SwitchEasy Stories July 28, 2015

Earlier in my reviewing career, I always tried to estimate the likely audience for products I tested: was an accessory likely to be universally appealing, somewhat popular, niche, or poorly received by virtually everyone? Many reviews (and reader comments) later, I learned there was at least a small audience for virtually anything, and conversely, that some people found reasons to dislike even the best-designed and best-reviewed products. I eventually concluded that there is no such thing as “universally appealing” or “universally bad” — just products for different audiences of different sizes.

SwitchEasy’s Blocks ($20) and Colors ($15) are as close to a test of my conclusion as anything I’ve covered so far for Apple’s $350-$17,000 Watches. Blocks lets you build your own Apple Watch dock from 92 plastic pieces that just so happen to be “compatible with Leading Manufacturer building blocks,” code for “works with Legos.” Colors is an inexpensive Apple Watch case designed to match three Apple Watch Sport bands. Toy-like in appearance, the designs are clearly not “universally appealing,” particularly for owners of expensive Apple Watches and Editions. But it’s possible that one or both of them may appeal to you, anyway… expand full story

SwitchEasy Stories February 15, 2015

Every iPad since the original has had a SwitchEasy Canvas case, a series of folio designs that hit their apex back in 2013 with an uber-protective version for the original iPad mini. The formula’s always the same: a canvas lid and mostly canvas back, plus a plastic iPad-holding shell and a fabric lining. SwitchEasy always tosses in some goodies to sweeten the package, too, including screen film and a cleaning cloth. There aren’t many surprises, but a Canvas case is always a good case.

Arriving at a time when iPad Air 2 cases are still scarce, Canvas for iPad Air 2 ($50) doesn’t stray far from the formula. With an MSRP nearly $30 lower than Apple’s $79 iPad Air 2 Smart Case, it’s available in three color options, each with the standard three materials, and does a nice job of protecting Apple’s latest tablet. Read on for additional photos and details.

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Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip

SwitchEasy Stories December 29, 2014

Review: SwitchEasy’s Power Amp charges 4 iPhones or iPads, somewhat ambiguously

We take utter simplicity for granted when choosing wall chargers for Apple devices. Apple’s adapters each have one USB port and a relatively clear label identifying the device the port will charge. Most of RAVPower’s largest multi-port chargers are very clear about what their multiple ports can do: each port is either iPhone (1-Amp) or iPad (2.4-Amp) enabled, period. But SwitchEasy, an infrequent dabbler in electronic accessories, has overcomplicated its new four-port charger Power Amp ($50), sometimes styled PowerAmp. While it cosmetically looks almost as if it could be an Apple design, its ports are packed with confusion.

On the positive side, it’s relatively compact, and if you can look past its confusing labeling, its performance isn’t bad. Read on for more.

SwitchEasy Stories December 23, 2014

Review: SwitchEasy’s Rave gives iPhone 6, iPad Air 2 owners colorful case options, while Numbers stumbles

Over the past decade I’ve been reviewing cases for Apple devices, people have occasionally asked how I can find new ways to write about products that are so similar to one another. My answer: I focus on the differences, and sometimes find fascinating how something that worked or didn’t work for one Apple device has flipped for another device.

SwitchEasy has been making cases for almost as long as I’ve been reviewing them, and quickly developed a reputation for outstanding value across budget-priced options. But something changed over the last couple of years, and the cases have shifted from mostly clear hits to a mix of hits and misses. The company’s latest releases for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPad Air 2 are so numerous and up and down that I’m not going to cover all of them. But for different reasons, two new models — Numbers for iPhone 6 / iPhone 6 Plus, and Rave for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Air 2 — are worthy of a quick spotlight today.

SwitchEasy Stories December 8, 2014

My first post for 9to5Mac is on a topic near and dear to my heart: best-of-breed Apple products and accessories. Why should you trust me? I’ve been a professional product reviewer for 23 years and an Apple user for 28 years. Last week, I finished an 11-year stint running the editorial side of iLounge, the leading Apple product review site, where I tested literally thousands of Apple accessories from every major company on the planet. Readers have praised my reviews as accurate and insightful, and I always put my readers’ needs first when testing new products.

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