Review: Dyconn’s i6 Power Case packs a 3,200 mAh battery and features wireless charging (Video)

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There are absolutely no shortage of battery case offerings for iPhone 6. Even though we’ve covered the best iPhone battery cases here, it’s sometimes overwhelming sorting through them all. The real winners are the ones with maximum battery capacity and some extra features to spice things up. Recently, I came across Dyconn’s i6 Power Case and was pleasantly surprised to find that it fits most of what I was looking for, but is it enough? Well, not only does this case pack a 3,200 mAh battery inside, it also features wireless charging. It’s not a must-have feature, but I sure do appreciate the convenience…

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Review: Can you actually use the new 12-inch MacBook for work?

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Early reviews of Apple’s MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015) have framed it as an expensive prototype from the future — a notebook that will someday be the standard, but one most people aren’t ready for yet. Despite that classification, the new MacBook is extremely tempting if you’re in the market for a new computer: it’s more portable than even the MacBook Air, it’s the first Mac available in gold and space gray finishes, and it has a trackpad with a new feature called Force Touch.

But can you actually do work on the 12-inch MacBook? That’s the $1300 question everyone is asking. I’ll unpack my experience below …

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Review: Aircharge Qi wireless charging case for iPhone 6 (and 5/5s)

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As a founding member of the Wires Are Evil club, I’ve been waiting impatiently for wide-area wireless charging, where any device on a desk or within a certain area of a room is wirelessly charged. That still seems a way off yet.

A good halfway house would be inductive charging powerful enough to work through the thickness of a desk, so your charging pads sit out of sight on the underside of the desk and your devices charge as soon as you put them down on the right place on the desk. Sadly today’s wireless charging standards are too weedy to work through even the thinnest of desks.

If you want wireless charging today, then, you’re going to have to have a visible wire to a charging pad, and place your device on that. Apple has so far limited wireless charging to the Apple Watch, but if you want it for your iPhone, you can buy a wireless charging case that allows you to use any compatible wireless charging pad. We’ve reviewed a number of these over the years, and I thought it was about time to try one for the iPhone 6

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The best Apple Watch headphones and earphones

Up until now, Bluetooth wireless audio was purely optional for Apple’s devices: every iPad, iPhone, and iPod has shipped with a 3.5mm audio port to connect with wired earbuds and headphones. The Apple Watch is different: it’s Apple’s first fully wireless device, with no user-accessible ports to connect accessories, even though it can work as a standalone music player during workouts. The lack of a headphone port is actually a positive, since tethering your wrist to your head with a cable would look silly, and isn’t ergonomically ideal. Thankfully, Bluetooth headphones have come a long way over the past few years, shrinking from gangly and boxy earmuffs into earphones comfortable enough to exercise with.

Since one of the Apple Watch’s major selling points is fitness functionality, this quick guide to the best Apple Watch headphones and earphones focuses mostly on accessories that can work anywhere, rather than options you can’t wear while exercising. But I’ll include some larger options, too, just in case you’re picking a pair for non-athletic use, or to share with your iPad, iPhone, iPod, or Mac…

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Review: Mophie’s Spacestation more than doubles smaller iPads’ storage and power, for a price

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Mophie’s Juice Packs are unqualified success stories. After debuting the first Juice Pack in late 2007, Mophie became synonymous with “iPhone battery cases,” and enjoyed years of popularity despite increasing competition. But the company’s USB battery packs aren’t as well-known. Ranging from minimalist to ruggedized, Mophie’s Powerstations range from 3,000mAh to 12,000mAh in capacity, and carry hefty $80 to $150 MSRPs. Regardless of whether they’re judged by features or battery performance for the dollar, they’re hard to pick over rivals, since you can now get a high-quality 25,600mAh battery for the same price as a 3,000mAh PowerStation.

Based upon last year’s iPhone 5/5s-specific Space Packs, the brand new Spacestation is Mophie’s shot at differentiating its USB batteries from the masses. Offered in 32GB ($150), 64GB ($200) and 128GB ($300) capacities, Spacestation combines an app-managed USB flash drive with a 6,000mAh battery, which promises “3X extra battery” life. Realistically, that’s enough power for a full recharge of the original iPad mini or three recharges of older iPhones. But since 6,000mAh batteries are getting cheaper every week, Spacestation’s appeal is mostly in its ability to at least double the number of videos, music, photos, and documents that can be accessed by your iOS device on the road…

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Review: Aukey’s 12,000mAh PB-N28 is the $25 battery that fully refills any current iPad

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Last month, budget charging accessory maker Aukey released PB-N30, the first external battery with a female Lightning recharging port. For only $15, PB-N30 seemed like a steal given its 3,600mAh capacity — just right for use with any iPhone — but wasn’t capacious enough for power-hungrier iPads. So Aukey has released PB-N28 ($25) as a solution for tablet users, remarkably equipping it with over three times the power for only $10 more.

PB-N30 is an upgraded sequel to the company’s older PB-18, which stuffed a 12,000mAh battery into an iPhone 5-shaped enclosure. While the new model’s capacity is the same, PB-N30’s USB ports jump from 2.1-Amp/1-Amp charging to 2.4-Amp/1-Amp support, and it has a more neutral design that neither sticks out nor knocks off an Apple product. Not surprisingly, it cuts a corner or two to achieve its super-low price…

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Review: Mophie’s Juice Packs for iPhone 6 + 6 Plus are polished battery cases at premium prices

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Unless you pick the matte black versions, which look like most of the other iPhone 6 and 6 Plus battery cases I’ve tested, you’ll quickly be wowed by how premium Mophie’s newest Juice Packs feel in your hand. Glossy white plastic Apple accessories may have become passe years ago, but Mophie somehow got the look and feel just right — better, even, than the “unapologetically plastic” iPhone 5c.

The reason for that luxe feel? Mophie needs it, as the new Juice Pack Plus for iPhone 6 ($120) and Juice Pack for iPhone 6 Plus ($100) are currently the most expensive battery cases currently available for their respective iPhones. Though the company has never been shy about charging more for top quality cases, this year’s Juice Packs are hitting shelves well after numerous solid and aggressively priced competitors.

Below, I’ll discuss how Mophie’s price to performance equations actually play out for these Juice Packs, and whether they’re worth buying in light of other options…

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Review: Brookstone’s Perfect Drink 3 helps you craft cocktails with whatever’s on hand

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Craft cocktails are in the midst of a renaissance, buoyed by rediscovered classic recipes, higher-quality ingredients, and increasingly talented bartenders. Pre-made mixes and artificially-flavored spirits are declining in popularity, as freshly-assembled natural flavors are ascending. But once you’ve had a truly great cocktail at a restaurant or bar, making one by yourself at home may seem challenging. The latest version of Perfect Drink ($40), Brookstone’s (and developer Pure Imagination’s) “app-controlled smart bartending” solution for iOS users, is here to help.

Perfect Drink has been through a few hardware and software revisions, but the latest-generation accessory and just-released version 3.0 app elevate it to greatness. The core of the product is a precise digital scale — recently upgraded from the original hardware — that works in tandem with your iPad or iPhone to eliminate the need for measuring cups. You call up a recipe in the Perfect Drink app and just add liquids until the scale and app tell you to stop, dynamically adjusting the recipe if you overpour. A just-released update enables the app to store a list of all the spirits, fruit, and mixers you have on hand, helping you quickly choose from recipes you’re capable of making…

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The best Apple Watch stands and docks

Now that the Apple Watch is officially in the wild, it’s clear that stands and docks make sense for two reasons: they keep metal and metal-accented bands from getting scuffed up, and guarantee a stable charging connection all night long. Some stands also serve as beautiful displays for your Watch, as well. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the best Apple Watch stands and docks to help you choose one that’s great for your needs. Every solution relies upon the Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable includes in each Apple Watch box, so what you’re getting is a stand with the ability to manage the Watch and charger.

Inside, I’ll show you a large collection of stands that range in price from $20 to $129, with considerably different levels of sophistication. Some are just basic plastic holders for Apple’s charger, while others have really nice designs made from metal, leather, and wood. Updated on June 29, 2015!

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Opinion: Roku’s new media players use voice search and apps to make Apple TV feel old

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Just so there’s no ambiguity on this point, I’m definitely an Apple TV fan. The first-generation model was a (literally) hot mess, but Apple did a much better job with the streamlined second- and third-generation versions, which I use every day and have strongly recommended for years. If you have an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, the Apple TV is one of the top three accessories you can buy for under $100, and nearly a no-brainer at Apple’s recently announced $69 price point.

Even as a fan, though, I give Apple TV’s chief competitor Roku great credit for developing compelling alternatives. According to reports, Roku is the number one seller of media streamers, and has been outselling the Apple TV for some time now. While it’s true that sales don’t necessarily reflect quality, Roku has earned its numbers by frequently iterating on its products — ironically unlike Apple, which has spent years letting an old Apple TV design chug along as a “hobby.” The difference in Roku’s and Apple’s approaches became starker yesterday when Roku released the new Roku 3 with Voice Search ($100) and new Roku 2 ($70), updates to two of its already-successful devices. These media streamers include several of the key features Apple should be adding to the Apple TV, including voice search, downloadable apps, games, and more…

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Review: LaCie’s 4TB Rugged Thunderbolt/USB 3 portable hard drive delivers SSD-like speed at HDD cost

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LaCie announced its new 4TB Thunderbolt/USB 3 Rugged RAID portable hard drive ($420 list, $399 Amazon) today, and I’ve had some time to take it for a little ‘spin.’ There are two speedy 7200RPM 2TB portable hard drives RAID-ed together inside to give the device very impressive, almost SSD-like speeds but with the cost savings and huge storage of portable hard drives. At the same time, the package isn’t much bigger than a regular portable hard drive and better yet, it can take a serious beating…

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How-To: Choose the best stand or desktop mount for Apple’s iPads and Macs

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Apple currently sells more “laptop” than “desktop” Macs, but in reality, most Macs will be used substantially on flat surfaces — desks, tables, and sometimes nightstands. iPads are more lap-friendly, but also tend to get used upright, particularly for watching videos and access in the kitchen. Since I’ve spent a lot of time testing Apple device stands and mounts, I wanted to share what I’ve learned with you, so you can choose the solution that best suits your Mac, iPad, or both at the same time.

Below, I’ve hand-picked options for different types of users, starting with passive MacBook stands such as Twelve South’s BookArc for MacBook Pro ($50). Made from Mac-matching aluminum with gray rubber inserts, BookArc is designed to safely hold a MacBook Pro upright so that its ports and SD card reader are easily accessible. Twelve South also sells a smaller version of BookArc for the MacBook Air, a bigger BookArc for the Mac Pro, and an earthy version called BookArc mod for fans of wood. That’s a rarity, as most Mac and iPad stands are designed to match Apple’s products, as you’ll see inside…

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