USB 3.0 Stories July 7, 2015

9to5Toys Last Call: WD 2TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive $70, 13″ MacBook Air (newest version) $830, more

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Today’s can’t miss deals:

Last Call Updates:

Palette puts Adobe’s Creative Suite in the palm of your hands with its new modular control surface

WD Elements 2TB USB 3.0 Hard Drive $70, Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD $150more

Apple 13-inch MacBook Air (newest model) 1.6GHz/4GB/128GB: $830 shipped (Reg. $999)

Review: JBL’s new Charge 2+ and Clip+ deliver big sound in a portable Bluetooth package designed for outdoor activity

iPad Air 2 Wi-Fi 16GB $359, iPhone 6/Plus w/ free $150 GC on installment or $70 off w/ 2-yr contract

iPad Air Wi-Fi + Cellular 128GB in Silver: $449 shipped (Orig. $929)

GoPro’s new HERO4 Session waterproof action camera is the size of an ice cube with an iceberg-sized price

Amazon is throwing itself a birthday party so big it’ll make you forget about Black Friday

More new gear from today:

Daily Deals: Denon 7.2-Ch Network A/V Receiver $299, Logitech Spill Proof Bluetooth keyboard (refurb) $25, more

Ubisoft unveils the debut trailer for its new Rayman Adventures mobile game

More deals still alive:

SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive: 32GB $40 (Reg. $80), 64GB $55 (Reg. $120)

Logitech Master MX Wireless Mouse $87 shipped (Reg. $100)

Apple is giving away free downloads of iOS cooking app Green Kitchen ($5 value)

App Store Free App of the Week: Star Walk 2 goes free for the first time ($3 value)

Bloons Tower Defense 5 for iPhone/iPad goes free (Reg. $3/$5)

App Store promo – Great Games 50% off: Halo Spartan Strike $3 (Reg. $6)more

Readdle launches Scanner Pro 6 for iOS w/ release day pricing: $3 (Reg. $6)

New products & more:

Must-have gear to take on summer concerts and festivals like a pro

Samsung takes the wraps off a pair of monstrous 2TB internal solid-state drives

USB 3.0 Stories June 29, 2015

Ever since Apple launched the single-port 12-inch MacBook, we’ve seen a flurry of companies offering to add the missing ports back in through various adapters, hubsdocks and more. Latest to the party is Branch, a Kickstarter project whose USP is its ‘form-fitted’ shape, which is naturally available in each of the three MacBook colors.

The emphasis here is on packing the essentials into an extremely portable unit, providing USB-C pass-through, two USB 3.0 ports and one Mini Display port capable of driving a 4K monitor. The company had originally pitched with HDMI (shown above), but said that it has switched to Mini DisplayPort following feedback from Kickstarter users …  expand full story

USB 3.0 Stories June 27, 2015

Up until recently, Thunderbolt 2 docks could mostly be described as “seen one, seen them all.” I’ve continued to like the idea of docks that fuse Thunderbolt 2, USB 3.0, and other peripherals together in a single Thunderbolt-to-Mac connection, but the docks I’ve seen from Belkin, Elgato, and Kanex are so similar in looks and features that they’d be hard to tell apart in a lineup. CalDigit’s dock looked very different from the rest, but functioned almost exactly the same. No Thunderbolt 2 dock has been small enough to consider “portable,” and CalDigit’s design is downright bag-defiant in shape.

That’s why it’s great to see Akitio take a different path with the $279 Thunder2 Dock (available through Amazon for $230), a Thunderbolt 2 dock with a smaller form factor and focus. Roughly as thin as a MacBook Pro and made from a nearly-matching aluminum, Thunder2 Dock manages to include seven high-speed data ports even though it’s roughly the size of a portable hard drive. Since it requires wall power, it’s not completely portable, and just like its rivals, you give up certain features to gain others. But it’s definitely the first Thunderbolt dock I’d carry around if I needed multi-device support in the field…

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USB 3.0 Stories June 7, 2015

Review: SanDisk Dual USB Drive connects with the 12-inch MacBook’s USB-C port & traditional USB

Cloud syncing services like Dropbox and iCloud Drive connect most of our devices nowadays, and AirDrop offers fast data transfer between Macs for smaller files… when it works. Physically moving files from one machine to another using a drive in the middle, or sneakernet, remains the most reliable way to quickly move files between Macs for many. Without a proper adapter, Apple’s 12-inch MacBook doesn’t fit into this workflow though. That’s where SanDisk’s Dual USB Drive ($49.99), comes into play.

Dual USB Drive conveniently works with both USB-C MacBooks and traditional USB ports on other Macs or PCs, all in a tiny package with plenty of storage…

USB 3.0 Stories May 10, 2015

USB hubs are often hard to tell apart from one another: the Moshi iLynx 3 I reviewed here in February was the rare hub that actually matched the silver metal and black plastic look of the Macs it was designed to be used with. After an extended post-announcement delay, long-time Mac accessory maker Mobee Technology has finally released an alternative that uses two cool tricks to stand apart from all of its rivals: the Magic Hub ($50).

Five inches tall, 2.6″ wide and around 2″ thick, the Magic Hub is the first USB hub designed such that its physical characteristics are all but irrelevant. Mobee’s concept is to completely hide the Hub behind your iMac, filling the hole Apple left in the iMac’s stand using a screw-on clamp and a pass-through wall power port. Rather than requiring its own wall outlet for power, it hijacks the iMac’s power cable and passes power through both itself and your computer, powering four USB 3.0 ports in the process. If that sounds cool, read on… expand full story

USB 3.0 Stories May 2, 2015

Across the How-To guides I’ve written for adding solid state drives (SSDs) to iMacs, Mac Pros, Mac minis and MacBooks, there was one option I left out: thumb drives. While external SSDs such as Elgato’s Thunderbolt Drives and Samsung’s T1 can do two things — dramatically speed up Macs and add storage space — thumb drives tend to be much slower, lower in capacity, and made from inexpensive materials to achieve smaller sizes and price points.

Other World Computing’s new Envoy Pro mini (120GB/$119, 240GB/$199) sits directly between thumb drives and SSDs in both features and performance. “It’s nearly twice as fast as the average thumb drive,” OWC says, and roughly the size of an actual adult thumb — larger than most USB flash drives, but a lot smaller than traditional external hard drives, while promising “desktop-class” SSD speeds, capacities, and build quality. Unlike common plastic thumb drives, it’s made from aluminum and uses a USB 3.0 connector, yet matches desktop SSD 120GB or 240GB storage capacities. It’s affordable, but clearly designed to be a professional option.

How does it actually stack up? Read on…

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