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

candyshellinked-1z

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.

Read more

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

nomad-1

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.

Read more

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

pad-and-quill-4

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

canvas-air2-1

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.

Read more

Review: Incipio’s new Clarion, Faraday & Tuxen folio cases offer three small twists on iPad Air 2 protection

clarion-faraday-tuxen-ipad-air-2

Having reviewed hundreds of different models over the years, I can say with some authority that iPad cases are rarely “exciting.” Early on, Apple established the folio — a lidded sleeve with the ability to stand upright for videos — as the de facto standard for iPad case design, and perhaps half of all the iPad cases since then have followed the same general theme, differing more in materials than functionality. Incipio’s latest designs for the iPad Air 2 are all small riffs on the same idea: fabric lids connected to plastic iPad holders, varying more in the particulars than the broad strokes.

We’re taking a quick look today at three cases: Clarion ($35), Faraday ($40), and Tuxen ($50). Despite their varied MSRPs, they can all be had for between $31 and $33 through Amazon, with some color options going for higher prices. Functionally, they’re very similar to one another: all three support both video and typing angles, protect most of the iPad against scratches and dings, and use magnets to automatically turn the iPad’s screen off or on when it’s closed or opened. Read on for what makes them different from one another…

Read more

Review: Hyper’s new Pearl is a compact, LED-lit mirror that can fully recharge the iPhone 6

pearl-2

It’s not easy to create a legitimately novel accessory these days, and it’s even harder to sail smoothly through a crowdfunding campaign to bring one to market. Sanho — better-known as Hyper thanks to a popular line of battery products — spent much of 2014 preparing to release a female-friendly combination compact mirror and USB battery pack, using both Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns to raise funds for its production. After making a public splash at the 2015 CES alongside the new (and world’s smallest) laser pointer iPin, the mirror-battery Pearl ($40) is now shipping to customers.

The result — a 3.6″-diameter circular double mirror with a 3000mAh battery underneath — has been finished with silver, gold, or red glossy metallic exterior paint, and a white LED light ring inside. In short, it’s an elegant and welcome option for female iPhone users, delivering a combination of solid build quality and good value for the price.

Read more

Review: iBattz’ Refuel Invictus battery case lets you swap 3200mAh cells for 127% iPhone 6 charges

refuelinvictus-3

Like most things, the title of “best iPhone 6 battery case” is subject to change whenever something new and great shows up to challenge existing options, and as the iPhone 6 is still young, we’re expecting a lot of jockeying for position over the next few months. The latest real contender comes from iBattz, maker of some of the best iPhone battery cases I’ve tested. Refuel Invictus for iPhone 6 ($100, aka Mojo Refuel Invictus) is the first iPhone 6 case to include a great feature from some earlier iPhone 4/4S and 5/5s cases: removable, replaceable batteries.

Using solely the items in its own box, Refuel Invictus delivered the largest recharge I’ve seen yet for the iPhone 6: 127%, or a full recharge plus an additional 27%. That might be enough to justify the asking price for some people. But you can also add a second battery and external USB charger for $25-$30 more. If you’ve been hunting for a slim battery case that can keep your iPhone running endlessly, this might be the most cost-effective way to do it.

Read more

Review: ClamCase Pro case for iPad Air 2 – a premium keyboard case with a premium price

clamcase-pro-1

At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re looking at some kind of ultra-small MacBook Air on the right, next to my MBA 11. It’s actually my iPad Air 2 in the ClamCase Pro keyboard case that combines all-round protection with a near-laptop-quality keyboard.

I’m testing here the case for the iPad Air 2, but there are other models for the iPad 2/3/4, previous iPad Air and iPad mini …  Read more

Review: Cellulon’s PicoPro is an iPhone 6 Plus-sized, battery-powered HD projector

picopro-1

I grew up with a front-projector TV the size of a coffee table, later owned a rear-projection TV that was somewhat larger than an adult bicycle, and have since tested projectors shaped like DVD players, Mac minis, and iPhone cases. Pico projectors — generally small enough to fit in pockets — typically struggle the most to prove their practicality. Projectors generally need big, powerful lightbulbs to be seen in anything but the dimmest of rooms, and the smaller they are, the worse they tend to be, particularly as they move further from the surfaces they’re protecting on.

Korean developer Celluon — the company behind breakthrough laser keyboards that can create typing surfaces anywhere — is now trying its hand at pico projectors, and I have to admit that I’m far more impressed than I thought I’d be. PicoPro ($349-$399) packs a high-definition video projector, a battery pack, and wireless capabilities into a 0.55″ thick enclosure with the same footprint as an iPhone 6 Plus. Overall, it’s the best small projector I’ve tested: much easier to use, quiet, and capable of delivering a better complete viewing experience. But like competing pico projectors, it also has some noteworthy limitations that you’ll want to be aware of before jumping in.

Read more

The Best iPhone 6 + iPhone 6 Plus Battery Cases

It’s a great time to buy an iPhone 6 battery case. Last year, there were zero Apple-certified options, but today, there are a handful of good to great choices at various price points. They may look similar to each other in the picture above, but the sea of black shells masks some important differences in iPhone protection, battery recharging capabilities, and pricing. One stands out as a particularly excellent combination for the iPhone 6, and we also have a good pick for the iPhone 6 Plus.

Which iPhone 6 battery case should you buy? The most recent update to this piece on March 13, 2015 added new options! Read on for all the details…

Read more