9to5Toys: Portable USB/SD storage options under $1/GB

From 9to5Toys.com:

A quick roundup of storage options from 9to5Toys at Amazon this weekend:

SDHC Cards:
16GB
Amazon Class 4: $14.38; Transcend Micro Class 4 w/adapter: $12.98 (pictured)
32GB Sandisk Class 6: $29.95  Transcend Class 10: $32.95

USB Sticks:
8GB Kingston:  $6.95
16GB Kingston: $13.99, Sandisk $14.72 Transcend: $13.99
32GB Sandisk: $28.99
64GB Lexar: $61.10

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OWC puts together Mac Mini Stack Max: USB 3.0, 4TB 3.5 inch drive, eSATA and more

We love this add-on to the Mac Mini that turns it into more of a pro-device (and a cube!).  The business up front is a DVD-R drive (not sure about BluRay) and an SDXC card reader that complements the one on the back of the mini. On the rear, you get a high power USB source for quick-charging an iPad as well as a few USB 3.0 ports that require separate drivers.  Also on the back is an eSATA port for fast external peripheral support as well as two Firewire 800 ports. Inside, there is room for up to a 4TB 3.5 inch hard drive which you can order with the Mini Stack Max or you can bring your own.

This is interesting because it is moving the Mini more toward a pro-like setup.

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OWC has not put a price on the Mac Mini Stack Max but expects them to be available in March. Read more

Last minute gift reviews for Apple lovers

As we close out the year and approach Christmas, here is a quick review of some stellar items we have reviewed over the past few months.

Audyssey Lower East Side Speakers.  Truth be told, we were interested in the Airplay-enabled Lower East Side Audio Dock Air that seems to have been struck by production delays.  In the meantime, we are in love with the standalone LES powered speakers (right).  Very simple I/Os and almost perfect desktop-level sound makes these incredibly good for the small room or workspace.  Sure, they will fill up a medium sized room, but you will find much larger/expensive setups for that.  $199 Amazon. Bonus: If you want Airplay functionality, throw in a $95 Apple TV and an Optical cable.

Doxie Go Wireless scanner: The magic is putting an Eye-Fi card in the SD card slot that allows automatic Evernote/flickr Cloud synchronizing.  I use this at the front of my house without a computer where mail comes in.  Important stuff is run through the scanner and sent to the Cloud before it hits recycling.  Standalone Cloud scanners are the future.  It also does traditional Desktop scanning via USB. ($150-200 at Amazon.)

Atari Arcade. This little plastic iPad “dock” (does not work with iPhone 4) adds a joystick to the 100 Atari applications for $15 app (at present no other games support this – but more are planned). The quality is good and the gaming is certainly nostalgic.  It was fun to teach my kid the games I played when I was his age (which is probably why this thing is such a hit).  It would have been much better with a pass thru charger and landscape options.  Still, fun. ($59.99 Amazon) iCade is a more expensive option.

iHelicopter.net sent us a review unit after we showed their latest preview of their missile-shooting iHelocopter. After a few weeks of playing with this iOS device controlled (through an earphone dongle) helicopter, I can say it works as expected.  I have only used it inside but it has survived a lot of hard “landings” as well as direct hits on the ceiling and walls. The reason this one is so notable is that it shoots missiles through a spring-loaded system.  Yes, this works and with the gyroscope going, it is easy to hit your target.  ($69 shipped free globally.)

Logitech Tablet speaker.  Initially we were down on this little gadget because, let us face it, it is not a “looker”.  However, after playing with our review unit for a number of weeks, it has come in handy on a number of occasions and it produces impressive sound considering its size and portability. It clips to your iPad, is charged via USB and plugs into the headphone jack. The rechargeable batteries last for 8 hours. (Amazon – as low as $22)

Western Digital TV Live. Sure Apple TV does 90% of what this thing does, but if you want stuff like Hulu Plus, Spotify, Facebook or compatibility with DLNA and non- iOS compatible videos, this little $90 1080P TV works great. It also has a full sized USB port for hooking directly into USB Sticks, wireless keyboards, and hard drives.  ($89.99 – Amazon.) Also, consider Roku devices that start at $45.

Review: Powerbag by ful is a device-charging backpack that looks too good for a geek

Over the past month, I’ve been carrying around a Powerbag backpack from ful.  The idea is pretty straight-forward.  They put a 3000 mA battery inside a backpack complete with adapters for just about any device you’d ever want to charge.  On heavy usage days, I have a mobile charge with me at all times. Instead of taking out all of my devices when I get home, I just plug in the bag.

Read on for the full review…

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Sandisk 16GB Class 4 SDHC Card, 16GB Cruzer USB Stick: $15/ea+free shipping

SanDisk® SDHC™ Cards

From 9to5toys.com:


Staples has the 16GB SanDisk SDHC Card for $14.99 with free shipping.  That’s the lowest price we’ve seen for a 16GB SDHC card.  Class 4 represents a minimum speed of around 4MB/sec.

Staples also offers a Sandisk Cruzer 16GB USB stick for $14.99. 8GB is $8.99 and 4GB is $5.99.  Staples currently offers free shipping sitewide with no minimum. Read more

Monster Cable and 9to5Mac are sponsoring free iPhone 4S/ Accessory Pack giveaway

This week, we are co-sponsoring iPhone 4S + Monster Accessory Pack giveaways with Monster Cable. You can win the iPhone 4S + Accessory Pack from Monster Cable by liking their Facebook page and entering their contest here: https://www.facebook.com/monstercable. Enter once for a chance to win every week until December 23rd.

Additionally, this week only, we at 9to5Mac are offering you guys the Monster Accessory Pack which can be won by liking our page https://www.facebook.com/9to5mac.

Monster’s 8x iPhone 4S Sweepstakes: What better way to fully enjoy Monster Cable’s lineup of mobile-friendly accessories than on the supreme gadget of today – the iPhone 4S! Monster is giving its fans the chance to win an iPhone 4S & Monster Accessory Pack every week for eight straight weeks! In addition to the iPhone 4S, the Monster Accessory Pack includes our sleek ($300) Turbine In-Ear Monitors, the static-free Monster iCable 800, the convenient Monster Mobile PowerPlug Dual USB 700, and the practical CleanTouch Pen! So go ahead, click the button… and remember, you only have to enter once and you’re then eligible to win each of the 8 weeks! (sorry this is for US residents only).

Cobra iHelicopters go on the offensive with iOS launch-able missiles

We mentioned the iHelicopter back in August and it looked like one of the better iOS controlled flying devices out there.  Today, it got a significant update.

The $69.99 Cobra iHelicopters now get to go on the offensive.  The Cobra is armed with two missiles that can take out targets over 6 feet away.

The older version (without missiles)  can be found as low as $50

Press release and more info follows…

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Apple unveils micro USB adapter for iPhones in Europe

It’s been long time coming and it’s finally here. The U.K. online Apple Store now lists the Apple iPhone Micro USB Adapter, available for £8.00 and shipping October 14. From Apple:

The Apple iPhone Micro USB Adapter allows you to use third-party micro USB cables and chargers to sync or charge your iPhone. Simply connect your iPhone to the Micro USB Adapter, then connect a micro USB cable or charger to the Micro USB Adapter

Standards bodies in Europe had agreed last year that all mobile phones sold in Europe should drop proprietary connectors in favor of standard USB jacks. Apple’s been ignoring the initiative up to the point when some watchers questioned whether the European Union should fine the Cupertino, California-based gadget maker.

As it turns out, Apple has elegantly addressed those concerns with this dongle. What it does for Apple is it lets them follow the letter of the law without redesigning the iPhone or, worse, risk incompatibility problems with a billion dollar ecosystem of accessories that take advantage of Apple’s 30-pin dock connector.

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AnandTech reviews the Thunderbolt Display

Anand, as per usual, does one of the more in-depth reviews we’ve seen of the Thunderbolt Displays. Some interesting notes:

  • The Thunderbolt Display uses less power than the previous Cinema Display at its dimmest setting (likely just panel efficiency variance) and draws a bit more at max brightness.
  • Pegasus hardware seems to cause serious audio issues which corrupts sound while large file transfers are happening. Expect a fix.
  • There are some nuances with display daisy chaining. For instance, in one configuration Anand had to put a Promise RAID array between the two displays in a daisy chain to get them to work.
  • Next year’s Ivy Bridge will bring more Display options to Macs (and likely USB 3 since the controller is built into the Intel chipset). The future may also hold displays with GPUs built in.
  • For a $1000 display, the speakers “were OK, but not great”. The Camera and Mic were both good.

If you are considering getting one of these displays, check out the full review which was very favorable overall. MacConnection also has the lowest price we could find on the new Thunderbolt display at $979.

Update: Macworld put up a review this morning as well. 4/5 Stars.

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Review: Western Digital My Passport Studio portable hard drives go high class

We’ve been messing around with a damn fine looking set of portable hard drives for the past few days from Western Digital called My Passport Studio and My Passport Mac. They are encased in an all-aluminum shell, the My Passport Studio comes with two FireWire 800 ports as well as a Mini USB port around back; the latter only has a Mini USB port. The speed tests on these guys (see results below) was pretty average for 2.5-inch Firewire hard drives at just under 80MB/sec read, making the slight premium Western Digital is asking for these mostly “an aesthetic upgrade”.

…not that there is anything wrong with that. You can feel the quality in these drive enclosures. The aluminum shell is going to protect these from more drops than a plastic casing and these drives look the part of a high quality Mac setup. These drives are also so whisper quiet that the only way to know if they are running is the white LED on the back (much better than the front). As you can see from the pictures, both the Studio (formatted Windows) and Mac go well with a Unibody MacBook.

On the downside, these are slightly heavier than your typical hard drive at half a pound. Still though, that’s a small price to pay for quality. They are available now for $189.99 from Amazon for the Studio and $159 for the 1TB Mac

Press release follows:

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LaCie’s anticipated Thunderbolt-equipped Little Big Disk arrives at the Apple Store, along with Thunderbolt updates

Since Apple and Intel’s joint announcement of the Thunderbolt high-speed I/O technology, one of the most anticipated products to make use of the technology has been the Thunderbolt-compatible Little Big Disk from LaCie. The drive – which comes in both HDD and SSD flavors – was announced all the way back in February for a “summer” launch, and is now finally arriving at Apple Stores in both the United States and internationally. LaCie’s description of Thunderbolt and why it is important for a product like the Little Big Disk:

This new high-speed cable technology connects computers and electronic devices together like never before. Thunderbolt technology supports two 10Gb/s bi-directional channels from a single port, the fastest data connection available on a personal computer. At 10Gb/s, a full-length HD movie can be transferred in less than 30 seconds.

Since the drive carries two ports, it can be daisy chained. The drives have already arrived at Apple Stores, which suggest immediate availability, and we are expecting an official announcement from LaCie in the coming days. The hard disk drive variant with 1TB of storage will reportedly cost $399.

Update: here they are.

Apple also announced Thunderbolt updates, another firmware update and a software update for Snow Leopard…

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