Review: Transcend’s JetDrives add whopping 240-960GB SSD to MacBook Air at a great price

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See that little $190 daughter card up there^? It houses 240GB of Transcend SSD and it could replace the 64GB or 128GB SSD that came in your MacBook Air in as little as 5 minutes. Even better, Transcend just released larger versions in 480GB and 960GB sizes to blow your SATA III MacBook Air or Pro into new worlds of space. Keep in mind these are SATA-based SSDs and Apple’s latest round of MacBook Pro/Airs came with speedier PCIe SSDs so you can’t use these on Apple’s late 2013/2014 models (see bottom of the article for compatibility list).

I got my hands on a demo unit and took it for a test drive…

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Review: Photo collages made simple with PhotoMatte software

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I enjoy photography, and mostly prefer to take full control of the final output using powerful software like Lightroom. But there are times when I just want something fast, easy and automated to create something fun for a Facebook image or similar – and that’s what PhotoMatte is all about.

The idea is a simple one: choose a template to suit the occasion, ranging from beach holidays to a wedding; drag your chosen photos onto the template; choose your output format – from Mac desktop image down to iPhone wallpaper – click Export and the job’s done …  Read more

Review: OWC Mercury Elite Pro Mini dual-drive external enclosure with RAID

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One of the reasons I like Macs is that their useful life tends to be significantly longer than that of a typical Windows machine. This is especially true of the pre-Retina MacBook Pro models, where it’s trivial to upgrade both the RAM and the drive.

I’d previously swapped out the 750GB hard drive and optical drive that came with my late-2011 MacBook Pro 17 for two 1TB hard drives. Along with a RAM upgrade, that gave me a 16GB RAM, 2TB hard drive machine. The plan was to use the machine in that form for a year or two, then do a further upgrade to SSDs once 1TB models arrived and fell to a halfway sensible price.

When that finally happened, and I did the upgrade, that gave me two 1TB hard drives surplus to requirements. I could have placed each into its own external drive caddy, but one 2TB drive is more useful than two 1TB ones, so I decided instead to try out OWC’s Mercury Elite Pro mini. This is an external enclosure for two 2.5-inch drives, which supports both USB 3 and Firewire 800, drawing power from either source – making it a portable drive without the need for external power …  Read more

Review: LifeProof Nüüd is just the right amount of protection for your iPhone 5/5s

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This case has been around for a while, and frankly, I’ve always been a no-case kind of guy. But when I found myself not being as careful with my now almost two-year old iPhone 5, I thought that maybe I should just go all the way. Maybe I should get ahold of one of the more protective cases out there, without going off the deep end and getting something would provide more protection than I need.

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Review: Samsung’s U28D590D 28-inch 4k monitor finally brings quality 4k at an affordable price

Ever since the Mac Pro was released in December, we’ve faced an onslaught of 4k displays. We reviewed Seiki’s budget offering last year, and while we liked it overall, it did have more than its fair share of set backs. For instance, you could only use the full 4k resolution at 30Hz, which meant that there would be noticeable lag when using the display as a monitor. Despite the low refresh rate, the display was still a great deal at its then $450 price point (now down to $390) and truly got us excited for the potential of 4k. At CES this year, we also saw a variety of 4k displays, some of which were priced for budget-minded customers, and some of which were high-end. Noticeably missing from CES, however, was Apple’s frenemy supplier/competitor Samsung.

Samsung, at the end of May, unveiled its take on an affordable 4k display. Samsung’s U28D590D is a 28-inch 4k monitor that supports full 4k resolution at 60Hz via a DisplayPort 1.2 connection. There are also two HDMI ports, but they’ll only do 4k at 30Hz, like the Seiki. The big selling point of the Samsung monitor, aside from doing 4k at 60Hz, is that it costs just $646 on Amazon. This puts it far below any currently available 4k monitor with 60Hz capabilities. I purchased the Samsung U28D590D on Amazon while it was priced at $666 and have been using it as my primary display for the past week. How does it compare to the Seiki? Is 4k all it’s hyped up to be? Let’s discuss.

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Review: TwelveSouth HoverBar 3 positions your iPad right where you want it

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There are times when an iPad can act as a handy sidekick to your Mac, but with a typical iPad stand you end up looking a little like a nodding dog as you look up at your monitor and down at your iPad. The TwelveSouth HoverBar 3 is designed to solve that, positioning your iPad display right next to your iMac or Apple Thunderbolt/Cinema Display.

The HoverBar can also be used on its own to position an iPad more comfortably, especially when using it to watch movies …  Read more