buying guides - page 2

Best cases you can buy today for iPhone 15

By

These are the best cases you can buy for iPhone 15 right now.
From as little as $14.99.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Got an iPhone 15 or 15 Pro on preorder? It’s time to start thinking about protection. No matter how badly you want to show off your handset’s pretty paint job or its tough titanium chassis, you’re going to regret not covering it up if you drop it onto a hard surface and break it within a week. But don’t worry — there are already a bunch of excellent case options to choose from.

Whether you want a sleek fit that complements iPhone 15’s slim design, extreme impact-resistance for the most damaging drops, or luxurious leather that only gets better with age, there’s an iPhone 15 case right up your alley.

We rounded up the best options you can buy right now, with prices starting from a mere $14.99.

iPhone 15 Pro vs. iPhone 15: Which one should you buy?

By

iPhone 15 Pro vs. iPhone 15 comparison
Should you spend the $200 extra and get the iPhone 15 Pro this year?
Photo/Graphics: Apple/Rajesh

This year’s iPhone 15 lineup packs some big upgrades, including 48MP cameras, USB-C connectors and faster chips on both models, and a titanium frame on the Pro. But between the iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 15, which one should you pick?

The two iPhones might appear nearly the same at first glance, but as per usual, the Pro benefits from high-end features. It is also $200 more expensive. So, should you buy the iPhone 15 Pro over the regular iPhone 15? Find out in this comparison.

Should you buy the iPhone 15, Apple Watch or AirPods?

By

Should You Upgrade?
Do you need any of Apple’s new products?
Image: Apple/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac
Wonderlust 2023

Should you buy the new iPhone 15, Apple Watch Series 9 (or Ultra 2) or AirPods? The new iPhones brought big changes this year. The Apple Watch and AirPods… not so much.

Now that the products are available to order, you might be wondering if it’s time to upgrade. That depends on what devices you have, so I’ve put together a buying guide with charts and a video to help you decide.

iPhone 15 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Should you go big?

By

iPhone 15 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max comparison
The differences between the Pro and Pro Max models expand with this year's iPhone lineup.
Photo/Graphics: Apple/Rajesh

Trying to decide if you should buy iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max? After a few years of feature parity, this year’s lineup once again makes a marquee feature exclusive to the Pro Max model. And for photographers, it’s a doozy: iPhone 15 Pro Max gets a new 5x optical zoom, thanks to its tetraprism periscope lens.

Bigger display and longer battery life aside, this key camera improvement alone could make it worth upgrading to the larger iPhone Pro this year. Here’s how iPhone 15 Pro compares to iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Best monitors for your Mac in 2023

By

The Studio Display, Pro Display XDR, iMac 24″ and 16″ MacBook Pro.
From left to right: The 16-inch MacBook Pro, the 24-inch iMac, the Studio Display and Pro Display XDR.
Photo: Apple

What’s the best monitor for your Mac? Desktop displays aren’t just for desktop computers anymore — 77% of you are buying MacBooks, but you probably want a nice setup when you’re at home. And if you do have a Mac mini or Mac Studio, you want to make sure you’re picking the right display.

Apple introduced its own Studio Display last year, which has been well-received and is reasonably priced (at least compared to Apple’s other offering). But what does the broader market for midrange displays look like?

Here’s a display buying guide to help you find an appropriate monitor to go with your Mac.

Best travel accessories for Apple users to take on vacation

By

MacBook on vacation
Here are some of the best travel accessories for MacBook, iPhone or iPad, even if you’re going way off the grid.
Photo: Tima Miroshnichenko/Pexels

Whether you vacation at the beach, in the mountains or anywhere in between, you’ll surely bring your iPhone, Apple Watch and maybe an iPad or even a MacBook with you. We have suggestions for accessories to simplify keeping your gear charged and organized. Plus some to make the trip more fun.

We’ve tested all these gadgets so we know they do what they promise.

Best Prime Day deals on Apple gear and accessories [Updated]

By

Best Prime Day deals 2023 on Apple gear, day two.
Amazon's Prime Day event is a great time to find Apple deals. Here are the best we've tracked down so far.
Photo: Brooke Cagle/Unsplash License/Modified by Cult of Mac

Looking for the absolute best Amazon Prime Day deals on Apple gear and accessories? Us too. In fact, the only thing we like more than Apple gear is a great deal on Apple gear.

So far we’ve found cheap MacBooks, AirTag competitors that cost less than $15 a pop, rock-bottom pricing on must-have software like Microsoft Office for Mac, and sweet deals that will save you hundreds on power banks and solar generators to keep your gear powered up. We even put together an inexpensive bundle that can add Apple CarPlay to your ride.

We’ll update this post as we continue to search for the best Prime Day deals — on Amazon and beyond.

Mac Studio vs. Mac Pro: Which is right for you?

By

Mac Studio vs. Mac Pro: Which is right for you?
There are fewer differences between Mac Pro and Mac Studio than you might think.
Photo: Cult of Mac

The 2023 Mac Pro starts at $7,000, while a similarly configured 2023 Mac Studio is $4,000. The potential savings has people questioning whether they really need the Pro to get the job done.

Let’s compare these professional-grade desktops to see how they stack up. You might be surprised at how similar they are, given how very different the two designs are.

13-inch vs. 15-inch MacBook Air: Which one should you buy?

By

13-inch vs. 15-inch MacBook Air comparison
Which M2 MacBook Air model is right for you?
Image: Rajesh Pandey/Cult of Mac

Apple’s redesigned 13-inch MacBook Air from 2022 remains among the best portable laptops you can buy. The 15-inch MacBook Air packs the same benefits in a slightly bigger form factor.

So, which MacBook Air model is right for you — 13-inch or 15-inch? Read our comparison to find out.

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 12: Should you upgrade?

By

iPhone 12 to iPhone 14 upgrade: Is the jump worth it, or should you wait for iPhone 15?
iPhone 12 to iPhone 14 upgrade: Is the jump worth it, or should you wait for iPhone 15?
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

Six months from now, the iPhone 12 will be 3 years old. If you got the phone on launch day in October 2020, it must already be showing its age, with poor battery life and sub-par camera performance.

Does that mean it’s time to ditch your iPhone 12 and upgrade to the iPhone 14, which starts at $799? Or should you save your money and wait for the upcoming iPhone 15? Find out with our comparison.

Should you buy the new MacBook Pro or Mac mini?

By

Should you upgrade?
Should you upgrade to the new MacBook Pro, Mac mini or HomePod?
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

The new Mac mini and the high-end MacBook Pro are the first Macs to receive Apple’s powerful new M2 Pro and Max chips. But should you upgrade to the new MacBook Pro (or Mac mini) or not?

That depends on what Mac you already have. Our charts and video will walk you through the decision-making process if you’re considering buying a new Mac. (Bonus: We also break down the pros and cons of the new HomePod versus the original and the HomePod mini.)

How the M2 and M2 Pro Mac minis compare to the M1 model

By

M1 vs M2 Mac Mini Comparison
How does the M2/Pro Mac mini compare against the M1 mini?
Photo: Apple/Rajesh

Apple’s newest Mac mini packs a punch. It comes with a faster M2 chip, with the company even bringing the M2 Pro chip to the compact desktop Mac.

So, how does the M2/Pro Mac mini compare to the M1 and the high-end Intel-powered Mac mini that it replaces? Find out in our comparison.

HomePod head-to-head: How Apple’s new smart speaker compares to original

By

Is the new HomePod really that different from the 2018 HomePod? Yes and no.
Is the new HomePod really that different from the 2018 HomePod? Yes and no.
Photo: Apple

Now that the full-size HomePod is finally back, just how different is it from Apple’s original smart speaker? At a glance, you might not think the $299 speaker Apple unveiled Wednesday is that different at all, because the exterior design looks so similar. But compare the new HomePod’s features to the old model, and you’ll find significant changes.

It seems potentially much-improved as a smart home device, but whether it’s a better speaker is questionable.

Why AirTags make the ultimate Apple stocking stuffers

By

AirTag ultimate Apple stocking stuffer: Looking for a last-minute gift for the Apple fan in your life? You can't go wrong with AirTags.
Make things merry with a gift any Apple fan will appreciate.
Photo: Luke Southern/Unsplash License/Modified by Cult of Mac

If you’re looking for a last-minute gift for an Apple fan in your life, there’s one surprisingly simple answer: Get them an AirTag. Or a bunch of them.

For a variety of reasons, AirTags — Apple’s Mentos-shaped tracking tags that help users quickly locate lost items — make the ultimate stocking stuffer for anybody in the Apple ecosystem.

Top 5 affordable ANC earbuds of 2022

By

Soundcore A40 wireless ANC earbuds sound great, but their noise cancellation is epic.
Soundcore A40 wireless ANC earbuds sound great, but their noise cancellation is epic.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

I’ve reviewed quite a few active noise-canceling wireless earbuds for Cult of Mac, including the magnificent new second-gen AirPods Pro. And while the high quality and excellent features of Apple’s updated ANC buds make them a favorite as well as a benchmark, there are great alternative earbuds that do a nice job for a much lower cost.

What follows isn’t a “top 5 in the world” list, which would be an assortment of mostly super-pricey earbuds. It’s my favorite earbuds among those I’ve reviewed in the past year or so, mostly focused on high-value products, considering the quality you get for the cost.

$20 or less: Apple stocking stuffers that won’t drain your wallet

By

Cult of Mac Store stocking stuffers for Apple fans
Great gifts at terrific prices.
Image: Amy Shamblen/Unsplash Licence/Cult of Mac

Looking for some sweet holiday gifts that won’t break the bank? The Cult of Mac Store has a massive collection of affordable stocking stuffers, sure to put a smile on the face of any Apple fan, for less than $20 each.

You’ll find cases, screen protectors, bands, stands and more from our most popular vendors. And every product has been used and approved by us, so you can be confident you’re spending your hard-earned cash on great products.

Grab these 8 great stocking stuffers for techies before it’s too late

By

What's small, not-too-pricey and perfect for geeks? The ideal stocking stuffer.
What's small, not-too-pricey and perfect for geeks over the holidays? The ideal stocking stuffer.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

The holiday season is fast-unfolding, and Christmas will be here before Hermey the elf from the classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer can say “Well, sir, someday I’d like to be a dentist.”

So it’s time to act fast if you want to get a gadget-y gift for the techie or geek in your life in time for deliveries by December 25. Check out some cool ideas below.

They’re all small enough to fit in a stocking; prices range from a cheap $20 to a few hundred bucks (for those very special stockings). And there’s plenty more good stuff in the Cult of Mac Store.

Top 10 Momax gifts for travel, WFH and Apple power users

By

Holiday shopping guide: If there's an Apple fan on your holiday shopping list, they'll love Momax gear.
If there's an Apple fan on your holiday shopping list, they'll love Momax gear.
Image: Artboard Studio/Unsplash License/Modified by Cult of Mac

‘Tis the season for outstanding and affordable accessories for your Apple products, and Momax is playing Santa Claus. The company offers 10 great products for travelers, work-from-home toilers and Apple power users alike.

And rest assured, in addition to discounts available on Amazon for the devices, you can take another 15% off with the special coupon code CULTXMAS2022. Happy holidays!

How to choose the right iPad for you

By

How to choose the right iPad for you
iPad options range from the 12.9-inch iPad Pro to the 8.3-inch iPad mini.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Shopping for an iPad can be overwhelming. Apple sells six iPad models in a wide range of sizes, prices and capabilities. Each tablet has its strengths and weaknesses. You don’t want to get one that doesn’t have all the features you want, but you also don’t want to pay too much for features you won’t use.

Here’s some straightforward advice on picking the right iPad for you.

Choose the best AirPods for holiday giving

By

AirPods Pro 2 look pretty much the same as the original, but they're better in nearly every way.
AirPods Pro 2 look pretty much the same as the original, but they're better in nearly every way.
Photo: Apple

Which AirPods should you buy as gifts for family and friends this holiday season (or just for your greedy self)? It all comes down to which features you want and how much you want to spend.

Earbuds are a tough gift item because how they sound and how they fit is super-subjective. Everybody’s different.

But our guide will help you decide among the four Apple AirPods models on sale in December 2022: AirPods (2nd gen), AirPods (3rd gen), AirPods Pro (2nd gen) and AirPods Max.

Best iPhone game controllers this holiday season

By

Old school Xbox gaming on the RiotPWR Controller.
An iPhone game controller can make a great gift.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

If you are overstraining your brain trying to come up with the right gift for an iPhone fan, consider a clip-on game controller. Mobile gamers can appreciate that physical buttons, sticks and triggers make play a lot more fun for many types of games.

I’ve reviewed all the top iPhone game controllers. Here are my recommendations.

Best Apple Watch Ultra bands: Rugged and ready for adventure

By

If you have a tough timepiece like Apple Watch Ultra, you need a rugged band to go with it.
If you have a tough timepiece like Apple Watch Ultra, you need a rugged band to go with it.
Photo: Apple

From the three bands Apple designed especially for the chunky Apple Watch Ultra to several other worthy options, you have plenty to choose from when it comes to a rugged band that can handle whatever you throw at it and Apple’s toughest timepiece.

In our roundup below, we cover Apple’s best options for bands to pair with the high-performance Apple Watch Ultra. Plus, we found other great (and more-affordable) choices from brands like Carterjett, Kordiz, Mifa, Nomad, Pinnacle and Spigen.

What you need to know when buying a new TV

By

This TV shopping guide will give you info on screen resolution and other key features.
Hint: This is not a cutting-edge TV.
Photo: AlexAntropov86/Pixabay CC

By Allison Martin

You walk into the store expecting to choose a television in record time. But while that may sound appealing, the TV-buying process is often more complex. With so many sizes and features to choose from, finding the perfect set can be overwhelming — but don’t fret.

From resolutions to refresh rates, we tell you about the key factors to consider when buying a new TV.

September is the perfect time to buy these 9 things

By

september sales
If you're looking for certain Apple gear, and other popular products, September could be the time to land a great deal.
Photo: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay CC

September is an exciting month for bargain hunters. Not only does it bring us one step closer to the holiday season — which is the best time of year for many big-ticket items — but this month is also a great time to stock up on a variety of items, thanks to a small overlap in Labor Day, summer clearance, and back-to-school sales.

While the end of summer may be upon us, the best deals of the year are only now just beginning. Check out our guide below for tips on the best things to buy in September. (Unfortunately, it’s not a good time to score a deal on the iPhone 7 or an iPad, but other Apple items should be on sale.)