Quick Review and Gift Guide: Synology DiskStation, AOC 27″ IPS Monitor, DLP portable projectors

As we approach Christmas and the end of the year, we thought we would throw together some of the more interesting review items we received over the past months.

27-inch AOC LED IPS super slim monitor


First up is the $299 27-inch AOC LED IPS super slim monitor (I2757FH) that has a vague Mac aesthetic with a silver stand and ultra-thin bezel around the edges. This one comes with two HDMI ports, a VGA port, AUX audio ports, and some small speakers. The 27-inch IPS LED display is very nice, but it is obviously not as crisp as a Thunderbolt Display of the same size. And, after some adjustments to the default washed-out look, I was very happy with the color representation. Front capacitive controls are easy to deal with, and overall build quality is very nice, especially for AOC, but the downsides include: the lack of a USB hub, it is not easily wall-mountable, and the super small and poor tiny 4W speakers. You are definitely going to want to have separate speakers.

This AOC display would be best suited in an office/dorm room/bedroom doing double duty as a PC/Mac external display and perhaps display for an Apple TV/Cable box. Recommended at $299, or check out the USB Display link powered 22-inch display

Synology Diskstation NAS… Read more

MapsOpener jailbreak tweak sets Google Maps as default maps app

mapsopener

Some iPhone users who’ve tried the new Google Maps already will want to use the app instead of the often-criticized Apple Maps. Sadly, Apple doesn’t yet offer a way to make Google Maps the default application to allow iOS users to choose which mapping app opens when map URLs are clicked or using Siri.

As expected, the crafty folks in the jailbreak community have already cooked up a new tweak called “MapsOpener” that will make Google Maps the default. You can check out the tweak courtesy of Hashbang Productions and available via Cydia’s Big Boss repo. As we told you earlier this week, jailbreak tweak FullForce will also make Google Maps scale to the iPad’s large screen. Check out MapsOpener demoed below.

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3-in-1 Lightning Camera Connection Kit enables photo importing via USB, SD and microSD

The folks at iPhone 5 Mod now offer a 3-in-1 Lightning Camera Connection Kit just for the photo geeks in the crowd, allowing you to upload pictures and video to a Lightning-enabled iPhone or iPad. Available for $23.90, the connector packs a USB cable that connects directly into a camera via USB, an SD card, or micro-SD card. While Apple offers a camera connection kit —not supporting Lightning— that connects with a camera via USB or an SD card (better value 30-pin versions on Amazon), this seems like the better offering because it supports three formats and Lightning for a cheaper price. iPhone 5 Mod also offers the 3-in-1 Cable Pro, supporting users to charge their devices with Apple’s Lightning, 30-pic technology, or standard microUSB, for $13.90. We received a number of Lightning items from iPhone5mod.com that worked well.

Source: iPhone 5 Mod (1), (2)

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Best Buy ratchets up the Apple sales with dedicated Apple ad against increased pricing competition [video]

The above ad has entered heavy rotation this weekend, while Best Buy has new deals on Apple- and Apple-related products (including $25 off $250+ purchases):

Best Buy takes 15 percent off all iTunes Gift Cards, both physical and digital, with free shipping.

Best Buy also continues to have significant discounts on iPod Touches, Nanos and Shuffles, as well as the rest of Apple products (including refurbished Airports starting at $39).

The competition is also moving, as MacMall continues to have big savings with its Cyber Monday sale and impressive “Door busters”:

11.6″ MacBook Air dual-core Intel Core i5 1.7GHz, 4GB & 64GB Flash Storage $849.99 ($150 off)
13.3″ MacBook Air dual-core Intel Core i5 1.8GHz, 4GB & 128GB Flash Storage $1,019.99 ($180 off)
iPad 2 16GB Wifi: $329 ($70 off and the lowest price we’ve ever seen new)

…while Amazon continues to match many competitive prices.

Of note, MacConnection’s Tech Holiday sale has some pretty remarkable prices, including: MacBook Airs starting at $699Retina MacBook Pros starting at $1,559  ($140 off Apple’s Price), and Mac Minis starting at $549.

As always, check our Apple product pages for the latest best prices on iPadsiPad MinisiPod TouchNanoShuffleMacBook ProsAirsiMacsMac Minis, and Apple TVs. More of our holiday shopping coverage below: Read more

Review: HyperJuice 2 External MacBook and iPad Battery MBP2-100

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Talk about good timing. A few days before Sandy hit our town, Hyper sent me its new MacBook + iOS charging external battery device, the Hyperjuice MBP2-100.

Hyper has made external MacBook/Air/Pro batteries for years, and if you’ve ever been to an Apple (or any big technology) keynote event, many of the live bloggers have their rigs hooked up to them. HyperJuice’s latest line, dubbed the “MBP2 series”, expands on the capabilities of the big power batteries…

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Black Friday Deals Monster Roundup

Here are all of our Black Friday Deal posts and product pages updated by the minute:

And, of course, up to the second deals on 9to5Toys.com Read more

2012 Mac Mini users are unable to update to OS X 10.8.2, after update was pulled by Apple on Friday

A flurry of users on Twitter and CNET report that the newest Mac Mini released last month is unable to update to the latest version of OS X Mountain Lion, 10.8.2. The update is unavailable through the App Store’s Software Update feature after Apple pulled it for an unknown reason on Friday. Additionally, users received an error when trying to install the update manually through the manual installer made available by Apple. OS X displays an error message of  “Error: OS X Update can’t be installed on this disk. This volume does not meet the requirements for this update.” Customers on the Apple Support Communities also voiced their concern.

The cause of the error is unclear, but what is clear is that for some reason a special version of OS X 10.8.2 is required for the Mac Mini (like the one that was pulled on Friday). Apple doesn’t explain why a special version is needed—perhaps it boils down to the new Fusion Drive that is also set to ship with the new iMac later this month—or why it pulled the update from the App Store on Friday. The best option for 2012 Mac Mini owners now is to stick it out on 10.8.1, because as Twitter user Gerald explained it, the update still didn’t work “after 5 hours and 4 reinstalls.”

There is no word on when the new version of OS X 10.8.2 will be released for Mac Mini owners or if they’ll have to stick it out until 10.8.3. We reported on Friday that Apple will soon release a build of 10.8.3 to early testers soon, and the Cupertino, Calif.-based company will provide new information about the 10.8.3 build during the week of Nov. 26.

Update: Additionally, we learned the update has also been pulled for the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro and latest iMac…suffering the same issue as the Mac Mini.

Update 2: Apple has released a supplemental update to address the issue.

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MacLegion Holiday Bundle puts 10 great apps including Fantastical, djay and TechTool on your Mac for $50

The bundles, they don’t get better than this: MacLegion’s $50 holiday bundle (normally $540 – that’s over 90 percent off) includes 10 great apps, and the first 5,000 customers also recieve Alarm Clock Pro (normally $19.99) as a bonus.

As always, MacLegion ensures all the apps included are the latest versions each developer has to offer. MacLegion bundles entitle you to full after-sales support as well as valid upgrade paths for later software releases, just as if you had bought each application from the developers themselves.

Our faves include Flexbits’ Fantastical calendar application, Algoriddim’s djay music mixing system, and the timeless TechTool Pro system utility.

All of the apps and descriptions follow:

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Best Buy knocks 15% off of iTunes gift cards (Update: 20% off for Rewards members)

From 9to5Toys.com:

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Today only, Best Buy is knocking 15% off of iTunes gift cards in all denominations both in physical and online with free shipping. Update: Best Buy Reward Zone members can get 20% off (free to sign up). The discount applies to all of Apple’s media including music, videos, movies, books, iOS and Mac Apps and more.

Perhaps you can knock out your holiday shopping a little earlier this year?
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Parallels warns Mac users to not upgrade to Windows 8

Parallels for Mac virtualization software has been getting major updates this year with the recent release of version 8, making it even easier to run Mac and Windows apps side by side. In version 7, it made it a lot easier to upgrade and buy copies of Windows directly from within the app, and we even had a Windows 8 developer preview up and running. Unfortunately, with today’s launch of Microsoft’s Windows 8, Parallel’s is warning Mac users that the app is not ready to update to the new OS.

In a support document on the company’s website, it issued a “critical and urgent Windows 8 service advisory” telling customers it should wait before upgrading from an existing installation of Windows to Windows 8: Read more

iPhone sat in 6 feet of water for 6 months, amazingly still operates

There is nothing worse than dropping your iPhone…except maybe dropping it into a lake. That is just an awful feeling. Not shamed by the occasion, 9to5mac reader Ken Hovanes shared his story of when he dropped an iPhone into Smith Lake roughly six months ago. He dropped it from a dock and was not able to see through six feet of water to pick it up. Hovanes considered it damaged/lost, so he bought a new iPhone.

Thinking all hope was gone, Hovanes was surprised this weekend to find his lost iPhone in the lake once the water levels lowered and the lake became clearer. Even more surprising: he discovered the iPhone still operates. As you can see in the gallery below, the screen turns on when plugged into a power source. There is a little water damage (including Wi-Fi, screen issues, and the bulges you can see below), but he is trying to clean out the 30-pin adapter area.

Lesson to learn? Do not give up hope on a water-damaged iOS device.

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