AirPods 2 make great a little greater [Review – updated]

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AirPods 2 with box on desk
You can already get your brand new AirPods for less.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Back in December 2016, I was ecstatic to receive my AirPods. In the first few days after they arrived, I had them in my ears almost every moment I wasn’t sleeping or in conversations with others.

Since then, I’ve worn my AirPods, on average, something like four hours every day. When they aren’t in my ears, they are in their case, in my front left pocket. They are as much a part of me as the iPhone they’re typically paired to.

With the second-generation AirPods (can we agree to call them AirPods 2?), Apple took the product I’ve loved dearly for the last 800-plus days, and made it just a little better.

Turn your iPad into a mini iMac with this minimal stand [Review]

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Wiplabs Slope iPAd stand
Wiplabs Slope stand is a great way to keep your iPad off the sticky, messy countertop in the kitchen.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

My family tends to smear our kitchen countertops with all kinds of gunk. No one has ever heard of the words plate or cutting board. So taking an iPad into the kitchen is a risky proposition: It inevitably ends up in some sticky mess.

Enter the Slope: a nice-looking stand that keeps my iPad out harm’s way.

Made from anodized aluminum, the Slope is good for the kitchen, desk or bedside. It keeps your iPad out of the muck when cooking, or at the perfect angle for work.

OtterBox folio case protects the iPad Pro while showing it off [Review]

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OtterBox Symmetry Series 360 review
OtterBox Symmetry Series 360 has a clear back so your iPad Pro can be seen.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The OtterBox Symmetry Series 360 has everything you’d expect from a folio case designed for Apple’s latest iPad Pro, but it also includes a feature that might surprise you: the back is clear, allowing you to show off your 2018 iPad Pro while still protecting it.

We used this slim case for several weeks, so read on to learn how it did in out testing.

iPad mini 2019 review roundup: The best compact tablet

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The newest iPad mini supports the first-gen Apple Pencil, not the newer version of this stylus.
Big features in a tiny form factor.
Photo: Apple

The iPad mini got its first refresh in more than three years this week. The newest, fifth-generation model ships with Apple’s latest A12 Bionic processor, more RAM, and a True Tone display with more pixels than any other iPad.

But is the new iPad mini worth your hard-earned cash? Here’s what the early reviews have to say about it.

SliQ wireless AirPods charging case will save you money, drive you mad [Review]

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You can have wireless AirPods charging right now, if you must, with SliQ silicone AirPods case.
You can have wireless AirPods charging right now, if you must.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

Dying to charge your AirPods wirelessly but hesitant to plunk down $79 for Apple’s new wireless charging case? If so, you might consider dropping $25 on a SliQ silicone cover for your AirPods case.

It’s a relatively inexpensive way to add Qi wireless charging capability to your AirPods right now. But a variety of drawbacks should make you think twice.

All the ways Mophie’s iPhone battery pack beats Apple’s [Review]

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Mophie Juice Pack Access review
The Mophie Juice Pack Access helps the most recent iPhone models spend longer away from electrical sockets.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Mophie Juice Pack Access is designed to extend the already long battery lives of the 2018 iPhone models. And charging can be done wirelessly, so the handset’s Lightning port is always available.

We put this new battery pack to the test. And we also compare it to the features of Apple’s similar Smart Battery Case.

Tiny chargers show the big advantages of gallium nitride [Review]

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Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1 and RavPower PD Pioneer 45W review
The Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1 and RavPower PD Pioneer 45W use gallium nitride chips.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Chargers are transitioning from silicon transistors to gallium nitride (GaN), enabling  these irritatingly bulky accessories to shrink in size. Anker and RavPower both make power adapters that put out more current than you’d expect for their svelte dimensions thanks to the magic of GaN.

We tested out both chargers that can be used to power up your MacBook, iPad or iPhone. Read on to see how they performed.

TwistedWave is the least annoying way to edit music on iOS [Review]

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No, not that kind of wave.
No, not that kind of wave.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you ever wanted to do any of the following …

  • Chop up music.
  • Remove the start or end of an audio track.
  • Extract the audio from a video.
  • Convert an MP3 (or any other music file) to some other music file format.
  • Pretty much anything else.

… then you should grab TwistedWave this second. It’s an essential app for working with audio on the iPhone and iPad. And it’s also really, really quick and easy to use.

Gamevice controller for iPhone falls flat where it really counts [Review]

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Fortnite with iPhone XS in Gamevice controller
The Gamevice is good, but not great.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Mobile gaming has never been better, but you’re missing out if you’re playing the latest titles with touch controls. A good controller is a worthwhile purchase, but should you spend $75 on the Gamevice?

It looks great, boasts the best design of any iPhone controller, and never needs charging. It also works with almost any iPhone. The only problem? It disappoints where it matters most.