2018 Mac mini review roundup: Pricey but impressively powerful

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Apple Mac mini 2018
Apple packed a lot of power inside the new Mac mini's space gray case.
Photo: Apple

The Mac mini is back! It’s no longer the ultra-affordable entry to macOS it once was. But it’s still the cheapest Apple computer you can buy — and there’s a good reason for the price hike.

This year’s upgrade (the first since 2014) makes it the fastest and most impressive Mac mini yet. Intel’s latest chips, coupled with faster RAM, ample storage options and all the ports you need are squeezed inside its tiny shell.

Here’s what the reviewers are saying so far.

iPhone XR review: Why buy anything else?

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iPhone XR review: With a great screen, cameras, battery life and Face ID, the iPhone XR is a nifty smartphone.
With a great screen, cameras, battery life and Face ID, the iPhone XR is a nifty smartphone.
Photo: Kristal Chan/Cult of Mac

The iPhone XR is typical Apple. It’s an entry-level phone with a bunch of premium features. Jony Ive just cannot cut corners, even if he wanted to. This is no plasticky, cut-rate phone built to meet a price point. It’s a primo phone with primo features (and a primo price tag, TBH). It just happens to be the cheapest new iPhone in Apple’s lineup.

The XR delivers everything customers care about: a big, beautiful screen; great cameras; long battery life; and Face ID.

The iPhone XR is arguably Apple’s most interesting smartphone of 2018 because of this slightly odd bundle of budget/premium features. It’s arguably a $1,200 phone in a $750 package.

For a chance to win a brand-new iPhone XR, enter our free giveaway here.

iPhone XR review roundup: Apple’s cheapest is one of its best

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iPhone XR portrait mode
You should really consider the iPhone XR.
Photo: Apple

The first iPhone XR reviews are out just a few days before the handset makes its official debut, and one thing’s clear: This is one of Apple’s best smartphones to date.

Despite being a more affordable alternative to the iPhone XS, the iPhone XR is just as good in many areas, and even better in a few others. It makes some sacrifices to be more affordable, but it certainly lives up to the promises where it counts.

Here’s what the early reviews are saying so far.

Bezels & Bytes Apple watch bands are fusing tech and jewelry design seamlessly

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bezels & bytes
Transform your tech gadgets into fashion statements.
Photo: Bezels & Bytes

If you’re looking for a uniquely beautiful watch band to transform your Apple watch from a time piece to a jewelry statement, look no further. Bezels & Bytes fuses tech and style seamlessly with their collection of stunning, luxury Apple Watch Bands. Just ask Oprah!

We unboxed their gorgeous Chainlink & Leather Apple Watch band in rose gold, and it was awesome. Check out the live unboxing video on our YouTube channel here:

$100 iPhone X clone is a lot scarier than it looks

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$100 iPhone X clone
Can you tell the difference?
Photo: Jason Keobler/Motherboard

Now that rival smartphone makers have had some time to follow in Apple’s footsteps, you don’t have to spend $1,000 on an iPhone X to enjoy features like facial recognition and an edge-to-edge screen. For instance, this handset looks almost exactly like Apple’s latest flagship, and yet it costs just $100.

But don’t be fooled by its pretty face. This unashamed iPhone X clone is as ugly as sin under the surface, and its poor excuse for security is even scarier.

Avanti Air headphones combine retro cool with wireless future [Review]

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Moshi headphones
Pricey, but worth every cent.
Photo: Luke Dormehl/Cult of Mac

When a “premium accessories maker” known for its battery packs and dongles sets out to make wireless headphones, you might fear for your ears. But the only thing in danger from Moshi’s Avanti Air Bluetooth headphones is your wallet.

With a price tag of $299.95, these headphones certainly fit the “premium” bill. Happily, they’re beautifully designed and will please your ears as well as your eyes.

Zagg Slim Book is my favorite keyboard case for iPad Pro [Review]

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ZAGG Slim Book for iPad Pro
I’ve tried a lot of iPad Pro keyboards, but nothing beats the ZAGG Slim Book.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro is officially my primary computing device.

For the past five months, I’ve used it for everything from browsing the web and watching YouTube videos at night, to researching and writing stories for Cult of Mac during the day. I can’t remember the last time I turned on my PC — it’s been a long time.

I wouldn’t have been able to use the iPad Pro for all of this without a great physical keyboard. I’ve tried a bunch of them. And for the past two months or so, I’ve been using Zagg’s excellent Slim Book.

Here’s why it’s my favorite keyboard case for iPad.

Creative Block: Roli’s expressive MIDI keyboard goes portable [Review]

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Roll seaboard block review
That's the Seaboard sat on a 12-inch iPad.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Imagine a piano keyboard that is also a multitouch surface, like the screen on an iPad. Now imagine that this is a tactile silicone surface with bumps and dips so you can feel the keys, just like a piano. Hold that image in your mind — you are currently imagining the Roli Seaboard Block, backpack-sized Bluetooth MIDI keyboard that will change the way you play music.

Apple Watch Series 3, 6 months on

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Series 3 6 months on
Time has flown with the Apple Watch Series 3.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Surprisingly, the Apple Watch Series 3 has been out for six months already. While time has flown by (pun intended), the Series 3 watch has easily become one of my favourite Apple releases of the past year. Although I’ve already done a full review, I wanted to revisit it now that half a year has passed to tell you about my experience with it, what I like, what I don’t and if it’s worth it.

Check out the video below.

Foobot is the smart air monitor that warns you of indoor pollution [Review]

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Foobot review: The unobtrusive Foobot stands less than 7 inches high.
The unobtrusive Foobot stands less than 7 inches high.
Photo: Luke Dormehl/Cult of Mac

Thunderclap Newman once sang that there’s something in the air. The Foobot smart air monitor promises to tell you what that something is.

Designed to detect a variety of air conditions in your home, the pint-size Foobot gathers loads of data about indoor pollution. It then let you delve into that information on your iPhone or iPad. So is it a “must have” device or one gadget too many? Get our initial thoughts in our Foobot review.