unknown vendors are selling cheaper options, and Tylt offers a 3200mAh, Apple-licensed alternative called Energi for $100, but offGRID Express actually matches it in recharging performance for a lower price. It’s positioned directly at consumers who care about both quality and cost, not just one or the other. Read more