This little business printer is all your office needs

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This utilitarian black box has all you need and more. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
This utilitarian black box has all you need and more. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

The non-intuitively named Brother MFC-L2740DW multifunction black and white laser printer is ideal for that small office you have, you know the one. You’ve got all of a closet to put your desk, chair, Mac, printer, and maybe a small Bluetooth speaker, if you’re lucky.

What you need is a multifunction device that can get your documents scanned, printed and (if you’re still living in the 1990s) faxed without taking up a lot of space.

I brought this rectangular box of printing joy into my tiny home office, plugged it into the wall, added it to my Airport Wi-Fi network, and was printing from it within 10 minutes of taking it out of the box.

Turn your game audio up to 11 with these Bluetooth cans

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These Astro 38s are easy to pair, last for hours, sound amazing. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
These Astro 38s are easy to pair, last for hours, sound amazing. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

I typically try out a new product for review without reading any of the documentation or media relations stuff that the folks who send us such things want us to look at. I want to have as pristine an experience as possible. Sometimes that leads to little surprises.

I put these new Astro Gaming A38 Bluetooth headphones on my head last week, and paired them with my iPhone to play a little music. After a few songs of various genres, I stopped the tunes and took these off my noggin. I suddenly realized that my girlfriend had been blending up a protein shake in the nearby kitchen. It was surprising because I honestly could not hear it with the headphones on my head and playing music at a relatively low volume – and our blender is really loud.

While they’re great for music, these are also fantastic sounding headphones that help you immerse yourself into any game on your iPad or iPhone, cutting down on the auditory distractions from the outside world when they’re powered up.

Hard-rockin’ drum pedal lets you be the band

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Fantastic sounding drums at your feet. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
Fantastic sounding drums at your feet. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

There’s always that moment when your drummer can’t show up for rehearsal. She’s got some other commitment. He’s got another gig. Her boyfriend needs her to take him to the hospital.

It happens. When it does, you can do what I’ve always done – pound your foot against the floor and try to muddle on through – or you can use a drum machine. The problem with standard drum machines is that they’re made to be used by hands or, in some cases, drum sticks. I’m not a drummer (no sticks) and I need my hands to play my guitar. What I really need is a drum machine I can play from the floor, guitar-pedal style.

That’s what caught my eye about the BeatBuddy – this is a guitar-pedal-style device that lets you use your foot to play back drum beats in a variety of styles, fills and different parts included. This is my new best friend when the drummer can’t make it to practice, and it may become my new stage pal if I take my act solo.

HyperX Cloud headset covers the basics at a budget-friendly price

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Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

I don’t do a whole lot of up-close computer-based gaming, but when I do, I prefer to have a decent set of headphones to keep the sound to myself so that the rest of the household doesn’t need to hear the full complement of explosions and combat sounds that typically accompany gaming on my Mac. There are an array of headsets out there with gaming microphones built in, many of them in the $300 and up range.

Not everyone can afford this sort of luxury, so most brands have less-expensive versions of their headsets to appeal to a more budget-conscious gamer. The HyperX Cloud is just such a set of headphones aiming for the entry-level gamer who may not have much more than $100 to spend on their gaming audio gear.

Pare down your travel kit with this shoulder-saving MacBook Pro sleeve

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Holds just enough to stay productive. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
Waterfield's MacBook Outback Solo holds just enough to keep you productive. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

I’ll admit it — I’ve got a thing for these waxed canvas and leather bags from Waterfield. I’ve ended up using the impeccably designed Staad backpack and the classy Nintendo 3DS case long after my reviews of them were published. These bags and cases from the San Francisco design collective are warm, inviting and just get better with age and use.

Let’s face it, though: Sometimes you only want to carry your laptop and a couple of accessories, and that’s it. Waterfield’s latest design, the MacBook Outback Solo, is a minimalist sleeve made of the same strong canvas material and rich, thick, buttery-smooth leather as the other bags in the line. It can be paired with a carrying strap that turns the sleeve into a messenger bag. While our very own Charlie Sorrel called the iPad version of this bag a man-purse, I’m thinking of this more as a shoulder-saving device — the fewer things I end up having to carry, the better.

This little sleeve is perfect for exactly that.