Galaxy Note 7 review: The best smartphone money can’t buy

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Don't let a few explosions put you off.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Forget what you’ve read about the Galaxy Note 7 exploding (and wiping out family cars, hotel rooms and homes). Samsung’s latest phablet delivers an improved design, faster internals, an iris scanner, the same great camera we got with the Galaxy S7 and an even better display.

When this baby goes on sale again, without that dreaded battery fault, it will be the best smartphone available — and the iPhone 7 (probably) won’t change a thing.

iOS 10 review: It’s the little things that matter

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There's a lot to love in iOS 10.
There's a lot to love in iOS 10.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s iOS 10 update for iPhones and iPads is the biggest software refresh the iPhone-maker has launched in years, adding a host of major and minor new features that completely change the iOS experience.

I’ve been using beta versions of iOS 10 on my iPhone 6s and iPad Pro since June. While some of the high-profile additions to Messages, Photos, Apple Music and Apple News aren’t totally mind-blowing, the smaller tweaks make all the difference. With iOS 10, using Apple’s devices is easier, faster and far more enjoyable than ever.

This is the big iOS update you’ve been waiting for, but not for all the reasons Apple thinks.

Epson XP-430 packs a multifunction printer into a small package [Review]

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This little Epson multifunction printer can handle big jobs.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Epson calls its new Expression Home XP-430 printer a “Small-in-One” for good reason: It packs a lot of functions into a compact size.

The sub-$100 unit scans and makes copies in addition to printing wirelessly via Apple AirPrint or Google Cloud Print. It’s not a productivity monster that would be suited for a really busy home office, but for a light-duty personal printer, it’s worth serious consideration.

7 stylish Apple Watch bands your wardrobe needs [Reviews]

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Refresh your Apple Watch with these stylish bands.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The Apple Watch has been out for well over a year now, and it’s beginning to get a little bit long in the tooth. In addition, the second-generation wearable, which is rumored to arrive along with the iPhone 7 this September, isn’t shaping up to be a worthy upgrade just yet.

The best way to breathe new life into your Apple Watch is to customize it with some different bands and bracelets. Check out my top seven picks in the video below.

Music Man Valentine is the only electric guitar you’ll need [Reviews]

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The Valentine is so versatile and addictive you'll want to take it everywhere.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

When this Valentine guitar arrived, I took a look at it, puffed out a quiet “Hmmph,” and carried on working. Even though I’d seen photos, I was still underwhelmed by the instrument’s appearance: pale, natural wood; a tortoise shell pickguard; and the kind of doughy, conservative shape that could make even an audience of meth-fueled Juggalos fall asleep.

Then I picked it up, and fell in love.

These weatherproof backpacks are the only tech bags you’ll ever need [Review]

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Lowepro Streetline
These backpacks will carry your tech goodies in style and comfort.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Backpacks aimed at tech heads are seemingly everywhere these days. But even with such a crowded marketplace, a couple of bags really leap out.

Two such backpacks are the Lowepro’s Fastback BP 250 AW II and Streetline BP 250, both of which are my go-to carriers when I need to haul my camera equipment, laptop, tablet — and maybe even an odd change of clothes — around with me.

Why do these two bags stand out from the pack? Check out the video below for my full reviews:

Chinese Apple Watch clone costs just $63, but is it any good? [Reviews]

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Has time run out for more expensive smartwatches?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The Apple Watch is one of the more affordable devices Apple makes. But a lot of people are still understandably hesitant about shelling out a few hundred bucks on a first-generation gadget they’re not sure they need.

If this describes you, check out our video review of a $63 Chinese Apple Watch clone, the (deep breath) Lemfo Bluetooth Smart Watch Phone GSM Pedometer Fitness Tracker. You may even come away surprised …

Tenba bag shoulders camera gear with understated style

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The camera bag that does the job without announcing itself, the Tenba Cooper.
The camera bag that does the job without announcing itself, the Tenba Cooper.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

I’ve carried many styles and price points on my rounded shoulder over the course of a photography career, and have a closet full of camera bags to prove it. I always found a reason to retire each bag, whether it’s an expensive name brand, cheap knock-off or proven hand-me-down.

Lately, I’ve been toting gear in a Tenba Cooper bag. I’ve done so for a few months now, long enough where my eyes should begin to look at other styles and brands. I’ve never been happier with a bag.

Bulletproof iPhone case!? Pitaka Aramid iPhone case [Reviews]

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Cult of Mac
A light-weight, bulletproof iPhone case?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

It’s not often an iPhone case catches my eye. There has to be a standout feature to get me excited about seeing what it has to offer. Whether that’s amazing craftsmanship or a sneaky charging feature, it can’t be ordinary.

At first glance, the Pitaka Aramid case for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus seems just that; ordinary. But the more I read up about what Aramid was, the more I was interested. Check out my full video review below.