TouchMyApps » Bags/Cases http://www.touchmyapps.com All Things iPhone and iPad for those who like to Touch. iOS App reviews, News, New Apps, Price Drops and App Gone Free Tue, 23 Sep 2014 21:31:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.4 Hands on with the iKit NuCharge iPhone 5 battery case http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/03/20/ikit-nucharge-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/03/20/ikit-nucharge-review/#comments Wed, 20 Mar 2013 22:07:49 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72215 Kickstarter has given birth to some really innovative products in the past and the iKit NuCharge is no exemption. Dubbed the most “advanced iPhone battery case ever made”, it’s also the world’s first interchangeable battery and case cover for the iPhone 5. With such a design, users can decide whether to go with a light … Read more]]>

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Kickstarter has given birth to some really innovative products in the past and the iKit NuCharge is no exemption. Dubbed the most “advanced iPhone battery case ever made”, it’s also the world’s first interchangeable battery and case cover for the iPhone 5. With such a design, users can decide whether to go with a light and minimal case, or pop on the battery for slightly more bulk to juice up the iPhone. I was recently sent a pre-production unti for testing and so far I’m really liking the iKit for its versatility, lightweight and slim 1900mAh battery pack.

Design and specs

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Unlike any battery case you’ve ever see, the iKit NuCharge comes with several components. The “Snap case” portion is sturdy, made of plastic and snaps onto the back of the iPhone 5. This is similar to the run-of-the-mill cases you find in stores and it fits the phone extremely well. The top and bottom parts of the case are cut out (as are the volume and rear camera areas), meaning that the earphone jack and lightning port are easily accesible. What makes this seemingly ordinary case different is its backside, which is made with holes and grooves to fit either the exchangeable aluminium/ leather cover, or the detachable extended battery pack.

Depending on your Pledge, the iKit comes bundled with an Aluminium Cover in 9 different colors, or the Leather style back in 6 colors. With the cover snapped into place (push in and then slide down), the Snap Case securely wraps around the iPhone and provides moderate amounts of protection – save for the exposed top and bottom.

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The battery pack comes in either black or white, its outer coating is made out of a rubber soft-touch finish and has a very slim profile, weighing in at only 58g. Like the covers, it snaps onto the case the same way and in my hand, it doesn’t seem much heavier than the Otterbox Defender and iPhone 5 combo. It truly is impressive how light the battery feels, even more so that it packs 1900mAh and essentially doubles the life of the iPhone 5. Located to the lower left corner is an LED power indicator (four blue lights signify a full charge); to the right, a power button to initiate the charge and LED lights; and the back has a handy kickstand so you can enjoy watching movies etc. in landscape mode. Finally, what makes this entire design possible – one where the battery case is the same length as the iPhone 5 – is the Apple approved lighting connector tucked neatly away at the bottom.

ikit-nucharge-charge-cable

When you need to charge your iPhone, simply pull the cable back, twist it slightly and plug it into the iPhone lightning port. Once in, hold the power button to begin charging. Initially, upon seeing this design on the Kickstarter page, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of a cable sticking out every time a charge was required. But after trying it for the past few days, I found that it didn’t get in the way of using the phone. There are definitely advantages to this cable system, where it doesn’t add to the overall length of the case like the rest of its competition (for comparison, the NuCharge is 125.6mm tall, while the Mophie Juice Pack is 140.7mm). Of course, the downside to such a design is the potential dangers of dropping the phone while the lightning cable is plugged in and possibly damaging the tip of the connector from the fall.

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The NuCharge Battery and battery life

Another unique feature about the iKit NuCharge is its battery pack. Designed with an IC chip from SEIKO, Shark Designs (the creators behind the case) claim that they have engineered a battery that saves energy, and as a result does not heat up. Using an output of 1Amp (now the minimum allowed by Apple), they were able to squeeze enough juice out of a capacity of 1900mAh for a full charge. True to their word, I barely noticed a rise in temperature on the battery pack when charging the iPhone 5; basically it stays cool to the touch. The various battery cases I’ve owned in the past invariably warmed up to a certain degree while discharging.

From my tests, the NuCharge pretty much doubled the life of the iPhone 5′s 1440mAh battery. From 20% left in the tank, it took about an hour and a half to charge it back up to full, and the LED indicator still showed two blue lights out of four. At 1% remaining, it was able to charge the phone to 97 – 98% in an hour and forty five before the battery ran out of power. By and large, this is enough for most users to get by without having to recharge their iPhones with a wall charger/usb connection for 2 full days whilst using the iKit.

Pledges and other tidbits

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As mentioned previously, the iKit NuCharge I received from Shark Designs is a pre-production unit. Despite this, the overall quality is good and the finished product may receive some minor tweaks when it’s shipped out to their Kickstarter backers in April. One thing that will change in the final production is the kickstand. On the testers, they were made out of plastic and are rather flimsy. But after the initial feedback, this is being swapped out with reinforced aluminium, which should make it much sturdier when the iPhone’s being propped up for movies and the like. One other thing I would like to see is for the top four corners of the Snap Case to be rounder. They’re not sharp by any means, but at least with mine, they’re somewhat pointy to the touch when held at certain angles.

ikit-nucharge-pledge-table

Other pledge options for more iKit goodies

There are 7 days to go before the Kickstarter campaign ends. Pledges for a white or black NuCharge (along with an aluminium cover and snap case) go for $59, after which they will retail for $79. Also available are aluminium/leather back covers that can be purchased separately, including being able to customize it with your own pantone color choice (aluminium only).

Wrap up

The iKit NuCharge has won me over and I’ve become a big fan of this charging solution for the iPhone 5. It may not be perfect and perhaps not everyone will like the pull-out cable for recharging, but it’s one of the most – if not the most – versatile iPhone battery cases around. It would be nice if the Snap Case did cover all around the iPhone, though this is a compromise for easy accessibility to all its ports an buttons. If you ask me, $59 to double the life of your iPhone 5, give it sufficient protection AND allow you to easily swap out the battery pack and back cover is well worth the money.

Head over to their Kickstarter page for all the details on the iKit NuCharge.

Pros:

  • 2-in-1 battery case solution
  • Slim and light battery
  • Doubles the battery life of the iPhone 5
  • Battery doesn’t heat up
  • Apple approved lightning cable
  • Easy to access Earphone jack and lightning port
  • Battery case doesn’t add length to iPhone 5, only depth

Cons:

  • Aluminium cover can be difficult to remove, especially when Snap Case is on iPhone
  • Top/Bottom sides of iPhone exposed
  • Finishing on Snap Case could be better (though this could just be with pre-production units)

ikit-nucharge-charge-11 ikit-nucharge-charge-8 ikit-nucharge-charge-7 ikit-nucharge-charge-5 ikit-nucharge-charge-6 ikit-nucharge-charge-4 ikit-nucharge-charge-3 ikit-nucharge-charge-2 NuCharge next to Otterbox Defender for iPhone 5Read more]]>
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Otterbox Defender Case for iPhone 5 in Review – Heavy weight champ? http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/11/28/otterbox-defender-case-for-iphone-5-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/11/28/otterbox-defender-case-for-iphone-5-in-review/#comments Wed, 28 Nov 2012 22:13:30 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=71071 When it comes to iPhone cases that offer the most protection, Otterbox’s Defender series cases are among some of most popular. From the iPhone 3G to the iPhone 5, the Defender has no doubt saved countless devices from accidental falls and drops. Slim and elegant it is not, but it’s added bulk and built-in screen … Read more]]>

When it comes to iPhone cases that offer the most protection, Otterbox’s Defender series cases are among some of most popular. From the iPhone 3G to the iPhone 5, the Defender has no doubt saved countless devices from accidental falls and drops. Slim and elegant it is not, but it’s added bulk and built-in screen protector will give users even more peace of mind – especially when it comes to the iPhone 5, a beautifully crafted phone whose sides are highly prone to scuffs and scratches.

Design and Installation

If your everyday iPhone case aims to look sexy while providing some level of protection, the Defender’s motto is to serve and protect. But that’s not to say that it looks ugly – far from it actually.

Essentially comprised of two main components, an inner shell made of tough polycarbonate snaps onto the iPhone 5 front and back, and an outer silicone sleeve that fits around it like a glove. As you’d expect, the area above the volume and sleep buttons are moulded precisely and pressing down on them requires just a wee bit more force. Meanwhile, the silent toggle, earphone jack and lightening port are all covered up securely with flaps that can be peeled back. They’re easy to pull back and are well integrated into the case. And the home button is covered by the same rubbery material as the outer jacket, giving it a soft cushiony feel whenever it’s used.

Around the back, a circular hole is cut out to expose the phone’s Apple logo, and a large enough area is left uncovered for the camera and flash. A near triangular cutout can also be found in the front, where the ear speaker and light sensor are located. As mentioned, the Defender has a built in screen protector, which is attached to the inner shell and sits directly above the iPhone 5’s own display.

The tricky part about installing the case is opening the inner shell to fit the iPhone 5. In total, there are a total of 7 snap-on points that have to be undone, which can be rather difficult at first. But with a bit of practice and over time, it does get easier. Other than that, slipping the silicone jacket over it is a breeze.

Using the Defender case

The most obvious thing when first picking up the Defender Case is how much thicker it’ll make the iPhone 5. In fact, it doubles the thickness (16.8mm vs 7.6mm), and as such, going from bare naked without a case to packing the Defender will take some getting used to. Once you do though (which for me wasn’t more than a day or so), it feels nice in the hand and knowing that there’s that extra layer of protection certainly feels comforting. Good thing too because I’ve dropped my share of gadgets over the years. In fact, just over a week ago, I accidentally dropped my iPhone from about 4 feet off the ground and the Defender took the blow like a champ. To my surprise, it just bounced off the concrete as the silicon exterior absorbed most of the shock. If I hadn’t used a case (or even just a flimsy one), I likely would have been looking at some nasty scratches along its easy-to-scuff sides – or worse, a cracked screen.

As for the built-in screen protector, the clarity is good and touch responsiveness is on par with the ZAGG invisibleSHIELD – which is to say very good. After typing on it for a short while, I barely noticed that it’s even there. It is quite a magnet for fingerprints though, so be prepared to wipe it down several times a day if smudges here and there bother you.

Also, because of the thickness of the case and the slightly raised sides around the screen, using the iPhone with just one hand is more difficult. Specifically, I find that my thumb isn’t quite able to reach all the way across the screen like I could without a case. I’d therefore need to stretch out my palm and extend the thumb a bit to reach the other end of the display. Not a deal breaker by any means, but it’s downer nonetheless.

The Holster

Included in the package is a holster, which is solidly made and can be clipped onto a belt, pocket or bag. The case snaps on/off with ease and the fit is perfect. The clip can be rotated 360 degrees, so you can choose to have the iPhone holstered vertically or horizontally. And to make things easier, it can be inserted either way as the groove for the locking mechanism is located on both sides of the case. Personally I’m not much of a holster guy, but if I were, I can definitely see myself using it while travelling for work.

A Quick note on the Commuter case

If the Otterbox Defender is somewhat too bulky for your tastes, the Commuter Series Case is a nice alternative. Despite the lack of the inner hardshell casing, the Commuter still offers plenty of protection, with flaps to cover the earphone jack and lightning port and an adhesive screen protector (dry install) to apply yourself.

Installation involves slipping the iPhone into the inner rubber layer, and then snapping on the exterior shell from the back. This design is what gives it its two-toned look, should you go with a color other than all black (there are 8 color choices in all). While this is lighter and more compact than the Defender, I still prefer the bigger sibling due to the double layer of protection, and I just like its feel more in my hand.

Final thoughts

When it comes to providing the iPhone 5 with ample protection, the Otterbox Defender case gets the job done. I’ve tried and owned my share of iPhone cases over the years and none have given me the peace of mind that the Defender has. Knowing that I can drop my sleek iPhone 5 and not worry about dings and dents is a great feeling. It does have it’s drawbacks (harder to stretch thumb across screen for the average hand and screen protector seemingly attracts more fingerprints), but if you’re in the market for a serious case that can take a beating and don’t mind the added bulk, this right here is worth the investment.

Note: As of writing, Amazon is currently selling the OtterBox Defender Series Case for just $21.25, down from the MSRP of $49.95.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

What’s to like:

  • Bulked up protection for iPhone 5
  • Screen protector works well
  • Port covers keep help keep dust out
  • Still a relatively light case
  • Comes with solidly made Holster
  • Inner shell has layer of foam to cushion iPhone

What’s not to like:

  • Harder for thumb to reach across the screen
  • Fingerprints on screen protector
  • iPhone 5 no longer looks sexy
  • Retail price of $49.95 higher than most cases
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Review: ZAGG invisibleSHIELD Extreme and HD http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/10/26/review-zagg-invisibleshield-extreme-and-hd/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/10/26/review-zagg-invisibleshield-extreme-and-hd/#comments Fri, 26 Oct 2012 17:07:03 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=70370 Several months ago, I accidentally dropped my iPad 3 on the ground as the Smart Cover I was holding detached itself from the tablet. Sadly, the screen got banged up and several inches of scratch marks were made. Thankfully Apple replaced it for free and gave me a brand new iPad – this despite not having … Read more]]>

Several months ago, I accidentally dropped my iPad 3 on the ground as the Smart Cover I was holding detached itself from the tablet. Sadly, the screen got banged up and several inches of scratch marks were made. Thankfully Apple replaced it for free and gave me a brand new iPad – this despite not having the extended AppleCare+ warranty. Now if I had bothered putting on a worthy screen protector, the iPad’s display wouldn’t have been damaged in the first place. Since then, I’ve gone through several brands (mostly the cheap ones), though all of them left much to be desired for one reason or another. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. That’s when I decided to finally skip the junk and try out some of the “premium” screen protectors out there, like the hugely popular ZAGG invisibleSHIELDs. In particular, the invisibleSHIELD Extreme for the iPhone 5 and High Definition shield for the iPad 3/4.

ZAGG, as many of you already know, is one of the biggest names in the protective film biz. All their skins are made from military grade patented material and features a technology ZAGG calls “Nano-Memory”, which is supposed to have ‘self-healing’ properties and are highly resistant to scratches and overall damage. Over the years, different lines of invisibleSHIELDS were introduced, and the two that I ended up using are the Extreme and High Definition.

invisibleSHIELD Extreme for the iPhone 5 (Case friendly screen coverage)

The Extreme is the latest invisibleSHIELD made available by ZAGG and it’s also the one that offers the most protection. The film itself is relatively thick and offers both break protection and shock resistance. In a promo video that’s since been watched over 1 million times, an iPhone 5 sporting an Extreme shield takes major abuse from the likes of a paintball, hammer, an arrow and other lethal forces.

Installing the ZAGG Extreme invisibleSHIELD

Unlike other typical screen protectors, the ZAGG shields are wet installs, meaning that you need to spray a (provided) solution on before applying to your iPhone. One of the major benefits with this method is that you can adjust the film by sliding it ever so slightly once it’s on to get that perfect alignment. With the dry ones, this isn’t possible; you’ll have to lift up the film and reapply a second time.

As it was my first time doing a wet install, it was a bit daunting, though ZAGG does provide a detailed Installation Walkthrough with video, pics and text.

After clearing my work desk and washing my hands, I proceeded to spray some of the solution (aka SHIELDspray) on my finger tips – ZAGG recommends this to prevent leaving fingerprints on the invisibleSHIELD. I then removed the shield from the paper backing, sprayed both its front and backside and applied it on my iPhone 5′s screen. Since it’s slick with the solution, it was easy to shift the shield around until I was satisfied with the position. And using the included squeegee, I pushed out the bubbles and excess solution from the centre towards the edges of the device and wiped away the moisture with the cloth.

Cloudy spots appear after applying shield. It’ll take 4-5 days for it to fully disappear

The next step was probably the most difficult of all, and that involved leaving the iPhone 5 turned off and left to sit for 12-24 hours. This is required in order to let the shield set and properly dry. All in all, it took me approximately 15-20 minutes to complete. I ended up starting at 8pm and didn’t turn the phone back on until 9am the next morning. One thing to note is that immediately after putting on the protector, cloudy (and yellowish) spots will appear randomly throughout  the screen. This is normal and is a result of the adhesive beneath not drying completely. It took nearly 5 days before all the spots dissipated.

After installation and using the invisibleSHIELD Extreme 

One of the most obvious things when you apply the shield is that the triangular cutting around the earpiece seems off. At first, I thought it was a bad cut from the factory, but after emailing ZAGG, I learned that it was by design – in particular, to avoid covering the sensor around the earpiece. It’s awkward to look at at first, though I have found that I stopped noticing it after a few days. The other exposed area is around the home button, where the shield doesn’t completely wrap around it. Seeing how this is the “Case Friendly” version, this particular Extreme doesn’t cover the screen fully from side to side. There’s a about a millimeter and a bit of space left so that there won’t be issues with case compatibility.

The actual Extreme shield is thick by screen protector standards, and certainly the thickest I’ve ever laid my hands on. That said, it really is impressive how it still provides excellent clarity and the touch responsiveness is surprisingly good. I’ve basically had no issues typing or using the iPhone 5 with the shield on.

I haven’t unleashed the hammer or fired a shotgun at it, but the Extreme does a good job of protecting the screen. Most of the everyday bumps and thumps haven’t left any visible marks on the shield (I’ve already dropped it accidental several times over the past few weeks). The only scratch mark I’ve left on it is from a nail I used to scrape along the surface. I wanted to see how well it’d hold up, and while the “self-healing” properties didn’t fully kick in (there’s a faint line only visible under a certain angle and light), my iPhone 5 screen was perfectly fine.

Pros

  • It’s thicker than most, but the clarity is excellent
  • Touch responsiveness barely affected, if at all
  • Gives screen a solid layer of protection
  • Backed by free lifetime replacement warranty

 Cons

  • Takes 4-5 days for cloudy spots to disappear
  • Cut around earpiece not even and leaves area exposed
  • Home button not fully covered
  • More prone to fingerprints

invisibleSHIELD HD for iPad 3/4 (Maximum coverage)

The ZAGG HD shield, like the Extreme, is fairly new to the invisibleSHIELD lineup and was first announced at the beginning of 2012. Its biggest selling point – besides offering the protection of the original film – is the ‘Advanced Clarity and Glass-like Surface’ feature. True to its word, once applied you’d be hard pressed to notice that a screen protector is even there.

Installing the full body ZAGG HD invisibleSHIELD

Applying the ZAGG HD on the iPad is a bit more tricky, as there’s more ground to cover – not to mention that this is the Maximum Coverage version, where there’s a film for the back as well. Thinking it’d be easier and that it won’t take long, I decided to work on the back first. Well, it turns out it was neither easy nor fast. Looking back, my biggest issue was not applying enough of the ZAGG solution on the adhesive side of the shield. This coupled with the fact that the film for the back is soft, I had a difficult time adjusting it and making it fit properly around the camera hold, sleep/volume buttons, earphone jack etc. Getting all the corners of the shield to wrap nicely around the iPad’s own four corners also added to the challenge. For seasoned vets, the process probably isn’t a big deal, but for a first timer like me, it was definitely harder than I’d imagined. All in all, it took me nearly 45 minutes to complete this one side. It turned out ok for the most part, though I wasn’t able to line up all the edges perfectly.

Thankfully, the front shield was significantly easier to install for me – almost like night and day. Realizing my previous mistake, I sprayed loads more of the solution on its adhesive side. This allowed me to slide the film around with much more ease and I was able to apply and squeegee off the bubbles and excess moisture in less than 10 minutes. If I were to do the back again, I’m pretty confident that I’d do a better job the second time around as I’ll know what to expect. But if you’re a complete newbie and don’t have much patience, paying that extra $5 (or even $10) to have it installed for you by the pros (assuming the service is available at the kiosk/retailer) wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Retina display looking great with HD film

Using the invisibleSHIELD Extreme 

Unlike the Extreme, the High Def shield doesn’t get the same cloudy spots, but it’s still recommended that the iDevice is turned off and left unused for 12-24 hours. And the remaining bubbles on both the front and back all disappeared after a day or so.

Once settled in, the results are quite amazing. The screen is crystal clear and the Retina Display can be enjoyed in its full glory. I’ve noticed basically no difference to the touch sensitivity – it’s like there’s nothing there. The one downside is that it picks up on fingerprints easily. As for the rear skin, I love the rubbery feel it offers; it just feels better to hold in my hands than the brushed aluminum, and I like how it doesn’t slide around as much anymore when placed on a surface.

Also worth noting is that with the HD shield applied on the back, the iPad still fits into the ZAGGFolio Keyboard Case, though I’ve found that it is extremely hard to remove. Just something to think about if you do use this keyboard accessory. The case itself will close, but with the added layers (albeit thin ones), it’s a tighter fit.

Pros

  • Glass like surface is very clear
  • Film resistant to scratches
  • Front shield easy to apply
  • No change in touch responsiveness
  • Rear shield gives iPad a nice grip
  • Backed by free lifetime replacement warranty

Cons

  • Not easy to apply film on the backside
  • Did I mention how hard it was to apply film round back?
  • Fingerprints
  • Hard to remove from ZaggFolio when back shield is installed

Final Thoughts

After using both the HD and Extreme shields on my iDevices for the past few weeks, I have to say that I’ve been more than pleased with the results. It’s surprising to see how the much thicker Extreme skin still offers great clarity and touch responsiveness, all the while giving your iPhone’s display added shock protection. Since my iPhone 5 doesn’t go anywhere without a case (the chamfered sides are just too easy to scuff), the case friendly screen coverage version is more than sufficient for my needs. Whereas for my iPad, I personally prefer the feel of the skin than the aluminum back; it just provides a better grip and isn’t prone to scratches. To top it off, the Smart Cover works perfectly even with the full shield installed. Now if only the rear installation wasn’t so difficult.

There are several options available for the invisibleSHIELD Extreme for the iPhone 5: Full Body (a back skin is included) retails for $49.99; Case Friendly Screen Coverage for $29.99; and the regular Screen Coverage also for $29.99. As for the HD Shield for the iPad 3/4, the Maximum Coverage option sells for $49.99 and just the front Screen will set you back $34.99.

Final Rating for both Shields, a solid Grab It (4/5).

Grab It Rating - 4/5

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iGear now taking pre-orders for iPad Mini Case http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/10/21/igear-now-taking-pre-orders-for-ipad-mini-case/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/10/21/igear-now-taking-pre-orders-for-ipad-mini-case/#comments Sun, 21 Oct 2012 20:22:45 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=70374 We’re 2 days away from the highly anticipated unveiling of the iPad Mini and accessories maker iGear is now taking pre-orders for its iPad Mini Portfolio case. While there’s no mention of its dimensions (all signs are pointing to a 7.85″ screen), the product page describes it as: This is a well padded portfolio case for the new iPad … Read more]]>

We’re 2 days away from the highly anticipated unveiling of the iPad Mini and accessories maker iGear is now taking pre-orders for its iPad Mini Portfolio case. While there’s no mention of its dimensions (all signs are pointing to a 7.85″ screen), the product page describes it as:

This is a well padded portfolio case for the new iPad Mini featuring PU Leather – it offers the look and feel of leather but is more durable for daily use. A magnetic cover keeps the portfolio closed when not in use for a clean and tidy look. Soft velvet lining protects the iPad Mini all around. Can be used in multiple angles for typing, movie watching, etc. Simple, elegant, very functional.

The iGear iPad Mini case ships on Nov 1st and pricing varies depending on the number purchased. For example, buy between 1-10, it’s $39.99 per case; $37.99 for 11-25 bought; and purchase 101 or more and the price drops to $31.99 ea. It’s your typical folio style case you’ve come to expect for the iPad, though just shrunk down a bit.

Features:

  • Durable PU leather padded portfolio case
  • Full-body protection all around the iPad Mini
  • Magnetic cover holds the iPad Mini securely
  • Soft fabric lining protects iPad Mini’s sreen
  • Can be set up at multiple angles for typing and movie watching

On Friday, 9 to 5 Mac reported that the ‘minimum’ price of the base mode of the iPad Mini will likely be $329 in the US. And recent rumors have pegged its release date on November 2nd, which will be exactly 10 days after this coming Tuesday’s media event.

There’s always an element of risk when buying accessories before a device is even announced, though with all the recent leaks for both the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini, it’s possible that manufacturers in China have been able to mass produce them with legit blueprints (as was the case with Hard Candy’s iPhone 5 case). Earlier this month, ZAGG put up a landing page on their website for the Apple iPad Mini Screen Protector, which has since been taken down.

If you’re anxious to protect your iPad Mini (or whatever Apple will be calling it) with a case and have faith in iGear that it’ll be a proper fit, head on over to their website for the pre-order. Below is a video of the Portfolio case being demoed.

And here’s an earlier demo from early October showing one of their prototype iPad mini cases.

[via iGear PR] … Read more]]>
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Grab some iPhone 5 cases now for only $1.50 each + shipping http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/09/18/grab-some-iphone-5-cases-now-for-only-1-50-each-shipping/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/09/18/grab-some-iphone-5-cases-now-for-only-1-50-each-shipping/#comments Tue, 18 Sep 2012 19:20:21 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=69876 If you’ve already pre-ordered the iPhone 5 or are planning on lining up for one come Friday, chances are you’ve already thought about buying a case to protect your shiny new toy. Well then, here’s a pretty sweet deal you can take advantage of while the offer lasts. Made by BoxWave, their iPhone 5 cases … Read more]]>

If you’ve already pre-ordered the iPhone 5 or are planning on lining up for one come Friday, chances are you’ve already thought about buying a case to protect your shiny new toy. Well then, here’s a pretty sweet deal you can take advantage of while the offer lasts. Made by BoxWave, their iPhone 5 cases are currently on sale for $9.95 (down from $29.95). But if you pre-order them on Amazon and enter the coupon code LUVAPPLE under the “Gift Cards & Promotional Codes” section when checking out, each case can be yours for a low, low price of $1.50 + shipping.

I personally picked up the Boxwave Minimus and Blackout cases for $1.50 each, and with shipping (to Canada), it came to $9.20 total. Not too shabby eh. Granted, they’re not out yet and don’t ship until September 28th (not to mention that I’ve never tried this company’s accessories before), but for the price, I think it may be worth the gamble.

[thanks RedFlagDeals] … Read more]]>
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Hard Candy announces iPhone 5 case: ShockDrop http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/09/12/hard-candy-announces-iphone-5-case/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/09/12/hard-candy-announces-iphone-5-case/#comments Wed, 12 Sep 2012 14:49:43 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=69785 Leave it to Hard Candy to be one of the first accessory manufacturers to provide protection for the yet-to-be-announced iPhone 5. Last year, they gambled (and lost) by mass producing cases for the iPhone 4S based on leaked designs from manufacturers in China. Sadly, the rumoured teardrop design never materialized as the 4S kept the iPhone … Read more]]>

Leave it to Hard Candy to be one of the first accessory manufacturers to provide protection for the yet-to-be-announced iPhone 5. Last year, they gambled (and lost) by mass producing cases for the iPhone 4S based on leaked designs from manufacturers in China. Sadly, the rumoured teardrop design never materialized as the 4S kept the iPhone 4′s design. This time, they’re once again betting that factory leaks will turn out to be the real deal.

“We made a bet the last time the iPhone 5 rumors were circulating (October, 2011) and we lost. This isn’t a failure, but simply part of this crazy Apple accessory business,” said Hard Candy CEO Tim Hickman. “This time we’re doubling the investment and have product ready to go. Cases are sitting in Hong Kong until we verify the fit.”

Meet the funky looking ShockDrop case for the iPhone 5:

Hard Candy Cases introduces the new ShockDrop Case for the iPhone 5. Offering the ultimate protection for your iPhone 5! Most ruggedized cases start and end with the protection and the fit. Hard Candy takes it to an entirely new level with clever, but simple additions. Like a texture that provides a sure grip in all conditions to a screen protector that can take a beating from knocks, rocks, keys, and more.

Features

  • 10mm of silicon shock absorbing four-corner protection, slimming to 3.5mm of overall body shock protection
  • Molded-in Volume Up and Down Indications
  • Rip Proof Port Covers. Thick so they stick, fit, and don’t rip
  • Semi-Rigid Screen Protector to take a beating
  • No-Slip Grip texture

The ShockDrop comes in 2 colors (Black-Gray and Red-Black) and will retail for $39.99. If you’re already looking to protect your upcoming investment with style and are confident that Hard Candy’s design specs are bang on this time around, you can pre-order the case now from their website. Shipping will commence on Sept 21st, the rumoured launch date of the iPhone 5.

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Switcheasy’s exec folio case in Review – A pretty and uniquely thin case for the new iPad / iPad 2 http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/08/21/switcheasys-exec-folio-case-in-review-a-pretty-and-uniquely-thin-case-for-the-new-ipad/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/08/21/switcheasys-exec-folio-case-in-review-a-pretty-and-uniquely-thin-case-for-the-new-ipad/#comments Tue, 21 Aug 2012 14:00:34 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=69435 iPad cases are a dime a dozen and finding the perfect one for your precious iPad is no easy task. Personally, I’d been content with simply using the Smart Cover with my new iPad while at home (and the ZaggFolio with Keyboard case when traveling). Well that was until I’d carelessly dropped the iPad while … Read more]]>

iPad cases are a dime a dozen and finding the perfect one for your precious iPad is no easy task. Personally, I’d been content with simply using the Smart Cover with my new iPad while at home (and the ZaggFolio with Keyboard case when traveling). Well that was until I’d carelessly dropped the iPad while picking it up, no thanks to the magnetic cover that detaches itself just a bit too easily. Thankfully, the screen didn’t crack, though it did get several visible scratches. Needless to say, it was time for a real case, one that provides enough protection and functionality, yet looks sexy at the same time. Meet Switcheasy’s exec iPad case.

In the box

The exec for iPad 2/ new iPad comes quite fully loaded to keep your device protected. Here’s what you’ll find in the package:

  • One exec for the new iPad
  • One anti-static Screen Guard
  • One Microfiber Wipe
  • One Squeegee for Screen Guard application
  • Two Headphone Jack Protectors
  • Two 30 Pin Connector Protectors

Most cases don’t come bundled with a screen protector (which can go for $20 or more), so it’s definitely a bonus to have it included.

Design

Switcheasy’s exec is a folio styled case made of textured polyurethane material on a matted finish outer shell. It’s water resistant, shock absorbent and provides a nice feel and grip when held. Meanwhile, the inner frame is made of microfibre to protect both the iPad’s back and glass screen and houses a hard plastic frame that holds the iPad in place.

As for its design, Switcheasy calls the exec the thinnest folio on the market. While I can’t vouch for this claim, I certainly got the impression that it was indeed thin the first time I picked it up. At only a quarter of an inch thick, it’s the slimmest folio case I’ve tried to date. According to the company, this is achieved thanks to the (patent pending) latch design that utilizes a snap frame, instead of a traditional full plastic shell (more on this later). And as with many cases nowadays, the exec supports the On/Off feature that wakes your iPad up when opened, and puts it to sleep when closed. These very magnets found within the front cover also help it stay closed against the iPad screen.

Using the exec

The most unique feature found in the exec is the aforementioned snap frame, which helps give the case such a thin profile. It quite literally is just a frame that surrounds the iPad’s sides. To insert the iPad into the frame, there are several ways about it, though the easiest method I’ve found is to snap the right side of the iPad/frame together first (where sleep and volumn buttons are located). With one half of the iPad in place, simply push the rest into left side of the frame until the edges are flush.

Once secured, you’ll find the appropriate cutouts for the earphone jack, microphone hole, sleep/volumn buttons, the dock connector and a grill for the bottom right speaker. A pair of headphone jack and 30 pin connector protectors can be used to help keep the dust out.

To make use of the exec’s generous five viewing angles, you first need to unsnap the left half of the iPad from the frame. This is achieved by pushing down on a protruding lever that’s part of the left frame. Now bend the back of the folding case and slide the iPad’s edge towards one of the five mircofibre grooves on the inner-front cover. This method of propping up the iPad is very similar to the one found in the ZaggFolio, and while it works well for the most part, I did find that it was rather difficult popping the iPad in/out from the left frame initially. Thankfully, after several days of use, the edges of the case softened up just enough so that subsequent snapping motions became significantly easier (yet it still holds the iPad securely in place when both sides are snapped in).

And like many Folio cases on the market, the exec works as a stand only in horizontal mode. For most, this probably won’t be an issue. As for the screen protector that comes packaged with the case, it works well – you can hardly tell that one has been applied, though you’ll definitely notice the fingerprints.

As for those who plan on typing a whole lot using the iPad’s virtual keyboard, the one downer is that the case doesn’t provide a dedicated angle for typing. You can technically place a small object between the front and back sides of the case when opened up for a make-shift keyboard angle, but that’s a step that shouldn’t really be required.

Final Thoughts

With the exec, SwitchEasy has made an iPad case with an executive feel to it. It’s slim profile and ridged outer polyurethane shell make it extremely pleasant to hold and handle, the magnetic cover works flawlessly, and as an actual folio case, it provides the iPad with ample protection. It’s not perfect and has a few drawbacks, like the lack of a typing angle and initial difficulty in popping out the iPad from the left frame.

At $60, it’s priced higher than the run-of-the-mill folio case, but bare in mind that it’s also thinner than most and comes bundle with a screen protector. It’s been several weeks since I started using the exec and already it has become one of my favorite folio-styled cases. And with the recent accidental dropping of my iPad (which Apple has graciously replaced for me), you can bet that the Smart Cover won’t be replacing my exec case any time soon.

grab

App Summary
Product: exec iPad 2/3 Case Manufacturer: Switcheasy
MSRP Price: $59.99
  • Slim profile
  • Magnetic cover works flawlessly for sleep/wake
  • Includes screen protector
  • iPad held securely in case
  • Multiple grooves for viewing angles
  • No typing angle
  • Slightly difficult to pop iPad in/out of case during initial use
  • Screen protector a magnet for finger prints
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mophie launches the mophie juice pack PRO for iPhone 4/4S http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/06/05/mophie-launches-the-mophie-juice-pack-pro-for-iphone-44s/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/06/05/mophie-launches-the-mophie-juice-pack-pro-for-iphone-44s/#comments Tue, 05 Jun 2012 22:16:08 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=68414 If you like your iPhone cases a little more rugged for the added protection, and always wished that they could double as a battery pack as well, this new mophie case should be right up your alley. Called the mophie juice pack PRO, this rather massive case comes loaded with a honking battery (2500 mAh) … Read more]]>

If you like your iPhone cases a little more rugged for the added protection, and always wished that they could double as a battery pack as well, this new mophie case should be right up your alley. Called the mophie juice pack PRO, this rather massive case comes loaded with a honking battery (2500 mAh) that will be able to provide an extra 150% more power to your phone. Its Otterbox like exterior not only provides drop/impact/shock protection, but it’s also water resistant and dust proof. And like other juice pack cases, this one’s equipped with a standby switch, so you get to decide when the iPhone 4/4S actually gets charged. The mophie juice pack PRO is available now – black only – on mophie.com for $129. More images and info after the break.

mophie juice pack PRO features:

The juice pack PRO provides you with the confidence that your iPhone can lead you through the most demanding conditions. With the largest battery ever built into a juice pack case, complimented by a belt clip and rugged good looks, the juice pack PRO is the perfect adventure companion. Stay off the grid all weekend.

With an impact resistant design that exceeds military specifications (MIL-STD 810G), a large battery and an included belt clip to keep it securely on your hip, you can be assured that no matter how extreme your weekend gets your iPhone will still be there when you need to get back to civilization.

The juice pack PRO is full of features that were designed with you in mind. An included standby switch allows you to choose when you want your juice pack to charge and the included micro USB cable allows you to charge and sync to itunes.

Four LEDs on the bottom keep tabs on how much power is left in the juice pack PRO battery while the rubberized outer cover and integrated screen protector enables water-tight protection.

mophie-juice-pack-pro-battery-case-1 mophie-juice-pack-pro-battery-case-2 mophie-juice-pack-pro-battery-case-3 mophie-juice-pack-pro-battery-case-4 mophie-juice-pack-pro-battery-case-5 [Macrumours] … Read more]]>
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ZAGGfolio Keyboard Case for new iPad in Review – To Type ‘n Protect http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/04/26/zaggfolio-keyboard-case-for-new-ipad-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/04/26/zaggfolio-keyboard-case-for-new-ipad-in-review/#comments Thu, 26 Apr 2012 23:21:53 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=67897 Sometime ago, I’d reviewed a keyboard/case combo from ZAGG – the ZAGGmate – for my iPad 1. Thanks to its slick and slim design, along with the capable bluetooth keyboard, it became a constant companion whenever I traveled with the iPad. The one downside was that the tablet’s back was left exposed to potential drops … Read more]]>

Sometime ago, I’d reviewed a keyboard/case combo from ZAGG – the ZAGGmate – for my iPad 1. Thanks to its slick and slim design, along with the capable bluetooth keyboard, it became a constant companion whenever I traveled with the iPad. The one downside was that the tablet’s back was left exposed to potential drops and falls – a trade-off for its sexy form factor. So as an alternative, ZAGG introduced the ZAGGfolio, a folio-styled case that not only houses a much improved keyboard, but also offers front and rear protection for the iPad when closed.

Seeing how I’d become quite reliant on the ZAGGmate, I was eager to pick up a case with similar functionality for my new iPad. And now that I’ve had 3 weeks of hands-on time with the ZAGGfolio, I’ve once again found myself growing very fond of this combo case, thanks in large part to the drastically improved typing experience offered over its predecessor.

Design and specs

The ZaggFolio is essentially a hard-shell wrapped in either authentic leather ($129) or polyurethane ($99), lined with a soft microfiber lining. The “skin” comes in a variety of colors: 3 for the leather and 7 wide range of colors for the polyurethane. As for the keyboard, you can choose from silver, black or white. One side of the folio case houses the wireless bluetooth keyboard, while the other has room for the iPad to slide into. Here are its official dimensions and weight:

SIZE & WEIGHT

  • Weight: 19 ounces (539 grams)
  • Keyboard only: 11.5 ounces (326 grams)
  • Folio only: 7.5 ounces (213 grams)
  • Length: 9.75 inches (247 mm)
  • Width: 7.625 inches (193 mm)
  • Depth: .9 inches (23 mm)

3" slot that securely holds iPad in place

Installing the iPad is as easy as sliding it into the groove that’s approximately 3 inches deep, and once completely in, you won’t have to worry about your precious tablet accidentally slipping out. When the case is closed, it’s designed so that the screen doesn’t touch the keys on the keyboard, a big plus for those who don’t plan on using a screen protector (like ZAGG’s invisbleShield). The only areas that do come in contact with the Retina display are 3 rubberized protectors strategically placed on the keyboard: two that act as hinge-like cushions at the top and a long horizontal strip found just above the top most row of keys.

Simple latch keeps cover closed

A simple latch mechanism keeps the folio case securely closed. Once snapped properly into place, it does a good job of staying closed, though I have found that at times you have to manually push the latch further in for a complete lock and seal.

The back side of the case is made to fold inward, so when opened, the iPad can rest right into the keyboard’s horizontal docking area. There’s only one viewing angle available, but it’s comfortable for the most part (essentially the same angle as ZAGGmate).

And as you’d expect, the case has all the cutaways precisely made for all the iPad components – dock connector, rear camera, sleep button, headphone jack and bottom right speaker.

ZaggMate meets ZaggFolio

Keyboard Overview and Features

The ZAGGfolio’s keyboard is nearly the same size as that of the ZAGGmate, though it’s been completely redesigned to make better use of the limited real estate. As a result, the keys are all evenly spaced out and even the up/down/left/right arrow keys found at the bottom right corner are identical in layout as the Apple Wireless Keyboard (the same can’t be said with the ZAGGmate). Special function keys are also built in and they work specifically with the iPad. Some of them include “Home”, volume controls, cut/copy/paste and sleep/unlock. Here’s the full list of these handy function keys:

By far, the function key I use most is Home, located at the top left corner of the keyboard. When working on documents/articles, I can quickly exit an app with a single press of the key, or double tap it to bring up the multitasking tray to easily switch between apps – all the while keeping my hands on the keyboard and not having to reach for the actual home button on the iPad.

Zaggfolio with Keyboard removed

Using the ZAGGfolio

The ZAGGfolio is quite versatile, allowing for 3 different ways to make use of the case and keyboard. The first and most obvious is to simply prop the iPad up and into the keyboard’s horizontal groove/slot. This lets users jump right into their work after opening the case. The other way is to remove the keyboard from the case (simply slide it out), while leaving the iPad in its place (the case is designed so that the iPad can still be propped up even without the keyboard). As such, you can now type with the screen further back if you wish, allowing for much more freedom with regards to where the keyboard sits on your working area. Finally, the last method involves removing both the iPad and keyboard from the case and using them in a “standalone” mode. This is great for times when you’d like the option of being able to pick up the iPad (sans case and keyboard) for casual use on the couch or bed, and just as quickly place it back in the keyboard to resume your work.

Keyboard and iPad without hardshell case

The ZAGGfolio can technically be used like any other folio-style case with the keyboard removed, but it’s not something I’d recommend. When closed, the case feels awkward due to the extra space created from the missing keyboard. And when open, there’s no real comfortable way of holding the iPad. To be fair, it was probably never designed nor intended for such use.

One of the highlights of the ZaggFolio is without a doubt its keyboard. Unlike the ZAGGmate (where its keys are bunched up right next to one another), typing with the ZAGGfolio feels like you’re using a quality laptop thanks to its responsive and spacious keys. It’s well made, has a premium feel to it and I’d even go so far as to say that it’s right up there as one of the best portable keyboards I’ve used to date. Needless to say, I’ve found that typing with this bluetooth keyboard is much, much faster (and with significantly less mistakes) than that of the virtual keyboard on the iPad.

Keys more spaciously spread out on Zaggfolio

Battery

The external keyboard comes with a 510 mAh rechargeable lithium polymer battery that’s supposed to last up to several months on a full charge, which is quite impressive. I haven’t had it that long to test out the claim, but I’ve been using the keyboard quite heavily over the past several weeks and have yet to charge it. To help conserve power, there’s an on/off switch so you can completely turn it off whenever it’s not in use. And included is a micro USB cable for charging the keyboard.

Is it for you?

Retailing for $99, the ZAGGfolio isn’t exactly a budget accessory for your iPad. You can buy cases and even individual bluetooth keyboards for much cheaper, though not many come integrated into one package that is as capable and versatile. For those who are constantly on the road and/or use the iPad primarily for work (i.e writing reports and creating spreadsheets), the ZAGGfolio makes for a great travel companion and will undoubtedly give users a boost in productivity. Once you’ve used a keyboard-case combo, it’s quite difficult going back to the ways of carrying both separately (at least for me anyway).

But for iPad users who don’t wish to ditch their Smart Cover/favorite case and aren’t all that concerned with having an all-in-one product, ZAGG also offers the keyboard on its own – the ZAGGkeys SOLO ($69.99). For an extra $10, the ZAGGkeys Flex ($79.99) features a similar but more compact keyboard that includes a nifty keyboard case/stand.

It’s not all perfect of course. There’s only one viewing angle available, the case is basically a hard plastic shell wrapped in a leather or polyurethane skin and there’s no comfortable way of holding the iPad while its in the case for reading/surfing/gaming etc. But these are things I can live with, especially when you consider that it does what it was primarily intended for (typing) very well.

Final Thoughts

As I’d said in my review of the New iPad, I’ve finally been able to leave my MacBook at home when I’m on the road and solely rely on the latest Apple tablet. And to now be able to use it with the ZAGGfolio has made things even easier for me, especially with all the travelling I have to do for my other job. Seeing how I’d come to love the ZAGGmate, I definitely appreciate the fact that the ZAGGfolio protects not just the screen, but the entire iPad as well. With regards to what essentially is its most crucial element, the keyboard is the star of the show. To top it off, the fact that it can be used in a variety of ways should make it even more appealing to those want to get more done on their iPad. If you’re in the market for a bluetooth keyboard for your iPad and want the added convenience of an integrated case, the ZAGGfolio is a fine choice.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Product: ZAGGFolio Keyboard Case for new iPad Manufacturer: ZAGG
Price: $99 (MSRP)
  • All-in-one design makes it easier for travel
  • Keyboard is spacious and responive
  • 3 different ways to use case/keyboard
  • Good battery life
  • Handy function keys on keyboard
  • Case made of plastic and it feels like it, even despite the outer skin
  • No comfortable way to hold iPad for reading/surfing etc. when in its case
  • Only one viewing angle
Purchase Links:

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Gizmon iCa iPhone camera case in Review – Barnack would be proud http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/04/18/gizmon-ica-iphone-camera-case-in-review-barnac-would-be-proud/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/04/18/gizmon-ica-iphone-camera-case-in-review-barnac-would-be-proud/#comments Wed, 18 Apr 2012 15:05:58 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=67615 Steve Jobs (RIP) may have publicly glibbed that the iPhone 4 was “like a beautiful old Leica camera”, but he never saw the Gizmon iCa coming… No one did. And I’m glad. Perfectly succinct designs, such as the iPhone and the iCa, are obvious only after debut. Why is that? As I sip diluted tea … Read more]]>

Steve Jobs (RIP) may have publicly glibbed that the iPhone 4 was “like a beautiful old Leica camera”, but he never saw the Gizmon iCa coming…

No one did. And I’m glad. Perfectly succinct designs, such as the iPhone and the iCa, are obvious only after debut. Why is that? As I sip diluted tea at my dining table and type, scenes from the past two weeks flood over me. These few weeks have seen me skipping, happy, snappy, and experimenting. I’ve found a love for digital photography. Finally.

The prices

  • GIZMON iCA (each color) $65.00
  • GIZMON iCA MILITARY $70.00
  • Fisheye Lens $55.00
  • iCA Pod Tripod $25.00

So it doesn’t come cheap. That it comes at all to the iPhone is an immense joy.

So what is iCa?

Yes, iCa protects the iPhone’s edges with well-moulded plastic. Yes, it puts a personal face onto the ubiquitous slab of silicon, aluminium, and glass. And yes, it starts with a small ‘i’. But it surely isn’t your run-of-the-mill plastic and graphic.

Oh yes, all those ‘yeses’ were in answer to the question I assumed each of you asked: is it a case?

So, it’s a camera?
But let’s forget about that for a moment. The iCa’s iconic exterior isn’t just for show. It’s feature-packed. There’s a wide-angle viewfinder, an easy-to-press shutter button, camera strap loops, a detachable tripod mount, and a real lens mount. Sounds like a camera, doesn’t it? I think of it as one. Currently, Gizmon have only two lenses for their camera -errr… iPhone: a circular fisheye, and a close-up lens. But couple those with the iPhone’s ~28mm 135 format equivalent lens, and you’ve got quite a powerful and fun camera system. That said, I’ve only got the fisheye to test.

At least it’s fun.

It’s nothing more than a magnifying glass tuned for distance focusing, so don’t expect Nikkor optics. Instead, expect fun, crazy vantages, close-ups, a 180º world view; in short, expect great pictures in that bloated, extended, fisheye perspective.

Both the fisheye and close up lens mount into the iCa case via magnetic backs. If you don’t have the case, each comes with mounting hardware for all but the original iPhone. But with a little sticky tack and some luck, you can attach either to your iPod touch, original iPhone, or iPad.

Photographers know that fisheye lenses can get big, heavy, and scratched. Gizmon have combatted each of these issues. Well, maybe Apple started it. The tiny photo sensor in the iPhone is perfect for fisheye photography because an iPhone lens can be the size of a thimble and still produce great images. Of course, resolving all those tiny (and numerous) pixels is tough work, especially for a 60$ optic. But I don’t think work was Gizmon’s aim.

Framing
Half of what I love about the iCa, however, is tied into the viewfinder and realistic shutter button. Attaching lenses for close up and fisheye work means you HAVE to frame your shots like you do with a point-and-shoot digital camera. Just like digital and film cameras that sport tiny viewfinders, you’ll have to be aware of parallax errors. Objects in the distance frame nicely, but the closer you get to them, the more the discrepancy between what the lens sees and what your eye sees grows.

Still, the iCa viewfinder is the bee’s knees.

It’s all about portability
Even packed with accessory lenses and the viewfinder hump, the iCa/iPhone combination remains small and out-of-sight. The fisheye lens disappears in the hand. In its most compact form (with the feaux pancake lens attached), the iCa even slides into skinny-fit jeans.

What encouraged me to whip out the iPhone and shoot is the same wide-angle viewfinder that I blubbered on about above. It’s not a toy. I’ve never gotten used to shooting at arm’s length, staring into dim, reflective LCD’s. The two cameras I use most often, a pristine Canon P, and a well-loved Olympus Trip 35 (stolen from my father-in-law), are natural cameras that keep you focused on your subject, not on a screen, or a menu, or a software shutter button.

The iCa transforms the iPhone into the easier to use of the two: the Olympus Trip. Well, as an iPhone, it does a lot more than the Trip does. The Olympus Trip has two only shutter speeds, requires film, doesn’t focus for you and doesn’t automatically do instragram.

A street camera in disguise
Just like the GoDAP transforms your iPhone into a HiFi listening device, the iCa transforms your iPhone into a street camera. The process, which involves twisting two parts, sliding two others, and snapping one into place, takes about a minute; and, as you snap it all together, the realisation deepens that the iCa ain’t just looks.

No. With a flick of the camera icon on your lock screen, your iPhone disappears. Bring it up to your eye, frame a shot, and press the shutter release. You have your shot in as natural a pose as is possible for a camera. (Yep, that button on the top that looks like a shutter release _is_ a shutter release. The others: film rewind knob, film advance knob, shutter speed dial, etc. are just for show.)

And what a show it is.

Snap-shooting around Akihabara, I practically forgot that I was shooting with a phone. It’s probably because I carry it in two hands like a camera, and squint into the finder like I do into a real camera. While for some, using the iPhone like this may seem quaint, for me, it is freeing.

Since the lenses are so small, changing them in ‘the field’ is easy as pie. (When not in use I deposited the fisheye in my trouser pocket as really who needs a belt or camera bag to stow a thimble?)

   
   

A few tough realities
The iCa isn’t without it’s faults, though. Believe it or not, raising the iPhone to your eye will draw eyes more than holding it out at your elbows. Why, i have no idea. Then of course, the shutter lag that ever plagues the iPhone is still present. The iCa is a boon to iPhone looks and operations. It does’t fix problems inherent in the iPhone camera hardware. Then, there are the tiny camera eye loops. You need cat nipple milking gloves and a watch maker’s dissection kit to attach them. Extreme myopia also helps. Even if you get the iCa attached to a camera strap, you have to get it into your head that your 500$ iPhone is hanging from a bit of plastic. One drop and it’s all over.

The included tripod mount is cute. It doesn’t lock into place. It works, but again, don’t expect it to keep your iPhone safe in wind or even moderate angles. Trust me, with even a little stress, your iPhone will fall. Unless you glue the mount to your iPhone and sandbag the tripod you’ll never be 100% safe.

And of course, just like a rangefinder, for close-up photography, you’ve got to deal with parallax, but even more so as the lens and viewfinder are on exact opposite sides of the camera. Oh well, I think it’s a small price to pay.

The only other problem with the iCa involves texting. It may look like a Leica III, but you can text on it. If you want to be cool on the train or in that camera circle, you’re only cool till you start texting on your Leica. Any camera geek knows that a circa 1935 camera probably didn’t sport a touchscreen keyboard. (Probably metal, antennas, a bunch of glass bubbles, and a whirling radar dish. Then again, I wasn’t alive in 1935, so I can’t be sure of what sort of texting outfits they had then).

But to get back to modern-day texting, the iCa impedes progress. You HAVE to go two hands unless your fingers are as thin as bendable as Twizzlers. The iCa is so much bigger than the regular iPhone. But then again, you knew that didn’t you? You want the viewfinder, better shooting ergonomics, lens mount, and the promise of more to come.

You don’t care about texting. Not really.

Conclusion
Gizmon’s iCa is the most innovative iPhone photography accessory I’ve come across. Its looks put on a show, sure, but in hand, it transforms your clunky iPhone into a classical viewfinder-toting camera. No more squinting against the sun, or hiding from glare, no more shaky shaky from outstretched arms. It’s all there, even in sometimes awful parallax glory, but in a world where digital cropping can fix any framing defect, iCa is king.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

Gizmon iCa Summary
Earphone: GIZMON iCA Maker: GIZMON
Price: $65-70 USD
  • Looks like a Leica III
  • Shoot like a real camera
  • Comfortable and solid in the hand
  • Real lens mount
  • Accessories galore
  • Natural grip blocks iPhone camera
  • Not the best protection for iPhone
gizmon-ica-fracking-fisheye gizmon-ica-glamour gizmon-instagram-1 gizmon-instagram-2 gizmon-instagram-3 gizmon-instagram-4 gizmon-ica-lenses gizmon-ica-viewfinder gizmon-ica-exploded gizmon-ica-accessories gizmon-ica-stand-holdRead more]]>
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iPad survives 100,000 feet fall from outer space http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/01/09/ipad-survives-100000-feet-fall-from-outer-space/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/01/09/ipad-survives-100000-feet-fall-from-outer-space/#comments Mon, 09 Jan 2012 16:26:11 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=63892 No doubt we’ve all worried about accidentally dropping our iPads whilst using it. But rest assured, it’s a whole lot more resistant  to sudden impacts – at least that’s what G-Form wants you to believe. Promoting their  Extreme Edge protector for the iPad, G-Form drops the iTablet from 100,000 feet up to see if the device can … Read more]]>

No doubt we’ve all worried about accidentally dropping our iPads whilst using it. But rest assured, it’s a whole lot more resistant  to sudden impacts – at least that’s what G-Form wants you to believe. Promoting their  Extreme Edge protector for the iPad, G-Form drops the iTablet from 100,000 feet up to see if the device can survive the extreme drop. Surprisingly, the iPad’s still in pretty good shape, and more importantly, it continues to work after the free fall.

[Mashable] … Read more]]>
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TidyTilt, a mini smartcover for your iPhone 4/4S http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/01/03/tidytilt-a-mini-smartcover-for-your-iphone-44s/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/01/03/tidytilt-a-mini-smartcover-for-your-iphone-44s/#comments Tue, 03 Jan 2012 19:50:03 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=63673 The iPhone will soon have its own Smart Cover like its iPad sibling – well, sort of. Brought to you by two design students in Chicago, the TidyTilt is a 3-in-1 Smart Cover look-alike that acts as an earbud cord wrap, multi-position kickstand and mount for the iPhone 4/4S. What it doesn’t do however, is … Read more]]>

The iPhone will soon have its own Smart Cover like its iPad sibling – well, sort of. Brought to you by two design students in Chicago, the TidyTilt is a 3-in-1 Smart Cover look-alike that acts as an earbud cord wrap, multi-position kickstand and mount for the iPhone 4/4S. What it doesn’t do however, is protect your screen or wake up the device upon opening/closing.

Wrap your earbud cords without skipping a beat. TidyTilt is always at hand, since it lives on the back of your iPhone. When you’re done using your earbuds, simply wrap them over your iPhone, snap TidyTilt closed, and pop your earbuds right off. TidyTilt keeps your cords neat and secure, whether in a bag, pocket, or attached to your iPhone.

TidyTilt serves as a stand for iPhone, enabling landscape and portrait orientation at multiple angles – perfect for watching movies, typing, or making video calls. It even does so while simultaneously keeping your earbuds secured. Gaming with a friend? Position Tidytilt at the center of iPhone for a new seesaw-like head-to-head gaming experience.

Thanks to TidyTilt’s strong, strategically-placed magnets, you can tack your earbuds or whole iPhone to any magnetically-responsive surface. Pop iPhone onto your fridge for referencing cooking recipes, stick it to a dry-erase board for brainstorming, or park it on the key-holder by your front door.

Created as a Kickstarter project, the TidyTilt has already raised its goal of $10,000 (currently at $25,045) and there’s still 26 days to go for individuals to make their pledges. For those interested in this rather clever accessory, a pledge of $19 or more will help you secure a TidyTilt (1 of 4 colors), with estimated shipping in Feb, 2012. Check out the video below and see the many ways this semi-smart cover can be used.

[Gizmodo] … Read more]]>
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