Gadget Watch: Keyboards, skateboards, duck heads and drones


Gadget Watch: June 20, 2014

A bamboo bay for your Beats by Dre? A cellphone-charging carabiner? A creepy drone that follows you around? What about an iPhone case that looks like a (tiny) broken skateboard? If you were looking for any of these, you’re in luck.

AirDog Drone

‘sup dawg? No – literally. What’s up? Dog? This is the AirDog, a drone/RC ‘copter that follows you around. Hang a camera from the mount under the hovering doggy and strap the AirLeash to your wrist. Sensors beam info to the drone and it will follow your exact trajectory, only up in the air. Launch and landing are automatic, and an iPhone app can be used to tweak the flight path for, say, a continuous loop. $1,195

Beats by Dre Station

Possibly most notable for introducing the term “DreStation,” this bamboo stand is much more affordable than the headphones it holds. And you don’t even have to use Beats cans – any over-the-ear headphones will hang just as easily from this dumb wooden desk tidy.

It’s not all good though: The lack of a hole on the base means you can’t charge the iPhone or iPod while it stands in there. $40

Nomad Clip

Who doesn’t love a carabiner? And who doesn’t find themself in need of a Lightning cable from time to time? Nobody, that’s who. And that’s who will buy the Nomad Clip, a carabiner that unfurls to become a charger for you iDevice. Made from steel and polycarbonate, and not suitable for climbing, you can also choose a microUSB version. $39

Adonit Jot

If you like the look of Adobe’s new Creative Cloud apps Sketch and Line, but don’t fancy buying the $200 official stylus to use with them, you should pick up Adonit's new Jot Touch instead. It has a tiny “Pixelpoint” tip instead of a disk or fat rubbery point, and it works just like Adobe’s Ink stylus, letting you copy and paste to/from the Creative Cloud as well as access files and Kuler color palettes. Best of all, it’s just $120.

Duck Head Saver

What’s a duck head? It’s the little interchangeable block of power plug prongs that slots onto every Apple power adapter from MacBook Pro to iPad. And the Duck Head Saver from DenVog is a widget that sticks onto the side of your AC adapter and adds a prong onto which the unused duck head can slip whenever you use a foreign duck head or the long adapter cable. $35


The cedar used to make the barrel of the Timbrr stylus contains lots of natural resins. Not only will this make it smell as good as a humidor full of Cuban cigars, but that resin also helps conduct the special human waves that are required by a capacitive screen to detect a touch. Otherwise the Timbrr is a regular ol’ stylus, with a rubber tip and a fat, easy-to-hold barrel. $34


Belkin wired iPad keyboard

How about a nice safe wired keyboard for your iPad? This Lightning-equipped number from Belkin doesn’t need batteries and doesn’t even require that Bluetooth be switched on on your iPad. It’s also thin, Apple-certified and comes with all the usual media keys for controlling your tablet. And with the wired connection, nobody can snoop on the keystrokes you’re sending over the airwaves. $60

Bowerbag modular bag

Can’t decide what kind of bag to buy? Then buy the Bowerbag, a modular system that takes five (5!) separate sacks and joins them together with a modular system. Each bag, complete with its straps, connects to all the others in a huge compromise of buckles and webbing. Who cares how much it weighs? You have choice! $360

Skate Deck iPhone Case

It’s an iPhone case. It’s fashioned from silicone. It looks like somebody snapped a skateboard in half. What’s not to like? Apart from the fact it won’t ever fit your pocket thanks to those wheels sticking out the back? Or the fact that you can’t reach the iPhone’s power button? Nothing, that’s what. Oh, maybe the price tag: $45

Hand-stitched leather case is as classy as the MacBook it protects

Sharp looks. Photos Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac
Castello Davarg's leather York case offers sharp looks. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

I’ve tried a lot of cases for my Mac notebooks over the years, from a dorky aluminum briefcase for my white “icebook” iBook through cheap, zip-up neoprene sleeves and on to bulky, custom-fitted, shock-absorbing monsters. But the elegant, simple and beautiful Castello Davarg York, cut from a single piece of leather, is the only one that makes any sense for my MacBook Air.

Like the MacBook Air inside, you can’t help but finger and fiddle with the York case. It’s cut from 5-ounce, full-grain leather that’s folded and then hand-stitched along two sides before finishing the edges and … well, that’s almost it. The case has no fastening or closure, and lacks a lining or padded interior, but it is shaped perfectly to fit the MacBook Air. (I tested the 13-inch size, but it also comes for the 11-incher.) It even has a little cutout on the top edge that mimics the one found on the lid of the MacBook itself.

Finally, a leather Pad & Quill case that’s light enough for an iPad Air

Plain and simple. Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac
Pad & Quill's beautiful Walden case keeps things plain and simple. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Walden is the first of Pad & Quill’s top-notch cases that I would actually use. That’s because it ditches the wooden frame of the company’s usual bookbindery cases, instead offering a minimal slipcover that uses adhesive strips to hold an iPad Air in place.

The result is a case as beautiful and classic as other P & Q cases, but slim and light enough to match the slender Apple tablet it protects.

Highly specialized Booqpad is either perfect or pointless

Getting work done. Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

I started German language school a few weeks back, and I was looking forward to testing out the Booqpad. The combination iPad case and paper notepad seemed ideal for using in class. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. Not only is the case oddly tacky – especially weird given the build quality of Booq’s other gear – but it is awkward to use.

Moshi’s VersaKeyboard is a fantastic case (and a pretty good keyboard)

This Moshi keyboard is great even without the keyboard.  Photos Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac
This Moshi keyboard is great even without the keyboard. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

I’m writing this review on a regular, full-size USB keyboard plugged into the Mac. That should be a warning sign right there — after all, this is a review of an iPad keyboard case. But that’s not the whole story. For instance, the case part of the Moshi VersaKeyboard is fantastic — so good that I’ve been using it as my main iPad case since it turned up for testing.

They keyboard is good, too, with keys as responsive as those on Logitech’s Ultrathin keyboard covers. So what’s the problem? Why am I not typing this review on the Moshi? Size.