About the Author

Jeff Benjamin

@JeffBenjam

Jeff produces videos, walkthroughs, how-tos, written tutorials and reviews. He takes pride in being able to explain things in a simple, clear and concise manner.

Jeff Benjamin's Favorite Gear

Today

Yesterday marked the official launch day of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, an upgrade over last year’s groundbreaking iPhone X release. Although iPhone XS is an ‘S’ model year upgrade, which generally means more refinements than radical new changes, there is still a lot to digest from a feature standpoint.

Most notably, this year’s release includes the largest iPhone display ever conceived — the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max. Watch our hands-on video as we step through some of my favorite iPhone XS features. expand full story

September 19

I’ve reviewed several Thunderbolt 3 SSDs over the last year or so, and the Akitio Node Lite with Intel Optane SSD is the best performer of them all. Advertising speeds up to 2600 MB/s read, it’s the only external SSD that I’ve tried thus far that skirts close to such a speed rating without being affected by noticeable thermal throttling.

Granted, the combo package of Akitio Node Lite + Intel Optane SSD should be a great performer, after all its price is $1500 for a 960GB SSD. That’s a lot of money to pay for storage when you can buy a 1TB version of Samsung’s bus-powered Thunderbolt 3 SSD for less than half the cost.

But if you’re in the market for an SSD that delivers workstation-class performance and endurance, then the Akitio Node Lite with Intel Optane SSD is worthy of consideration. Not only does it have a high performance ceiling, but it can sustain that performance while under load. Watch our hands-on video for more details. expand full story

Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip

September 17

Today the official version of iOS 12 was released to the public, and it brings a wealth of new changes and features to the table. Major speed improvements, better notifications, and enhanced Do Not Disturb are just some of the new items to explore in iOS 12.

If you’ve had the willpower to remain off the developer beta or public beta up until now, you’re in for a serious treat. In this post and video, we’ll walk through some of the headlining features and changes in iOS 12. expand full story

September 14

Affinity Photo for iPad has been updated to version 1.6.9, bringing enhanced gesture support to the popular photo editing app. To celebrate the major new update, developer Serif is running a limited time 30% off $13.99 sale price. expand full story

September 13

The OWC Express 4M2 is a Thunderbolt 3 enclosure that can accommodate up to four M.2 NVMe SSDs simultaneously for up to 8TB of storage. It features a compact design and dual Thunderbolt 3 ports for daisy chain setups along with DisplayPort for connecting to an external display.

OWC says that speeds for the 4M2 can reach up to 2800 MB/s read. To reach those speeds, you’ll need four fast drives configured with RAID 0 using the included SoftRAID software.

The 4M2, with its massive 8TB capacity and fast speeds is particularly apt for video editing workflows. But the enclosure, which costs $349 without any drives inside, requires a considerable investment to get the most out of it. Should you consider OWC’s chassis if you need the throughput speed and storage space? Watch our video walkthrough inside for the details. expand full story

September 12

Apple’s iPhone Xs event clocked in at just shy of two hours, but if you don’t have that sort of time, we’ve got just the video for you. We’ve distilled Apple’s press event to just under 10 minutes, including all of the important details about the iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max, iPhone Xr, and Apple Watch Series 4.  expand full story

September 10

Akitio Node Lite Thunderbolt 3 enclosure with Intel Optane SSD now available

Thunderbolt 3 hardware specialist Akitio is now shipping its previously announced Node Lite enclosure with Intel Optane SSD inside. The enclosure features a built-in Optane 905P PCIe NVMe SSD with 960 GB of storage, and speed ratings up to 2600 MB/s.

September 7

Elgato, the now Corsair-owned company famous for its gaming products, has produced its second Thunderbolt 3-enabled dock, aptly named the Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock.

Just as its name states, the Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock, available in stores on September 13 for $150, is designed to be small and portable. It even features a built-in Thunderbolt 3 cable that hides away when not in use.

Although it features such I/O options as USB-A and Ethernet, the main purpose of the Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock is for connecting up to two 4K displays at 60 Hz. Watch our hands-on video for the details. expand full story

September 6

Earlier this year during its education-focused event at a Chicago high school, Apple revealed the sixth-generation iPad with a base price of only $329. This was the first non-Pro iPad to support the Apple Pencil. Instead of creating a cheaper Apple Pencil or dropping the price of the existing version, Apple lent its technology to Logitech, and thus the $49 Crayon digital pencil was born.

After initially only being available to school districts, today marks the news that the Logitech Crayon will be made available to the general public, meaning it’ll be sold inside Apple Stores and online. Starting September 12, the same day of Apple’s upcoming press event, the Logitech Crayon will go on sale at Apple stores, and Logitech’s website. Afterwards, in October, the Crayon will be available at other retail locations.

How does the Logitech Crayon compare with the Apple Pencil for 6th-generation iPad users? Watch our video unboxing and review for the full scoop. expand full story

September 5

Last year I reviewed the Sonnet Fusion Thunderbolt 3 SSD, and at the time it was the fastest bus-powered external SSD that I had ever tried. But there’s now an external drive that eclipses the performance of the Fusion SSD, and it’s made by Samsung, a company with a long reputation of producing fast, reliable SSD storage.

The precursors to the X5 — Samsung’s T3 and T5 portable SSD — are still extremely popular products for those looking for a reliable and fast external storage solution, but thanks to the prevalence of Thunderbolt 3, the X5 is turning up the speed rating significantly with up to a whopping 2,800 MB/s read speeds and 2300 MB/s write.

Is the Samsung X5 Portable SSD, with its supercar-inspired looks, worth its rather hefty price of admission? Watch our hands-on unboxing and review for the answer. expand full story

August 30

After being teased on video late last year, Affinity Publisher, from the same team that brought you Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer, is now available in public beta. The public beta comes a few months ahead of the initial public release, but developer Serif is allowing users to take it for a free test drive ahead of launch. expand full story

August 29

When you think of Thunderbolt 3 accessories, there are only a handful of companies as prolific as Akitio. The California-based company has released numerous Thunderbolt 3-centric products aimed at Mac users, and recently sent us its latest offering — a dock headlined by its 10GbE connectivity.

In addition to the 10GbE connectivity, the dock also features a speedy UHS-II-enabled SD Card 4.0 reader, and a rare CFast 2.0 slot. Where does the Akitio Thunder3 Dock Pro fit into a Mac user’s workflow? Watch our video review for our hands-on synopsis. expand full story

August 28

Piggybacking off the success of its wildly popular T3 and T5 series of portable SSDs, Samsung today officially announced a new portable X-series NVMe SSD featuring Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. The Samsung Portable SSD X5, the company’s first portable NVMe external SSD with Thunderbolt 3, promises eyebrow-raising read speeds of up to 2,800 MB/s, 5.2 times faster than SSDs based on SATA III. expand full story

August 24

AirPods are one of my favorite Apple products to come along in quite some time, and I use them every single day. I especially enjoy using them while traveling, because they’re completely devoid of wires, have all-day battery life, seamless device pairing, and are easy to stow away.

I was skeptical during their initial unveiling, but after using AirPods for the last year and half, they’ve become one of my favorite tech products of all time. Next to my iPhone, AirPods are easily my favorite tech-related travel companion.

Outside of the long-awaited AirPower mat wireless charger from Apple, I didn’t think there was any accessory that could improve or enhance AirPods in any way. But Twelve South, always the innovator with new Apple-related accessories, is making a case for its new AirSnap accessory. Watch our brief hands-on video walkthrough for the details. expand full story

August 23

Whenever I complain about how companies tend to ship 0.5-meter cables with their Thunderbolt 3-enabled products, I sometimes encounter pushback reminding me that longer cables noticeably hinder performance. But is that really the case? expand full story

August 20

The CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock is a dock made specifically for connecting to two 4K displays simultaneously. Available in HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.2 versions, this bus-powered dock makes it easy to connect your MacBook Pro to a 4K monitor. Watch our hands-on video for more details. expand full story

August 15

After pulling the 7th iOS 12 beta due to issues with performance, Apple today released the 8th developer beta for iOS 12. In this brief hands-on walkthrough, we cover new changes and features across both betas. expand full story

August 14

Back to the Mac is a series focused specifically on the Mac, including hardware, accessories, I/O, software, and more.


On this week’s episode of Back to the Mac, we go nuts with an eGPU setup featuring two Sonnet eGFX Breakaway Box 650 units mated with a pair of workstation-class 16GB AMD WX 9100 GPUs.

As we’ve touched on before, if you’re a DaVinci Resolve user, or if you use any other app that can wield multiple GPUs at the same time, such a setup can put up some noteworthy numbers. Watch the latest episode of Back to the Mac for more details. expand full story

August 13

Lacie’s Rugged RAID Pro is an external portable RAID-enabled HDD that’s primarily aimed at photo and video editors who often find themselves on-the-go. Donning an unmistakable bright orange shock-resistant rubber sleeve, it fits right in with the Seagate-owned company’s other storage-centric options.

On paper, the Lacie Rugged RAID Pro won’t light up the scoreboards. Even in the RAID 0 performance mode, it features a rather pedestrian 250 MB/s max read speed. But where the drive lacks in speed, it makes up for in the sheer amount of storage offered — 4TB — stuffed inside a rugged chassis. It also comes with a feature that sets it apart from other bus-powered external drives on the market: a built-in UHS-II SD Card reader — extremely handy for MacBook Pro users.

Does the Lacie Rugged RAID offer enough to make it worthy of consideration? Have a look at our hands-on video review for the details. expand full story

August 7

Yesterday marked the release of the sixth developer beta for iOS 12. Is there anything new worthwhile to share? Watch our video walkthrough for the details. expand full story

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