Smackdown Stories November 20, 2015

Apple brings Personal Pickup to the UK today, following expansion to Australia and Canada

If you want to get your hands on a shiny new piece of Apple kit right away, but want to minimize the amount of time you have to spend doing battle with the crowds in an Apple Store, U.S. customers have long had the option of placing their order online and then going to a store later the same day or soon after to collect it.

Apple extended the option to Australia and Canada earlier this week, and has now done the same for the UK.

Personal Pickup is available for most in-stock Apple products. To check availability, select your item on the Apple website and then select the ‘Available for pickup: Check availability’ option. You’ll be prompted to enter your postcode to search for nearby stores, and can then see which ones show the product as ‘Available today.’

Once you’ve placed your order, it will usually be available for pickup within the hour, though Apple cautions customers to wait for the email telling them it’s ready.

Apple will remember your selected store and offer this first next time, with an option to search other stores if your chosen item is not available there.

Via Pocket-Lint

Smackdown Stories July 24, 2015

Best-Bluetooth-speakers-2015L to R: UE Mini (review), Roll (review), Boom (review) and Megaboom (review), JBL Charge 2+(review) and Charge 2 (review), Bose Soundlink III (review) and Soundlink Mini 2 (prev review) Best Bluetooth speakers

There’s nothing like having a summer moment free to listen to your favorite music with your friends. The combination of portable Bluetooth speakers and great music apps like Apple Music with Beats 1 radio can make this an instant spontaneous event as long as you’ve got the right gear. There are tons of Bluetooth speakers around but we’re cutting through the noise and signaling the best from three top brands today: Bose, UE and JBL.

In last year’s exhaustive holiday season Best Bluetooth Speaker Review, I gave the title of best speaker to the JBL Charge 2 for having nearly the best sound, cylindrical portability, great looks, long battery life and the ability to charge your phone for around $120. JBL has updated their game with the Charge 2+ but both Bose and UE have really doubled down on their product functionality this year. It is going to be a tough call… expand full story

Smackdown Stories March 3, 2015

gs6-vs-iphone-6

Believe it or not, there’s an iPhone 6 in that pile of smartphones shown in the image above and we’re going to compare it to Samsung’s newly announced Galaxy S6. Which one would you prefer? More importantly, what are the major differences between these two devices? Well, let’s go ahead and find out…

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Smackdown Stories January 11, 2014

Update: Check out the Harman Kardon Esquire which we reviewed in December 2014

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… expand full story

Smackdown Stories November 23, 2013

IMG_5242

With its wide-range of applications, touchscreen capabilities, portability, and fast processing, the iPad Air has been regarded by many users as a tablet capable of content creation. Coming from a dedicated laptop, however, the Multi-Touch keyboard is a weakness. Not because it is incapable, but because it is sometimes slower to type with, less accurate, and less comfortable.

This is why several iPad accessory makers have created solutions: keyboard attachments in the form of cases. For the past few weeks, I have been testing the latest keyboard case offerings for the iPad Air from Logitech, Belkin, and ZAGG. Below, I have put together a review and comparison of the Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio, Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Folio, Belkin Slim Style Keyboard Case, Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case, and the ZAGG Folio Keyboard:

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Smackdown Stories November 6, 2013

iPhone 5s vs Nexus 5 Photo Smackdown: Vote which images are the best

Update: Shocker iPhone won 55% to 45%

We’re doing a little poll over at 9to5Google on the quality of images taken on the new Nexus 5 vs. everyone’s favorite iPhone 5s (Gold obv.).

To check the validity of claims that the Nexus 5 has a poor shooter, we took 10 different pictures with both a Nexus 5 and the reigning champ of smartphone cameras –  the iPhone 5s.  We even split the test over two different Nexus 5s and iPhone 5s devices.  The comparison test is below. We’ll publish the results tomorrow.

Smackdown Stories October 1, 2013

Update: Since this post was originally written, Ultimate Ears has released the Boom 2 and replaced the Mini with the Roll

Last year,  we took the best Bluetooth speakers we could find and put them head to head in one big ‘mega review‘. When all was said and done, the overall best in the field was the Ultimate Ears (UE) Mini Boombox which retailed for $99.  Since that time, we’ve reviewed plenty of others including new standouts like the $149  JBL Charge and the $199 Bose Mini Soundlink which we found to be fantastic, higher-priced alternatives.

A few weeks ago, Ultimate Ears dropped their prices on the Mini Boombox at retailers like Amazon and Best Buy and a new Mini Boom app hit the App Store. We reached out to Ultimate Ears on the matter and (long story short)  got ourselves the new UE Mini Boom demo units that launch this morning. How did they stack up against the competition and the previous versions?

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Smackdown Stories April 15, 2013

Welcome to 9to5Mac’s Smackdown series, where we compare the top hardware and software accessories for your Apple products.

App.net (or “ADN,” as many users have come to call it) was launched last year as an alternative to other microblogging platforms that had become more hostile to developers in recent months. The idea wasn’t so much about ripping off Twitter as it was about giving developers a friendly place to build cool apps and services. Rather than being funded by venture capitalists or advertisments, ADN was funded solely by the people using the platform. Users and app developers paid a yearly fee to get into the network or build on its API.

In the time since it was opened to the public, ADN has lowered their annual fee, introduced feature-limited, invitation-only free accounts, a cloud storage service, and more. Thanks to the developer-friendly atmosphere, many amazing iPhone clients have been released. In today’s smackdown, we’re going to put three of the most popular, fully-featured apps head-to-head to determine which one is the best.

If you want to give these apps a try, you’ll need either a free or paid ADN account. The free accounts are only available by invitation, but lucky for you we happen to have 400 invitations to hand out. Want to claim one? Just click this link and sign up. Once you get there, be sure to follow us.

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Smackdown Stories March 29, 2013

iPad keyboards helped kickstart the move from content consumption on an iPad to creation. First there was the iPad dock which you could use in conjunction with a Bluetooth keyboard to get some serious writing done. But docks aren’t very portable.

Next came keyboard attachments – two of my favorites are from Logitech and Zagg – but they don’t offer much protection if you drop your iPad (in fact you may notice a slight crack at the top right of my screen there *ahem).

This week, both Belkin (Ultimate Keyboard Case. $99) and Logitech (Keyboard Folio $99) began selling keyboard cases that actually offer up some protection from falls.

(also check out the  ZaggFolio which also offers backlighting and comes in at $99-129. We’ll review that in the coming weeks).

I had a chance to put the two up against each other to find out which was the best and found out that it just isn’t that simple… expand full story

Smackdown Stories February 7, 2013

photoWelcome to 9to5Mac’s Smackdown series, where we compare the top hardware and software accessories for your Apple products.

When it comes to email on the iPhone, some users find the built-in Mail app lacking. Luckily, there are quite a few third-party clients available for your emailing needs. We’ll be running down all the major ones today, including those from the mail providers themselves and today’s big news Mailbox.app.

What you won’t find here are “apps” that simply give you the mobile web version of a mail service. If that’s what you want, you already have an app for that. If you want a native third-party email app for your iPhone, keep reading.

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Smackdown Stories January 21, 2013

image by @surenix

Welcome to 9to5Mac’s new Smackdown series, where we compare the top hardware and software accessories for your Apple products.

If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly on some form of social media or another. You’re not a self-proclaimed “social media guru” or some kind of “expert” on getting people to follow you, just someone who enjoys talking to interesting people online.

For most of us, our network of choice is Twitter. But, when it comes to using Twitter while on-the-go, there is a ton of different apps to choose from. To help make this decision easier (and save you a few bucks in the process), we compared five of the most popular Twitter clients available for the iPhone.

Everyone uses Twitter for something different. The features you want may not be the same features I want. Whether you’re a long time iPhone user or just stepped into the world of iOS for the first time over the holidays, we have an app for you. If you’re a Twitter power-user, we got you covered. If you just want to read your timeline and keep up with your friends, there’s something here for you, too.

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