Old versus new: Logitech takes several steps backward with its next-gen Ultrathin Keyboard Cover. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac
Logitech’s updated Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Air replaced its predecessor mere months after the original’s launch. The most obvious difference between the two is the flip-out hinge that joins the keyboard to the iPad like a cover to a book, but in reality the two devices are completely different.
Is the new one better? In one way yes. In others? Nope.
iQi Wireless Charger by Fone Salesman Category: Chargers Works With: iPhone 5/S Price: $21 plus ~$25 for charging pad
Wireless charging is a beautiful concept that fails to live up to its promise in reality. That’s not to say it’s unusable – far from it. I’d put wireless charging pads in the same place as Wi-Fi was some years back – useful when it works, but frustrating to get working properly.
The little iQi panel goes some way to fixing up the main problem of wireless charging on the iPhone. Because it’s not built in, you usually need a bulky case to pair with the charger itself. The iQi is so tiny it can be used with any case.
It’s not a folding case like Twelve South’s iconic BookBook, but rather a sleeve that your iPhone slips into that has a large hole in its front for your display, and a little pocket in its back for your credit cards.
It’s an ideal alternative for those who like to keep things simple and don’t want to have to deal with flappy front covers when using their smartphone. It makes everything easy to get to, and it doesn’t cover up any buttons, ports, or speakers.
The Wall St fits both iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s (there’s another version for iPhone 5c, too), and it’s available in a number of pretty colors, including brown, blue, orange, and red. It costs $34.95, so let’s find out whether it’s worth it.
The holy grail of mobile devices like the iPad mini, in my opinion, is a bulk-free, cable-less charging system that can position Apple’s diminutive tablet in various ways.
iPad mini Charge Case and Stand by iPort Category: iPad stands Works With: iPad mini Price: $99.95
The iPort Charge Case tries to make this dream come true, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark. While the iPort stand can indeed hold my iPad mini in both portrait and landscape orientation at a wide range of viewing angles, the need to place my gorgeously designed device into a bulky plastic case sort of kills the whole idea of “mini.”
The iPort Charge Case and Stand does indeed have some very valid uses in and around the home, but ultimately, due to the way it changes the use experience of the iPad mini, it isn’t quite the world-changer it hopes to be.
When I first tested the BlueAnt Q3 headset, paired with my iPhone 5, I was surprised by how poorly it performed. I couldn’t get over how bad the audio quality was, and I was surprised a top-notch company like BlueAnt could release such a dud. Investigating further, I decided to snoop around online to see what others were saying, but it I wasn’t alone, other iOS users we experiencing similar issues.
With that in mind, I had no choice but warn readers, and rate the Q3 poorly.
Q3 Bluetooth Headset by BlueAnt Category: iOS Accessories, Bluetooth Headsets Works With: iPhone, iPad Price: $100
But here, the story begins anew. After filing my review, several readers, and BlueAnt themselves, alerted me that the real problem has to do with the problematic ways Apple implements Bluetooth, and BlueAnt assured me a simple Q3 firmware update would absolve any audio issues I may have had. Fair enough, I thought, after all, this wasn’t the first time I had experienced subpar audio with Bluetooth headsets that, when used with non-Apple devices, seemed to function sublimely.
I’ve now tested a brand new fully-updated Q3, and I’m happy to report that it has indeed solved many of the Q3’s initial audio faux pas. BlueAnt, to their credit, has now earned at least some reprieve, as the Q3 is now bringing both fists to the fight.
Some of us can pick up an iPhone and master its virtual on-screen keyboard in a matter of minutes, but for others, it takes a bit of time — especially if you’ve just come from a BlackBerry or another smartphone that has a physical keyboard built-in. For those of you in that latter group, the NUU MiniKey for iPhone 5 is here to help.
MiniKey by NUU Category: Keyboard Case Works With: iPhone 5 Price: $59
The MiniKey is a clip on case with a special feature: a slide-out physical keyboard that aims to give those who don’t like typing on glass a more traditional solution. Its keys are “designed to match the ergonomics of typing with both thumbs” in an effort to help you type faster and more accurately.
The MiniKey has a built-in Li-Pro rechargeable battery (380mAh) that charges via USB, and like most wireless keyboards, it connects to your iPhone via Bluetooth. It boasts 42 backlit keys, with functions for media playback, numbers, common symbols, and more.
I reviewed the MiniKey’s predecessor for iPhone 4 a couple of years ago, and I was pretty impressed with it, so I couldn’t wait to try out the latest model and find out whether it’s worth its $60 price tag.
SurfacePad for iPhone by Twelve South Category: Cases Works With: iPhone 5 Price: $35
Back in February, I reviewed the The SurfacePad from Twelve South and called it the “Best iPhone Case Ever.” And had it stayed pristine and continued working like it did for the first few weeks, that would be it.
But it didn’t. The lovely, minimalist leather cover certainly kept working, but while it might be a great design for something like an iPad, for an iPhone – which is constantly being shoved in and out of pockets – it’s just too fragile. That, and it sucks for taking photos.
RFLKT by Wahoo Category: Sports/Fitness Works With: iPhone 4S+5, iPad 3,4, mini Price: $130
The promise of the Wahoo RFLKT is of a tiny, ultralight box with an LCD readout which displays information from an iPhone cycling app on the handlebars of your bike. You get the advantage of using your favorite tracking app, and also of having an easy to read and control HUD, instead of having to buy an expensive GPS-enabled bike computer.
When iHome designed their Smart Brief computer bag ($99), they had the good idea to create a product with pockets for all of today’s modern-day computing devices and accessories. Problem is, like every good idea turned product, execution is everything, and that’s where the Smart Brief starts to get a little lackluster.