Review: Pad & Quill’s Field Bag is designed for those who like nice things

The Field Bag | Zac Hall

For every bit that Apple gave pixel-drawn leather a bad reputation with apps like Find My Friends and the Lion-era OS X calendar, Pad & Quill restores your faith in the actual material. I’ve recently been using Pad & Quill’s Field Bag, a classy, vertically designed version of its leather Messenger Bag. Let’s cut to the chase: it’s a very, very nice bag. The kind of bag that makes you want to be a better person… or at least a better dresser. As the headline reads, Pad & Quill’s Field Bag is designed for those who like nice things. As a MacBook and iPhone user, like you I’m sure, I have an appreciation for quality products. Read on to see why this fits into that category…

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Review: Documents 5.0 for iOS is an even more powerful solution for managing your files on the go

Readdle’s app Documents has long been one of the most complete solutions for managing your files on the go. With an intuitive interface and powerful download management features, it has been a solid contender in the file management app arena for some time.

Today, the company has launched version 5.0 of the software, introducing a host of new features and a colorful design refresh for iOS 7. Keep reading for a full review of the new look and features available in the latest update.

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Review: Bose Soundlink III portable Bluetooth speaker — is bigger best?

Bose-SoundlinkIII

I was a huge gushing fan of the Bose Soundlink Mini when I reviewed it this summer, calling it the “Best Sounding portable Bluetooth speaker ever”. For $199 you’d get bookshelf type of power and clarity with 6 hour battery in a portable package that you could throw in a coat pocket, bag, or purse.

This week, Bose started shipping a bigger version, the $299 Soundlink 3 which is officially the successor to the Soundlink 2 but it grabs a lot more technology, features and appearance from the very successful Mini.  The big bro ‘III’ boasts an impressive 14-hour battery, 6 Bluetooth device memory, and doubles the Mini with four drivers and two passive radiators. In the process it doubles in size to a 3-pound package that isn’t nearly as portable as the Mini at 5 inches high, 10 inches wide, and 2 inches deep.

But does that $100 and double size give you appreciably better sound?

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Say hello to Ayeris — Ayecon designer Surenix’s newest theme hits Cydia

ayeris_hero

Ayecon (that’s pronounced Icon) has long been hailed as one of the most amazing, most complete themes available for jailbroken iOS devices. Today, Surenix, the designer behind that theme, has released the iOS 7-inspired Ayeris (pronounced Iris). The theme features colorful app icons, redesigned interface elements, and more.

Keep reading for a full breakdown of what the theme includes and even more screenshots of it in action.

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Review: Anker IQ 40W 5-port smart USB adapter is the last power source you’ll ever need

As our families grow, so do our device charging needs. Where we just used to need 2 USB ports to charge our iPhones, we now have iPads, cameras, Bluetooth speakers, portable flashlight/batteries and even a few Android devices laying around that constantly need to be chargers. Our excellent 2-port ZaggSparq just couldn’t handle all of the stuff anymore. Time to step up to something more substantial.

Anker-reviewsWe’d heard great things about the new Anker IQ 40W 5V / 8A 5-Port Family-Size USB power supply. In fact, at Amazon where it can be nabbed on sale for $26, it gets almost exclusive 4 and 5 star ratings.

Anker hooked me up with a unit to test out at CES and I’ve relied on it since to keep our house full of devices charged. What’s particularly impressive about this one is that it has 40W of power to distribute through the 5 USB ports (a 25W one is a few bucks less). Anker’s new IQ does one better by recognizing high power requirements in devices like iPads, other tablets and even HPs new Chromebook and giving those devices the full 2-3 Amps of power they need to get charged quickly. Anker explains it thusly:

Not all USB ports are equal. Where past USB ports were hard-wired to exclusively charge iOS OR Android, we’re introducing Smart Port technology to create a truly universal charger. Dynamically adjusting to any device’s unique maximum charging speed, the Smart Port takes the brainwork out of compatibility.Just plug in and it’ll do the rest.

Were the reviews right? Was this the end to my USB charging woes?

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Review: Mujjo’s leather and double-layered knitted touchscreen gloves for iPhone & iPad

Despite smartphones and tablets being commonplace these days for just about everybody and their grandmother, most non-techies that you run into probably don’t own a pair of touchscreen gloves. That is, winter gloves that don’t require you to take them off to use your iPhone, iPod or iPad. I’ve tried out a couple cheap pairs in recent years from Amazon and elsewhere, but they’ve never really been warm and/or well-made enough to use on a daily basis.

This year I’ve been trying out a few of the more expensive pairs available from one of the original companies making touchscreen gloves, Mujjo. I’ve put a couple different pairs from Mujjo to the test over the past month during a cold Canadian winter to see if they’re really worth the extra cash. Read more

Quick Review: Philips AJ7260D/37 Dual Dock Triple Charging Clock Radio charges every iOS device

Review- Philips AJ7260D:37 Dual Dock Triple Charging Clock RadioIf you travel frequently for work, you’ve probably seen one of a number of 30-pin alarm clocks that have almost become standard at business hotels. That was great while we had 30-pin iOS devices, but now that we’ve mostly moved to Lightning, it is mostly just lip service – about as convenient and up to date as that wired room line phone installed next to the toilet.

Philips hopes to remedy the transition to Lightning with their new-ish AJ7260D/37 Dual Dock Triple Charging Clock Radio which retails for around $130. I’ve been using the alarm/clock radio for about a month now and here are my observations:

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Review: The nicest iPhone case I’ve ever used — Pad & Quill’s leather Luxury Pocket Book

Pad&Quill Luxury Pocket Book

If you’re looking for the best iPhone case ever made, look no further.

When it comes to iPhone cases I’ve tried just about all of them: Protective cases from companies like Otterbox, Lifeproof, and HardCandy, super-slim cases that add barely any bulk to the device, wallet cases for holding cash and cards, and just about everything in between. It’s true I’ve long preferred the look and feel of the naked iPhone in my hand opposed to a case, but I’ve now found a case that truly does the Jony Ive-designed hardware inside justice. It’s a case that’s converted me from one of those annoying blowhards constantly boasting about not using a case to someone that won’t leave home without it.

I’ve finally found the perfect case… Read more

Review: How I transformed my workspace w/ LandingZone’s MacBook Pro Dock

Think of it as an iPhone-style dock for your MacBook. At home you might have several things plugged into your MacBook’s various ports (hard drives, USB products, speakers, etc), which means disconnecting and reconnecting everything each time you leave or return with your MacBook. With LandingZone, everything gets connected to ports in the back of the dock, allowing you to simply place your MacBook in the dock and instantly connect to all your peripherals. When you leave, you can pop out your Mac and walk away in seconds without thinking twice about all the connected cables. It also packs in a 5-port USB hub, ethernet adapter, HDMI, and Mini DisplayPort all while reducing cable clutter on your desk. I’ve been using the latest LandingZone Dock model for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro for a couple weeks and it has truly transformed my workspace. Read more

Review: Lacie Fuel, the wireless portable drive for all your iDevices

Wireless drives have been around for a little while now. There’s the Seagate GoFlex Satellite, and the Kingston W-Drive SSD, for example. They generate their own wifi networks, and you can then stream content from them to either a Mac or, more usefully, an iOS device.

Lacie has taken that concept a stage further, by adding the ability to upload content from iPhones and iPads also, and with 1TB capacity, you’re unlikely to find yourself running short of space.

I tested it with a MacBook Air, iPad and iPhone, and was generally impressed …

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Bluetooth portable conference speakerphone smackdown: Philips WeCall vs. Logitech P710e

As we begin to rely on our mobile devices for more and more of our business needs, I found myself needing a “portable Polycom” which would allow me to make quality speakerphone calls from my Mac or iPhone. Sure, the built-in speaker and mic are top notch on Apple products for their size, but I’d often have a hard time hearing what was on the other end of the line. Even more importantly, people couldn’t understand what I was saying, especially as I moved around.

I’ve decided to take a look at two similar solutions:  Philips WeCall ($150) vs. Logitech P710e ($140) pictured above… Read more

Review: StorySkeleton, an iPad story-planning app and Scrivener companion

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As you doubtless gathered from my recent Scrivener review, I’m a massive fan of the best Mac app I’ve ever used for creative writing. The TL;DR version is that I wouldn’t dream of attempting to write a novel in anything else. My only real grumble is that we’ve as yet seen no sign of the long-promised iPad version of the app.

I’ve used PlainText with a Dropbox sync as a way of working on Scrivener projects on my iPad, and that works well enough at the writing stage. At the planning, stage, though, I love the corkboard interface. I was thus really interested to see an iOS app that not only provides a very similar corkboard view, but which can export and import to and from Scrivener …  Read more