The ST2 electric bike from Stromer will put a big smile on your face. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Oh. My. Gosh. The Stromer ST2 electric bike is so much fun, it should not be street legal.
Two weeks ago I had zero interest in electric bikes. I’ve ridden traditional bicycles my entire life and I love them. The very idea of an electric bike was repellent — even in a hilly city like San Francisco. Hills and exercise are the entire point.
Then I test-rode the Stromer ST2.
Three seconds in, I’m laughing like a madman as the ST2 takes off like a rocket. I spend the next 30 minutes flying up and over the hill where I live, laughing like a loon and having the time of my life.
Now I’m a convert. The ST2 is the best electric bike on the market. It performs like a champ, has a ton of high-tech features (including an iOS app), and actually looks cool and not ridiculous.
Each and every month, Lust List rounds up the products that fooled us with their style and ease. This time we've got iPad accessories, international travel aids, bags and sporting gear, turkey jerky that's anything but foul and more.
Twist Plus World Charging Station by ONEADPATR
ONEADPATR's Twist Plus World Charging Station ($44.99) solves a problem I didn’t know I had. On a recent trip to Portugal, I was able to twist myself to a European plug and get all my charging needs out of single power outlet. It turns out that was the perfect country for such a gizmo, as the Portuguese are not overly generous with their power outlets.
You just slide your MacBook power block onto the Twist Plus and push in a handful of USB cables. In a matter of seconds, I was charging my laptop, my phone, my Garmin bicycle computer and my iPad. I won’t travel again without it. — Jim Merithew
This Kickstarter-funded iPad keyboard and case combo will wow you with its delightfully grippy faux wood grain finish. Designed for the iPad Air and the iPad Air 2, the three-piece Libre Keyboard Folio comes with a case that holds your tablet snugly plus two interchangeable covers. One boasts an incredibly thin, backlit Bluetooth keyboard that works exceedingly well. The other is a simple cover for when you don't need do any typing.
CaseStudi’s design for the Libre is pretty fantastic. The part that holds the iPad comes with a cool kickstand, and it's a cinch to switch between the various covers. Some custom covers are available at $11.99 each, including one with a dog dressed like Michael Jackson and another with a cat costumed like Lady Gaga, with more styles on the way. The gray felt cover is my current favorite, bringing a crafty, homey comfort to the high-tech wonder of my iPad.
The magnet that holds the covers in place shut offs and wakes the iPad just like Apple’s Smart Covers do. The magnet is amazingly strong, too: You can hold the cover and dangle the Libre's iPad case with zero separation anxiety.
You can preorder the three-piece Libre Keyboard Folio for $79.99 for delivery in July. — Rob LeFebvre
Battery packs are a dime a dozen these days, but Mophie continually sets itself apart as the gold standard. The new Mophie spacestation ($149.95) comes equipped with a 6,000-mAh battery that promises at least a couple of full charges on the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus.
But wait! There's more! Mophie boosts the spacestation beyond your average battery juicer by including internal flash storage that acts like a portable hard drive for your iOS device. The dedicated Space app is quite nice for adding and managing photos, videos and other media from the spacestation. Knowing you have extra storage on the go, even with the 32GB base model I have (it goes up to 128GB), brings peace of mind.
I’ve used plenty of battery packs and cases in the past (many of which have been from Mophie), and this spacestation is as good as any. It’s shorter than an iPhone 6 and pretty light, which makes it super-easy to throw in a bag and forget. The only downside is that it charges through micro-USB (I was hoping for Lightning). — Alex Heath
WaterField Designs' Bolt briefcase is not for hoarders who want to carry every infernal gadget with them everywhere they go. Like the impossibly thin new MacBook, it's stripped down to the essentials — and the essentials are stylish, sturdy and compelling.
The $249 Bolt will surprise you with its slimness. It comes in two sizes — the small one I tested holds up to a 13-inch MacBook Air (the larger model holds up to a 17-inch laptop). After sliding in an 11-inch Air, an iPad and an envelope full of documents, the Bolt was fairly full; there was barely room to toss in a pair of headphones.
But that's the point of the Bolt. It's designed for carting around your must-have gear in a sleek, pleasing package. The brown waxed canvas bag looked good out of the gate (and even better after a few trips gave it more character). The chocolate leather accents, including a thick bottom that's perfect for keeping grime at bay, seem like they will only look better over time.
The craftsmanship employed by the San Francisco bag maker is evident from the first zip of the Bolt's hefty, waterproof zipper or the first flip of the "snaps" that close the front pockets. (They're not really snaps: They look like snaps, but in reality they're magnets that effectively hold the pockets shut but are 1,000 times easier to work than your typical closure.)
A leather-faced pad on the removable shoulder strap boasts a grippy, rubberized back that keeps the Bolt from sliding around. And speaking of not sliding around, the simple pass-through on the back of the Bolt is perfect for sliding the petite bag over the handle of a piece of carry-on luggage.
If you go from a backpack to a Bolt, you will undoubtedly miss all that extra space for cramming in jackets, water bottles and half-eaten sandwiches. But, like a decluttered house, the Bolt's wonderful minimalism will grow on you. — Lewis Wallace
The Kitsbow clan call themselves "The Obsessives," mostly because they are intensely interested in making some of the best mountain bike attire available. They take some heat for making their price point somewhere north of where most dirt dogs deem necessary, but after laying your hands on a few of their pieces you will understand why they get all the rave reviews.
The new Kitsbow Power Wool Base Layer ($115), designed in conjunction with Polartec, is no exception. Kitsbow calls it a base layer and it certainly could be used as one, but I found it to be versatile as either a jersey by itself or as a cozy shirt on a cool evening. The Polartec Power Wool uses Merino wool on the inside and polyster/nylon on the outside, wicking the moisture away from the body, evaporating the wet to keep you dry. — Jim Merithew
It's hard to believe, but one of the first things I want to do after a particularly hard bicycle ride is take a hot shower and zap myself. Ever since receiving a Marc Pro for review, I’m addicted to the post-ride electro contractions.
The Marc Pro ($649.95) is a little box you hook up to electrodes that you stick on your quads, calves, back or any muscle group in need of some active recovery. Then you dial in the amount of impulse you are comfortable with and, over a 30-to-60-minute period, the little box gets those muscles contracting and relaxing.
The idea is that you will move more oxygen through your wasted muscles during these “non-fatiguing” contractions, thus purging all the gunk you built up in there. The Marc Pro website can give you loads of science behind this but, unlike compression wear, this technology appears to deliver more than just a placebo effect. It makes me feel almost human the day after a big ride. — Jim Merithew
You can turn your iPhone into a killer live music recording rig with this slick little appendage from IK Multimedia. Called the iRig Mic Field, it plugs into the Lightning port on your iPhone and will record any sound source you can throw at it.
Use it with the free iRig Recorder app for your iOS device and record interviews or live demos from your band. Flip your iPhone into landscape mode and use it to record anything your heart desires, from live gigs to student plays. The little light on the front of the Mic Field shines blue if the source is too quiet, red if it’s too loud (so you can turn down the gain) and green/yellow if it’s just right. If you have any audio or video recording to do, the iRig Mic Field is the way to go at $99. — Rob LeFebvre
I like to think I'm a minimalist photography gear guy, but I’m not. I hate to be on a shoot, thinking I never should have left the macro at home or wondering why I didn’t pack this cable or that lens. So even though I have spent my life searching for the perfect stealth camera bag, I almost always reach for the same giant backpack to load my camera into.
Along comes ILE with an offer to test their Ultimate Photographers Bag -- MKIII. It's an enormous photo backpack and I, of course, hesitated. What would I do with all that room, all those options and all those pockets?
How about plan a trip to Portugal where I need to take all my gear? The $380 bag handled both my DSLR cameras, three lenses, my Q flash, batteries, chargers, cables, etc., and I still got to fill the top compartment with all my carry-on needs, my laptop and snacks. The bag swallowed everything I could think of and, although it was quite a handful once loaded, I was still able to adjust it to be almost comfortable on my back. I didn’t take advantage of the tripod pocket, but the little clip-on accessory pocket came in extremely helpful for my wallet and passport.
I know pink and black might not be the first choice for everyone, but I think it looks baller (and you can always order one in the color scheme of your choice). — Jim Merithew
The New Primal's Free Range Turkey Jerky is crack for carnivores. It's got none of the farmyard funk that fouls lesser brands: These thin, chewy strips of meat taste fresh and wonderful, with a delicious, delicate sweetness that had us scanning the ingredients list for sugar.
We were relieved to discover that this premium turkey jerky is made from humanely raised birds that weren't pumped full of hormones or antibiotics before they were plucked from the pasture and turned into nutritious snacks. Marinating the turkey breasts in apple cider vinegar — and flavoring them with pineapple juice, honey, onion, white pepper and ginger — infuses these meaty treats with layers of satisfying flavor.
The only problem is the size: The 2-ounce envelopes, which sell for $26.95 for four, aren't exactly giant. You'll be jonesing for your next packet as soon as you finish the first. — Jim Merithew
With a creative blend of natural fibers (Merino wool) and Space Age fibers (polyester and elastane), super.natural conjures garments that wick moisture away from your body while keeping you toasty-warm.
We didn’t have any real winter here in Northern California this year, so even though I left the $85 super.natural Base 1/4 Zip 175 jersey in my go-bag for months, it never got the call. So I pulled out the garment and stuck it in my suitcase for a recent cycling trip. I used it as my stay-warm-during-the-cool-nights base layer; it performed flawlessly (and also looked damn nice). — Jim Merithew
It has taken me forever to embrace the "bigger is better" theory of putting new kicks on my road bike. I guess I still cling to the old-school notion of super-thin, super-high-pressure tires, even though all the recent research points toward bigger tires, running at lower pressure, being faster in addition to more comfortable.
I've made the move slowly, going from 21s to 23s to 25s. Now I'm finally up to a set of the new Clement Cycling Strada LGG Clincher 120 TPI Tire 28s on my daily whip and I gotta say, from the very first ride, I have been wondering what I have been waiting for.
Clement is well-known in cyclocross circles for making some amazing rubber for the run-and-ride set, and their first foray into road bike tires seems to be a success. I only have a handful of rides on these treads, but with some varied San Francisco spring conditions they seem to roll great and have just enough grip to inspire confidence. — Jim Merithew
Stuck on the side of the road and need a jump? Why call your flaky friend or an expensive tow truck when you can just pull the Cyntur JumperPack mini out of your trunk or glove box? This tiny powerhouse will keep a full car battery’s charge for up to a year, which is all kinds of awesome. It even has a port so you can charge any gadgety device that powers up via USB, making this a clear winner for those of us who like to leave the comfort of our houses and cars for adventures in the woods.
Better yet? It’s completely rechargeable via a wall plug at home. Never leave home again without this sexy battery pack. It’s super-compact and comes with a lovely zippered case where you can store the wall plug, all for $99.99. — Rob LeFebvre
It’s not, you know, pretty pretty, but Bloodborne’s grim Gothic setting does have its charms. Photo: Sony
Bloodborne’s village of Yharnam is a dangerous place. It’s full of werewolves, trolls, giant pigs and a host of other terrible beasts that want to kill you. And they can. And they will. But that’s all part of the fun.
Yharnam is a towering, Gothic, often claustrophobic place with buildings piled on buildings and dead ends everywhere. It isn’t a vacation spot, and it isn’t here to make you happy. It exists to give those who venture within exactly what they deserve, for good or ill. The village rewards those who take their time, study their enemies, and plan their moves carefully. And it punishes those who rush or are otherwise careless.
If you want to survive Bloodborne, you must be careful and learn everything you can about both your own and the monsters’ capabilities. This might take a while, but it’s a game in which progress really feels like progress, and you have nobody to blame for failure but yourself.
Don’t worry — we’ll resolve all this next week. Photo: Capcom
You don’t always have to sit down to an epic, 100-hour slog to get your gaming in. Developers are delivering plenty of great bite-size, episodic games that (usually) release one part at a time.
If you’re looking for something you can play in installments, here are four great places to start. These games are all fully released, so you won’t have to wait for the next episode if you can’t stand the suspense. This is great if you’re like me; I watched all of Breaking Bad in a week once it was all up on Netflix. That’s just how I roll.
Apple Watch is a great early adopter device. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Apple Watch is the most confounding device to come out of Cupertino since Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone. Is is it a watch? Is it a tiny computer on your wrist? It’s both — and it’s so much more.
After four days playing with the Apple Watch, we’ve found it to be far more futuristic — and far more fun — than we could have imagined. (It’s even more impressive if you’ve tried any of the other smartwatches on the market.)
Apple Watch isn’t without its disappointments, though. If you’re still unsure whether to shackle yourself to Jony Ive’s fabulous timepiece, here’s our take on what works — and what doesn’t.
As far as secret identities go, Daredevil’s cover as a blind lawyer is pretty solid. Photo: Netflix
Marvel’s new show about blind superhero Daredevil swoops into your Netflix queue this Friday, and the looming arrival of “the man without fear” got us in the mood to watch some other comic-inspired TV shows and movies. To make it interesting, however, we’re avoiding the obvious Marvel and DC characters and focusing on lesser-known and original characters.
Here are a few more metahuman stories to help you get your fix of “BIFFs!” and “POWs!” Be sure to tell us some of your favorites in the comments.
The Resident Evil franchise has suffered a bit of an identity crisis in recent years, straying from its survival-horror roots toward something considerably more action-based. The latest entry, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, tries to have it both ways by splitting its four-chapter tale between two storylines. One features two frantic survivors struggling for resources, and the other has you playing as a heavily armed man of action.
It seems like mixing these two extremes would end up diluting them both, but somehow developer Capcom managed to take the best of both play styles and create something distinctive, harrowing and still damned scary.
Each and every month, Lust List rounds up the products that shook us all night long. This time we've got unique backpacks, iPhone-saving cases, cool music gear, hot chile booze and much more.
Timbuk2 Muttmover dog backpack
My mother's dog is a little fluffy menace. A Pomeranian, he looks like dog treats wouldn't melt in his mouth, but he's a terror. He goes completely bananas when other dogs are around, and gets bitey if you try to move him off the couch. Last time I tried to stop him from eating the cat's food, I had to go get a tetanus shot. The neighbors call him "Little Cujo."
The only time he's manageable is when he's in a bag. He loves a good bag, and it keeps him out of trouble. Everywhere he goes, Mother puts him in a duffel bag that's a bit too big and unwieldy. So I got her Timbuk2's Muttmover dog backpack, which both she and the little DFH (Dog From Hell) love.
It's a medium-size backpack, so it's easy for her to sling over her shoulder. It's more compact and manageable than the duffel, plus there's a carrying handle on top. The front panel zips open completely, making it easy for the devil dog to step inside. The liner is made of a slick tarpaulin material (with a nice paw-print design), which is easy to clean if he has a whoopsie. There's a ton of pockets for muzzles and Band-Aids, plus zippered portholes for him to stick his evil little face out. It includes a folding water dish. Timbuk2 told me the $118 Muttmover is so popular, it often sells out. — Leander Kahney
A trail-worthy pint glass that doesn't sweat, keeps my beer cold longer and adds no metallic taste. What's not to like? Unless, of course, your wife discovers it's also perfect for keeping her tea hot (the outside doesn't become hot to the touch, thanks to the 16-ounce Hydro Flask True Pint's double-walled vacuum insulation).
The only thing to do is decide which of the five color choices I like best and order more. Luckily, the $21.99 True Pint was designed to be stackable. — Jim Merithew
Portable flash drives aren't sexy, but when you're stuck with a 16GB iPhone, they can be a godsend. Leef's iBridge portable drives are designed to work with iPhones and iPads so you never run out of storage, no matter how many photos and videos you add to your device. Starting at $59.99 for a 16GB stick (with options up to 128 GB), iBridge helps you make the most of your iPhone's storage by providing a physical safe haven for all your favorite content.
The iBridge comes with a slick, minimalist app that helps transfer content from your Mac to your iPhone or vice versa. It's ridiculously easy to use and allows you to shoot photos or videos and save them directly on the drive. You'll have to shell out $199 for the 128GB option, but it's cheaper than splurging on a 128GB iPhone 6. — Buster Hein
Ever wish you had your own guitar tech so you could focus on playing your ax, not tuning it? How about a quick change from the standard tuning to something different, like an open-E tuning? The $99 Roadie Tuner lets you do just that with a sweet little robo-device that will listen to your guitar strings via a Bluetooth-connected iPhone app and then turn those shiny tuning pegs all on its own.
The accompanying free Roadie Tuner iOS app has all sorts of tuning profiles that will help you become the next Joni Mitchell. The system works with acoustic or electric guitars, so you'll always be in perfect tune. Of course, we can't say the same thing for your bass player. — Rob LeFebvre
I've been using a BaseLift on my 15-inch MacBook Pro for the past couple weeks, and I have yet to take it off (it sticks on with adhesive and installation is super-easy). That's saying something, because usually I abandon add-ons like these after testing.
Twelve South claims the elevated angle means you'll type more comfortably, but I'm not sure I buy that. How typing makes you feel depends entirely on how your wrists are positioned relative to your forearms. So if your wrists are bent up at a sharp angle, you're going to cramp. That said, I haven't had any cramping issues while using the BaseLift. And I actually like having my screen elevated just a little. It makes a big difference when you're staring at a screen all day.
The BaseLift is compatible with all MacBooks (11-inch Air to 15-inch Pro), and costs $39.99. — Alex Heath
Of all the bike racks I've had over the years, Yakima's FullTilt 5 is the best so far. I've always had trouble getting a bike rack big enough for the whole family but, like the name says, the Fulltilt 5 accommodates five bikes.
Everything is integrated and easy to use. Other bike racks frustrated me, with their fiddly straps or rubbery fittings that were always getting lost. The FullTilt's cradles are built-in, sliding up and down a rail for adjustment. Bikes are secured with big, chunky zip ties (which are fully removable, but still). It's the easiest attachment system I've encountered so far. Just put the bike on the rack and slide a couple of ties into the cradles on either side. The cradles include anti-sway arms to stop the bikes crashing into each other.
There's also a built-in security cable for locking the bikes to the rack. The cable is easily snipped by a professional bike thief, but it'll stop an opportunist from snagging a bike while you go to the bathroom or get lunch.
The FullTilt is hitch-mounted, with an adjustable AutoPin to accommodate 1.25-inch and 2-inch hitch receivers. There's a big red knob for locking the rack to the car. Conveniently, the same key works for both the hitch and cable locks. The rack folds all the way down for trunk access or folding flat for storage.
It's not the lightest (41 pounds) or the cheapest ($449) but overall, it's well-designed and well-made — a big, beefy rack for biking. — Leander Kahney
I keep dropping my iPhone 6 Plus and knocking it off tables. I'm not sure why — is it because it's so big that it's slightly unwieldy? Or because it's so damn indispensable that I carry it everywhere? No matter the reason for my inexcusable clumsiness, it's undeniably true that the bigger-than-big iPhone has taken more hits than any phone I've ever owned. Shockingly, it's still in perfect condition, and for that I thank my Tech21 Classic Shell case.
There's nothing particularly lust-worthy about the case. It's got a clear back, which has yellowed a bit with age, and a colored ring around the iPhone's edge (mine's a slightly obnoxious orange). But there's absolutely nothing appealing about a cracked phone, and that's where Tech21's "Impactology" tech comes into play. The Classic Shell, which retails for $39.99, is made of a patented, shock-absorbing material called D30 that's designed to dissipate the force of impacts.
The end result is a slim case that makes the iPhone 6 Plus easy to slide into and out of my pockets — and a joy to pick up, unbroken, off the hard concrete I've stupidly dropped it onto. — Lewis Wallace
With its natural wood finish base, classic lines and built-in speakers, the Max LP from ION Audio is a fantastic basic turntable that spins records at 33 1/3, 45 and even 78 RPM (for those rare classics you might have sitting in an attic somewhere). It's also set up to easily convert your vinyl into digital files for those albums from your youth that aren't available on iTunes or Spotify.
The speakers on the deck are serviceable, sounding a bit better than a smartphone and making things a little more portable, but you can always connect the Max LP, which retails for $99.99, to powered speakers or a component stereo system, using either a 1/8-inch audio jack or a red-and-white RCA cable. Stick a USB cable into the back of the Max LP and attach the other end to your Mac, and you can convert records super-easily with the included software. You can even digitize cassette tapes by connecting a separate tape player through the turntable. — Rob LeFebvre
If you're still using your TV or Mac speakers to watch TV, play games or listen to music, you owe it to yourself to try out Razer's affordable yet powerful Leviathan 5.1 Channel Surround Sound Bar. For $199, you get a solid speaker system that performs at a level challenging even more expensive multi-speaker hardware (it's certified Dolby Digital, Virtual Speaker and Pro Logic II).
This beast is a thin sound bar that looks like a minimalist boom box that you set in front of your TV or gaming monitor. You'll connect it via optical, audio cable or Bluetooth to your sound source. I've ended up making it my turntable and HDTV sound system, as the powerful bass response from the big trapezoidal subwoofer makes for a compelling home theater experience. It's perfect for that smaller living room, home office or dorm room where you want to push some serious air without spending a lot of scratch. — Rob LeFebvre
Next time you're rock climbing or engaging in some other crazy adventure with your iPhone, be sure to take along this sweet leash system from Kenu. The Highline Security Leash starts with a protective, texturized polycarbonate iPhone case that's thin enough to put in your pocket but tough enough to protect from random damage.
The killer feature here, though, is the bungee-cord leash, which solidly locks into your iPhone's Lightning port as well as a notch in the back of the case, making for a secure connection. There's a version for the iPhone 6 ($29.95) and a stronger one for iPhone 6 Plus ($34.95), so you know your lifeline device will always stick nearby, letting you feel secure as you whip it out while skiing down a crazy slope this winter. — Rob LeFebvre
Of all the cool things smarthome products can do, the very bottom of my list was mood lighting. I had absolutely zero interest in it — until I actually tried it. Elgato sent an Avea smart bulb to the office and it sat there for weeks, untested and unloved, until a bulb blew at home. Thinking I'd use it just temporarily, I was really surprised that I immediately fell head over heels for it.
What surprised me is how much better mood lighting makes me feel. Yeah, I know it's a cliché, but it really works. Problem was, all of our lights were high wattage. And because the kids turn on every light in the house and never turn them off, it was like living inside a photocopier. The Avea allows me to turn the lighting up or down, setting the light depending on what we are doing: a soft, gentle blue for watching TV, or full Gestapo for doing homework.
Unlike rival smart bulbs, which often require a special hub or gateway, the Avea connects directly to your iPhone or iPad via Bluetooth. The well-designed Avea app has a bunch of moody presets, like "Cozy Flames," which bathes the room in a flickering yellow-orange glow, or "Magic Hour," a soft, pinkish-yellow that evokes a Caribbean sunset. (You can see the different presets in action on Elgato's website). After choosing a preset, the settings stick, even when the lights are turned on and off at the wall. The app also adjusts brightness, and you can set an alarm that will gradually brighten the room in the morning as though the sun's coming up.
It wasn't cheap — Avea bulbs cost $39 each — but I was so bowled over, I outfitted the entire house with smart LED bulbs. They last for years, I told myself, and if I get anxious about it, I'll just select the "Calm Provence" preset. Requires an iPhone 4S and up. — Leander Kahney
I've always thought OGIO backpacks look too nerdy for any sane person to wear. When it comes to making tech gear, OGIO has always put function ahead of fashion, but with the company's new Ascent packs, style is finally getting the attention it deserves.
Like most OGIO packs, the Ascent comes with more pockets than even most nerds could use. There's a special padded slot big enough for a 15-inch MacBook Pro, another for an iPad Air and a few pouches for knickknacks to go with the two main compartments. They've even thrown in a Tech Vault at the top to store your sunglasses, camera and other easy-to-beat-up stuff.
Basically, if you can't keep your gadgets organized with this pack, you never will. Its style isn't flashy, but it looks more like an active-lifestyle backpack than the company's other laptop bags. And with a $99.99 price tag, it'll get the job done for cheaper than some of the more stylish options out there. — Buster Hein
I've long had a soft spot for iPhone cases that also carry my cards and cash and allow me to leave my wallet at home. Unfortunately, most of them are big and bulky and unsuitable for already large handsets like the iPhone 6 Plus. But the CM4 Q Card Case is different.
Rather than employing a traditional wallet design with a cover that folds over the front of your iPhone and gets in your way, the Q Card Case is a more traditional soft-touch rubber case with a fabric pocket on its back. The Case holds up to three credit cards as well as some cash pretty comfortably, but it's a little tight when you first get it so you'll need to break it in. There is a small cut-out at the bottom of the credit card pouch that allows you to remove your cards easily. Even with three cards inside it, the Q Card Case isn't too bulky on a 6 Plus. It'll slip fairly easily into and out of your pocket, and it's significantly slimmer than a leather wallet case.
It also has a special feature up its sleeve (if you get the 6 Plus version) that I've found to be super-useful: A long, narrow notch runs alongside the back of the case; if you pull out a credit card and push it into that notch, it will act as a stand so you can prop up your phone for watching videos or typing with an external keyboard.
The Q Card Case offers great protection and it's super-functional. You can get it in five colors — black, gray, red, green and gold — for $39.99 from CM4's online store. It's also available for the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 5s at the same price. — Killian Bell
Usually when your bartender talks up a hot new drink, he's not referring to actual heat. But that's what you get when you add a half-jigger of Ancho Reyes liqueur to a recipe: restrained heat, plus subtle sweetness and exotic spices that will add an unforgettable dimension to your cocktail.
I got my first taste of this outstanding liqueur made with ancho chiles (the dried version of poblano peppers) during this year's International CES, when my Cult of Mac colleague Jim and I stumbled (probably literally) into The Chandelier, an eye-catching multi-story lounge inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. We ordered a pair of American Gothic cocktails, a spicy concoction that expertly blends Woodford Reserve bourbon with Ancho Reyes, Amaro Meletti, chocolate mole bitters and house-made spiced chai-masala tea syrup. The drink was like a shining beacon of elegance and hope rising above CES's inevitable sea of free booze.
There's a lot going on in that American Gothic recipe, but it was clear Ancho Reyes played a key role. Once back in San Francisco, I had to track some down. It took a while, and cost a little north of $30, but I finally found some. A little goes a long way, but it's a genius way to heat up your next cocktail party. Plus: That old-school bottle looks sweet on your liquor shelf. — Lewis Wallace