There are hundreds of iPad stands available on the market, but until a few weeks ago none of them managed to stay on my desk for more than two days. Not even Apple’s own dock for iPad, which is a $29 tiny piece of plastic that could work as a stand to hold the iPad upright, but only works in portrait mode. In the past three weeks, however, I’ve been using the Just Mobile UpStand for iPad and haven’t really looked back to find another solution.
The UpStand is an elegant and simple product to hold your iPad in landscape and portrait modes — there’s not really much else to say about it, but read along past the break to see why I decided to use the UpStand as my iPad stand of choice. (more…)
It is no secret Sena makes beautiful products. From travel cases to sleeves and integrated keyboard folio designs, Sena’s leather quality and manufacturing process is top notch. In fact, I don’t think any other company I know of makes better leather accessories than Sena’s. Over the past weeks I’ve been able to test a Folio Case for the iPad, an elegant case with a portfolio book design that adds a very “sophisticated” tone to the device. (more…)
In my review of the Sonos S5 wireless music system, I made the bold statement that I can’t live without music. It’s true, and apps for the iPhone and iPad are only making the need of music anywhere, anytime more ubiquitous than ever. With music accessible at any time, from any device, the need of high-quality portable gear becomes real.
The Sonos S5 is a top-notch music system that’s deeply integrated with iOS and Internet services, but you can’t carry it around. You can’t have it with you at your friend’s house (well, unless you plan on configuring it on his router and computers), you can’t have it at the beach, at the bar, wherever. The Sonos S5 is great, but it’s a “desktop system”. The Jawbone JAMBOX wireless speaker, which I was provided a review unit a few weeks ago, is a different story, and an original one: it’s a tiny, ultra-portable, hi-fi audio speaker and speakerphone that you can carry in you hand or throw in your bag / backpack. It’s really, really small yet it delivers impressive audio quality throughout small to medium rooms. It’s completely integrated with the iOS platform and can double as a speakerphone that’s, again, integrated with Apple’s Phone app.
After the break, you’ll find my review of the Jawbone JAMBOX after three weeks of testing in lots of different rooms and situations with different people and music genres. I really tried to make the JAMBOX fit with any possible scenario I could think of. But I can already say this small and user-friendly speaker is the best thing that ever happened to my mobile music. (more…)
I can’t live without my music. Every day, I need to get my “fix” either through iTunes, Youtube (it’s good for rare live performances) or Spotify. I also scrobble the songs I listen to towards last.fm, although I’m no huge fan of the service as a social platform. I just keep an archive of my musical tastes in there. Still, as far as music is concerned, most of the times it’s not the system or the platform that really matters. It’s the quality. And for quality, you need good gear.
Over the years, I’ve always tried to save money and purchase great-quality earbuds to ensure high-fidelity playback while on the go. I’m still happy with my Sennheiser CX 300 bought years ago, but home stereo systems have been a dilemma for me, in spite of my obsession for top-notch hardware. I’ve changed setups too many times, jumped from speakers to stereos and all-in-one solutions without really sticking to one for more than 6 months. When music becomes an obsession, good gear is a necessity. Recently, the audio technologies implemented by Apple in iOS forced me to reconsider everything once again.
See, wireless streaming spoiled all the fun I had accomplished. First came audio via Bluetooth, then Airport Express stations and AirPlay. I changed devices: I went from a classic iPod to an iPod touch to iPhone + iPad. I subscribed to Spotify Premium to use the mobile app (with streaming and offline access), I became addicted to Apple’s own iPod app and third party replacements like My Artists, or external controllers like Coversutra, Bowtie and SongSwiper. Put simply: music became deeply integrated with iOS, and iOS grew at the same time to accomodate features like AirPlay. Music became connected.
So when I was offered the chance to review the Sonos S5, I immediately said “yes” and eagerly started waiting for the two review units to show up at my doorstep. The Sonos S5, for those unaware of this mythical gadget, is a wireless speaker internally powered by a series of amps that a) provides great sound quality and b) is truly connected with iOS, OS X and the Internet. The S5 offers the best of both worlds: local playback backed up by high-quality manufacturing and remote functionalities that allow users to “log into” the speaker and customize the entire experience. After the break, you’ll find my impressions of two months with two Sonos S5 units and a Sonos ZoneBridge connector. (more…)
To inaugurate our new series of hardware and gadget reviews, I’d like to cover a product that, in the past months, has completely changed the way I carry my iPhone around and charge it. The Powermat, a combination of case and charging mat for the iPhone we first covered in October, allows you to charge your iPhone wirelessly, without any cable, through a case you’ll have to put your iPhone 4 into.
Courtesy of the great folks at Powermat, I was sent a single mat, a receiver case for the iPhone 4 and another mat that can charge up to two devices on a single surface. So far, my experience with the charging system has been very good; then only issues I ran into involved some kind of difficulty trying to find the “right spot” on the 2x mat. But overall, I do believe the Powermat is one of the most innovative, powerful and, why not, cool gadgets you can buy for your iPhone right now. (more…)