Jeff Benjamin


Jeff produces tech videos, walkthroughs, how-tos, written tutorials and reviews. He earned his degree in Computer Network Systems back in 2001, but decided Cisco routers and the like just weren’t for him. Since then, he’s been heavily involved with online writing and video. He’s written for numerous tech sites since the late 1990′s, and has a knack for explaining things in a simple, clear and concise manner.

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Jeff Benjamin's Recommended Gear

January 20

AAPL: 120.00

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I’ve been a big fan of Philips Hue lights since the very first Hue Starter Kit was released back in 2012. I’ve been using that same initial set of bulbs ever since then, and have been largely happy with the experience.

Thanks to the success of that initial release, Philips has added many more Hue products to the lineup. It also produced a new second-generation HomeKit-enabled Bridge, which allows you to control your Hue lights directly from Siri or via the Home app features found in iOS 10.

But there’s one particular Hue product that I see utilized more than any other, and that’s Philips’ Hue Lightstrip. You’ve likely seen the $90 Lightstrip utilized in photos or on YouTube videos, and that’s because they’re a wonderful way to make practically any environment more interesting with minimal effort. expand full story

January 19

AAPL: 119.78

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Channels, an app that we’ve covered several times in the past, allows users to stream live local television to an Apple TV or iOS device via a handy guide interface. The app works in harmony with an HD HomeRun box to receive over-the-air terrestrial television or cable TV depending on the box you purchase.

After the successful launch of the iOS version of the app and Channels 2.0 for the Apple TV, developer Fancy Bits’ next project involves integrating a subscription-based DVR service directly into the Channels app for Apple TV.

The DVR service, which will require a subscription, is currently in beta. By tapping into a NAS solution like the Synology DS916+, users can record live television, and schedule recordings directly from the Channels tvOS interface. Have a look at our video walkthrough as we take the service for a test drive. expand full story

January 18

AAPL: 119.99

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The 2016 MacBook Pro has endured criticism for its lack of I/O ports, but what that it does have — two or four Thunderbolt 3 ports based on your configuration — has lots of potential. For example, it’s now possible to connect an external GPU (eGPU) box via Thunderbolt 3 and tap into the power offered by a full-sized graphics card.

In this hands-on post, we’re going to showcase how to power the 13-inch 2016 MacBook Pro with an eGPU using Sapphire’s AMD RX 480. The RX 480 is modestly-priced GPU with a decent amount of power that’s good enough for 1080p gaming. The connection is made possible by means of the Akitio Node — an external GPU box with an embedded 400W power supply, and enough room inside for a full sized card like the RX 480.

The nice folks at Akitio provided us with an early unit for testing with macOS. Unlike Akitio’s other Thunderbolt 3-enabled enclosures, the Node features the newer Texas Instruments TI83 controller and is immediately recognized in macOS. While that makes for one less hurdle to clear, there are still lots of factors to consider before taking the eGPU plunge.

As you’ll see in this post, the setup takes some effort to get right, but it’s fairly simple to get working if you follow the steps correctly. If you’re a Mac gamer or video editor, then the benefits are very apparent, especially if you’re using a MacBook Pro with an integrated Intel Iris GPU like the 13-inch 2016 model. Have a look at our full hands-on video walkthrough for our step-by-step guide through the setup process. expand full story


January 13

AAPL: 119.04

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WatchPlayer is a free app that allows you to transfer full podcast episodes to the Apple Watch for offline playback. That means you can leave the house without your iPhone and listen to your favorite shows while on-the-go.

The app isn’t the prettiest from a design perspective and podcast file transfers to the Apple Watch are slow, but it’s one of the easiest ways to play podcast episodes on the Apple Watch without an iPhone. The app even affords the ability to listen to your favorite episodes directly from the Apple Watch speaker — no headphones required. Have a look at our hands-on video walkthrough inside for more details.

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January 11

AAPL: 119.75

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Filmic Pro has long been my go-to app for shooting anything but the most frivolous content on my iPhone. It’s an app that affords a level of control over the filming process that’s unlike anything we’ve seen from an iOS app. If you’re serious about filmmaking with your iPhone, then it’s a no-brainer to have Filmic Pro as part of your repertoire. To illustrate the sheer amount of features contained within the app, we created a video that covered its basic concepts, and it was over 13 minutes long.

Filmic has recently been working hard on the next big version of its app. The forthcoming update will introduce a new log mode that allows filmmakers to shoot videos with a flat picture profile containing additional stops of dynamic range. This is the type of feature that’s normally reserved for more expensive standalone cameras, but it will soon be available to iPhone users. expand full story

January 10

AAPL: 119.11

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LG’s UltraFine 5K Display is here, and while it tops the 4K model in virtually every statistic, there are some scenarios where you might consider buying two 21.5-inch 4K displays instead of a single 5K display.

Both UltraFine Displays are on sale for a limited time until March 31, 2017. The LG UltraFine 5K Display is on sale for $974 and the 4K version is on sale for $524.

That means that you can get two 4K models for $1048, or only $74 more than a single 5K display. Despite the 4K version’s noted shortcomings — lack of a camera, microphone, Thunderbolt 3, 10-bit color, etc. — this may be a viable option if it happens to meet your needs. expand full story


January 9

AAPL: 118.99

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As an LG UltraFine 5K Display owner, I’ve been using my MacBook Pro in closed-clamshell mode for the last week. Closed-clamshell mode allows me to drive an external display with the MacBook’s lid closed.

While such a setup looks neat and takes up less desk real estate, there are a few downsides involved. The most obvious downside is that you lose the MacBook Pro’s screen. But for new MacBook Pro owners, losing the Touch Bar might be the bigger downside of the two.

If you’re an iPad owner, there is a decent solution to this problem. You can use your iPad as an external Touch Bar by using Duet, a $9.99 app on the App Store. As originally mentioned on, Duet allows you to use an iOS device as an external display, and its most recent update adds Touch Bar support. This makes the app a viable solution for those wishing to employ closed-clamshell mode on the latest MacBook Pro, and for those with older Mac hardware without the Touch Bar. Watch our brief hands-on video to see how it works in action. expand full story

January 6

AAPL: 117.91

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Keyboard maker Matias announced a new backlit version of its Mac-centric Wireless Aluminum Keyboard during CES yesterday. The keyboard, which will be available in Silver and Space Gray colors, builds on the company’s impressive and already-available Wireless Aluminum Keyboard. expand full story

January 5

AAPL: 116.61

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Panasonic’s recently-announced GH5 mirrorless camera checks off a lot of boxes: internal 10-bit 4:2:2 recording, dual SD Card slots, 4K @ 60p, in body 5-axis image stabilization, and much more. The camera, which is now available for preorder on B&H or Amazon, is a ridiculously-impressive unit that we can’t wait to get our hands on.

And one of the camera’s more unheralded new features is something that will appeal majorly to MacBook owners. Instead of a slow USB 2.0 connection via a USB mini port, Panasonic is including USB 3.1 gen 1 via a USB Type-C port. expand full story


January 4

AAPL: 116.02

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If you’re a new MacBook Pro owner, then perhaps you’ve considered using external storage to increase storage capacity. After all, the MacBook Pro is limited by relatively small internal storage drives, although you can now go up to 2TB (at a $1,200-$1,400 premium) with 15-inch build-to-order options.

That said, I think most professional creatives will be interested in adopting some form of external storage to use with the new MacBook Pro. Of course, there are tons of external drive options on the market, ranging from standard hard drives, to solid state drives. Even if these drives feature USB-A connectors, they can be quickly adapted to work with USB-C.

But the Atom SSD line from Glyph is an extremely attractive choice for new MacBook Pro owners. Not only does it feature excellent build quality and out-of-the-box USB-C to USB-C connectivity, it also takes advantage of USB 3.1 gen 2, which not many external drives can lay claim to at this point.

We previously went hands-on with the standard 1TB Atom SSD, but I recently got my hands on the RAID version, which truly takes advantage of the speeds afforded by the 2016 MacBook Pro. Have a look at our hands-on video walkthrough for the details. expand full story

The LG UltraFine Display’s 5K screen is something to behold, but the Video Electronics Standards Association, better known as VESA, announced its early certification program for interfaces using the DisplayPort standard that can drive 8K video resolution. Not to be outdone, the HDMI Forum also today announced HDMI spec 2.1, which can drive 8K resolutions as well.

While the promise of 8K and higher sounds interesting, it’s a relatively long way off in the mainstream consumer space. However, there are some more practical applications that DisplayPort’s High Bit Rate 3 (HBR3) will allow for, which might be of special interest to MacBook users. expand full story

Today at CES 2017, Kanex announced its new GoPlay Series of portable wireless game controllers for iOS and tvOS. The first release in the series, the GoPlay SideKick, is a pocket-sized wireless gaming controller that works with the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. expand full story

January 3

AAPL: 116.15

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January 2

AAPL: 115.82

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LG’s UltraFine 5K Displays are slowly making their way into the hands of customers, and as such, there are still quite a few lingering questions about the units. We’ve already posted an in-depth hands-on video walkthrough, but in this post we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions that we’ve encountered thus far. expand full story

December 31, 2016

AAPL: 115.82

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The LG UltraFine 5K Display is Apple’s answer to MacBook Pro customers who wish to connect their notebooks to an external display with a single cable. After reportedly getting out of the standalone monitor business, LG’s offerings, which are available in 4K and 5K varieties, might be the next best option.

The fact that you can connect a single Thunderbolt 3 cable from your MacBook to the LG UltraFine 5K Display is quite compelling. Not only will this provide display output, but it will also deliver the necessary power (up to 85W) to keep your MacBook Pro — 13- or 15-inch variety — charged.

We recently got our hands on the LG UltraFine 5K Display. Is it a good choice for MacBook Pro owners? Watch our hands-on video walkthrough inside to learn more. expand full story


December 28, 2016

AAPL: 116.76

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If you’ve ever tried to store a Final Cut Pro X library on an external hard drive connected to your local network, or via an actual NAS from a company like Synology, then you’ve likely been greeted with an unsupported volume type error. This error is there to let you know that you must store a library on a local, SAN, or supported SMB location.

However, it is possible to save a library on a NAS by properly wielding a disk image created via the macOS Disk Utility. Depending on your local setup and network speed, it could make a viable network storage option for your Final Cut Pro X libraries. Have a look at our hands-on video walkthrough to see how it works, and learn about this method’s pluses and minuses. expand full story

December 25, 2016

AAPL: 116.52

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I’ve been testing two new Thunderbolt 3-enabled storage enclosures from the fine folks at Akitio. The Thunder3 Duo Pro is a hardware RAID-enabled enclosure that can accommodate two 2.5- or 3.5-inch drives. The Thunder3 Quad is an enclosure that supports up to four 2.5- or 3.5-inch drives. The Quad lacks a hardware RAID controller, but you can use utilize software RAID at the OS level.

Both enclosures feature dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, which allow the devices to be daisy-chained, and both feature DisplayPort connectivity for supporting external 4K displays at 60Hz without needlessly occupying the adjacent Thunderbolt 3 port.

In this hands-on video, we unbox both enclosures, and mate them with 550MB/s SATA-III solid state drives. What we found was impressive speed when paired with the latest MacBook Pro. expand full story

December 22, 2016

AAPL: 116.29

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As a full time Final Cut Pro X user, I’m always on the lookout for things that can make my editing workflow easier. One such product that fits that description is the Atom SSD from Glyph.

The USB-C-enabled 1TB Atom SSD lends ample storage space to the MacBook Pro in a small, portable form factor. More importantly, the unit is plenty fast for transferring the large files that are common to video editing workflows.

Thanks to its portable size and fast transfer rates, it’s a solid way to add additional storage to the 12-inch MacBook or the MacBook Pro, especially while away from your home or office. Have a look at our hands-on video walkthrough as we take the Atom SSD for a spin.

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December 20, 2016

AAPL: 116.95

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After unexpectedly receiving my AirPods two days earlier than the scheduled delivery date, I’ve been enjoying them for the last few hours. The AirPods, which were first unveiled back at Apple’s iPhone 7 event in early September, endured a delay, but still managed to ship before the end of the 2016.

Our own Benjamin Mayo has already written a hands-on AirPods first impressios post, so I thought I’d put together a post that highlights some of the top features for Apple’s groundbreaking wireless earbuds. Watch our hands-on video walkthrough inside for the full rundown. expand full story

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