The Mac App Store is rubbish! Rent apps instead with Setapp [Reviews]

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The Setapp folder full of applications
Setapp currently offers more than 60 apps, with plans to expand.
Image: Setapp

Apple’s Mac App Store is broken. For developers and Mac users alike, the online store just isn’t working.

It’s too hard for buyers to find good software. And, thanks to Apple’s picky restrictions, the Mac App Store can make life difficult for developers.

Setapp, a Netflix-style subscription service for Mac apps, offers an innovative alternative. Instead of buying apps individually, you rent a bunch of them for $9.99 a month.

While it might sound unnerving to anyone accustomed to the idea of buying Mac apps outright, after using the service for two months, I found it liberating. Setup is dead-easy. And the selection is fantastic. Setapp serves up more than 60 Mac apps, all handpicked by MacPaw, the Mac development company that dreamed up the service.

Beats X are better than AirPods in almost every way [Reviews]

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Beats earphones
The Beats X are worth listening to.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

I’ve never been a fan of Beats headphones. Whenever I’ve given them a go, I’ve found the sound quality to be less than stellar, with far too much bass. So when Apple unveiled Beats X wireless headphones alongside the AirPods last fall, the weird-looking white ones grabbed my attention.

Now that I’ve had a chance to try them both, it’s clear I got that backward. I give you all the details on Beats X versus AirPods in my Beats X review below.

Lust List: Zens Power Bank is a great little Apple Watch battery [Review]

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Zens Apple Watch Power Bank
The Apple Watch Power Bank by Zens is a handy little battery pack for your timepiece.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Update: The Apple Watch Powerbank by Zens is now available at the Watch Store with free shipping!

Lust List: Apple Watch Powerbank by Zens

Most external batteries for the Apple Watch are BYOC — Bring Your Own Cable — and have bulky winding systems for tucking the cable away.

Not the compact Apple Watch Powerbank from Zens, perhaps the most portable external battery pack on the market.

Nike+ Run Club is borking my runs, and I blame Apple Watch

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Nike Run Club on Apple Watch Nike+
Does the Nike Run Club app for Apple Watch Nike+ go the distance?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

At the most essential level, a running app should provide a reliable way to log your workouts: when, where, how fast and how far you run. Fancy features are all very well and good, but let’s be honest — if an app doesn’t get the basics right, it sucks.

Nike has been busy adding new bells and whistles to its Nike+ Run Club app recently. Which is great if you want stuff like photo sharing and news feeds. But all I want is to log my runs, and thanks to my Apple Watch Nike+, that critical function has become pretty unreliable.

BeatsX ears on: AirPods rivals bring the bass [Reviews]

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beats x wireless
The Beats X Wireless earbuds charge via Lightning.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The long wait for Apple’s new BeatsX wireless earbuds is finally over and based on our first impressions, it was totally worth it.

We got our hands on a pair of the precious new BeatsX buds today and are mighty impressed by the big sound Apple managed to pack in such a small package. Like the AirPods, the BeatsX earbuds pack a custom W1 Bluetooth chip to pump out better performance and connectivity. Unboxing the tethered buds has been love at first sight.

Let’s dive in!

$10 Milanese loop for Apple Watch rivals the original [Reviews]

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Milanese Loop
Get the look of Apple's Milanese Loop for a fraction of the price.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The internet brims with knockoff Apple Watch bands that are nearly as good as the real deal at a fraction of the price. Determining whether a knockoff is actually any good, however, is another story.

I’ve taken a look at one such band by Cambond, which mimics in appearance the popular Milanese loop by Apple. Retailing at $149, the Milanese is indeed pricey as are most of Apple’s bands whereas Cambond’s version is about 10 bucks.

Belkin Car Vent Mount is a smart, sturdy way to go hands-free [Reviews]

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Belkin Car Vent Mount
You really shouldn't be holding your smartphone while you're driving. The Belkin Car Vent Mount is here to help.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

You’ve got your car. You’ve got your iPhone. You want to use your iPhone in your car, but driving with a smartphone in your hand is supposedly dangerous — and can get pretty pricey if you get caught doing it in California and other states that mandate hands-free driving.

The Belkin Car Vent Mount is a low-cost, low-profile way to keep your phone within reach (and you on the right side of the law, depending on where you drive).

Embellish your Apple Watch with one-of-a-kind batik strap [Watch Store]

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Clessant's Blue Batik Strap is a beautiful blend of ancient Indonesian art, batik, and French leather-making.
Photo: Clessant

Make Apple’s most personal device as unique as you are with a truly distinctive, statement-making strap worthy of a double take. The exotic Batik Strap for Apple Watch from Clessant is a refreshing take on an everyday accessory. No two are ever alike. And, you can get ahold of it now in Cult of Mac’s new Watch Store!

Custom-fit Apple Watch band takes simplicity to next level [Reviews]

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The adjustable length button-stud band fits virtually all wrist sizes.
Photo: Form Function Form

Lust List: Button-Stud Apple Watch Band by Form Function Form

Making Apple’s “most personal device ever” personal to you is super-serious business for one Florida purveyor of hand-made leather goods.

Echoing the individuality of Apple Watch, Form Function Form takes customization to new levels in the design of its one-of-a-kind Button-Stud Apple Watch Band. This ingenious leather strap has 21 different size options, one of which is sure to fit even the fleshiest of wrists. If it doesn’t, the company provides free size adjustments for the entirety of your life.

AmpliFi HD’s blazing-fast Wi-Fi will spoil you rotten [Reviews]

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AmpliFi HD router
This is not your typical ugly router. An LCD touchscreen tells you what the .AmpliFi HD is up to.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

For years, “the last mile” earned the title of broadband’s biggest boogeyman. Now that most of us benefit from having a fairly fat pipe to our houses, it’s more like the last 10 feet — Wi-Fi dead spots can drive you crazy.

The AmpliFi HD System, one of a new pack of mesh systems that pave the way to our trouble-free Wi-Fi future, solves the problem. With a charming little router and a couple of mesh points, AmpliFi HD makes it possible to get a strong Wi-Fi signal to your basement, your attic or that awkward back bedroom where you can never stream anything. It also eliminates the sort of nerdy pain points typically associated with setting up and managing a home Wi-Fi network.