All items tagged with "Reviews"

Man, I frikkin’ love this versatile folding bike by Brompton

Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Brompton’s not a new bike. It’s not even new to me. But it is the best folding bike around, and it will change how you travel long distances, too. I’ve had mine ever since I recovered enough from a broken leg (busted playing bike polo) to hobble up to the local bike shop and order one. That was a few years ago, and since then the bike has come with me to three different continents, traveling on planes, trains, trams, automobiles and buses.

You can even ride it to the airport and pack it up when you get there.

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Xistera crams every iPhone photo accessory into single awkward package

Xistera crams every iPhone photo accessory into single awkward package

Homely multitool Xistera packs many iPhoneography essentials into one pointy package. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Take the Xistera out of its box and you’ll be disappointed. It’s ugly as hell, like a cheap corkscrew, and it looks like it won’t really do much. But hidden in those graceless curves and eye-gouging corners is what a lazier journalist than me would call a “Swiss Army knife of iPhoneography.”

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Mega-pedal serves up soaring vocal harmonies, impressive guitar effects

Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

I’ve been playing music for coming up on 30 years now, and I’ve tried a ton of music gear. These days, I run a fairly bare-bones setup, with a smaller amp for those close venues, a couple of dual-effect pedals (Visual Sounds’ Route 66 and H2O), and a Boss VE-20 vocal harmony box to thicken up the background vocals in my disco band.

I’ve always had a thing for multi-effect boxes, though, running through my share of a few complicated ones that never quite gave me what I needed in terms of both effects sounds and onstage ease-of-use.

When I heard about TC-Helicon’s new VoiceLive 3 mega-stomp box, with a huge range of guitar effects and amplifier modeling, an amazing vocal-harmony processing system and a stage-quality looping feature, well, I had to try it out.

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Snappgrip iPhone camera grip fails to deliver on great idea

The wrist strap is the best part of the Snappgrip. Photos Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The wrist strap is the best part of the Snappgrip. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Snappgrip is a fantastic idea, with not-too-bad hardware to back it up. It’s an accessory grip for your iPhone that adds a Bluetooth shutter release, zoom buttons and control dial to the phone’s camera, as well as a wrist strap and a handy handgrip.

But in practice, you’ll be better off with the iPhone’s own volume switches if you want a hardware shutter release. Which is a shame, as I was super-excited to try the Snappgrip out.

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Logitech’s updated Ultraslim Keyboard Cover is worse in almost every way

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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.

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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.

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Shoulderpod’s chunky S1 grip makes iPhone camera far easier to use

One handed-selfies are now even easier. Photos Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

One handed-selfies are now even easier. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Do you like to wander the streets, camera in hand, ready to catch an amazing shot? Have you ever missed that shot thanks to the time taken to fumble your iPhone from your pocket and fire up the camera? Even if the answer to these questions is “No,” you should probably take a look at Shoulderpod’s S1 anyway – it’s not only a great camera grip, but also the best value you’ll get spending $30 on an iPhone accessory.

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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.

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Belkin’s meeting room UFO offers some serious juice

The Belkin meeting room power center with 4 AC power outlets and 8 USB ports. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The Belkin meeting room power center has 4 AC power outlets and 8 USB ports. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Modern day meetings around the conference table may be a rare occurrence in our often-mobile and telecommuting world, but when they happen, the incoming mass of iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks need a lot of electricity.

Instead of making all your employees figure out where the outlets are (under the table? behind them on the wall?), why not provide a big fat power center in the middle of the action? The Belkin Meeting Room Power Center aims to do just that, with a huge, round UFO-looking power hub that sports four actual plugs and a generous eight USB ports.

That’s a lot of power.

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Highly specialized Booqpad is either perfect or pointless

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.

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