TouchMyApps » Accessories 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 Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:40:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.3 The Lapdawg O-Stand – A Versatile iPad stand with 4 flexible legs http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/08/22/lapdawg-o-stand/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/08/22/lapdawg-o-stand/#comments Thu, 22 Aug 2013 16:36:53 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=73011 When it comes to stands for iPads and other tablets, the Lapdawg O-Stand surely has them beat – at least in the name department. Created by Lapdawg, the O-Stand is billed as the “Swiss Army Knife Of iPad Stands”, and there’s little doubt that it’s versatile. Resembling more like a alien from the War of … Read more]]>

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When it comes to stands for iPads and other tablets, the Lapdawg O-Stand surely has them beat – at least in the name department. Created by Lapdawg, the O-Stand is billed as the “Swiss Army Knife Of iPad Stands”, and there’s little doubt that it’s versatile. Resembling more like a alien from the War of the Worlds than a typical gadget stand, it can hold various tablets and e-readers and its 4 removeable flexy legs lets you position your iPad just how you like it.

From a design perspective, the Lapdawg O-Stand certainly is unique. It’s comprised of three main components: a retractable universal arm claw, 4 removeable legs and a center sphere that holds them together.

The arm claw is made of plastic and has a locking mechanism on its back that will allow the top and bottom claws to hold tablets/ereaders from 7“ to 11” in size. That means you can use it with your iPad (1–4), iPad mini, Kindle Fire, Nexus 7 and the Kobo Arc, among many others. Behind the arm claw there is a rotatable ball joint and bendable neck, so the tablet can easily be swiveled and held at the desired angle.

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The O-Stand’s four legs are the main reason why it’s so adaptable to how you prefer to setup your stand. They are 21.5″ each in length (54.6cm), highly flexible and coated with a rubber-like skin. At the end of each leg is a rubber ball end point that works much like JOBY’s GorillaPods, which help the Lapdawg stand latch onto various objects and surfaces. The great thing is that it’s entirely up to you how many legs you want to use – be it just one leg or two or all four. Installation is simple enough: the legs slide into one of four holes at the bottom of the sphere, then tighten the nuts with the included Allen key on the other end.

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As a stand for my iPad and iPad mini, I found the Lapdawg to work well. While on my desk in my home office, I often use to hold up my iPad as a second display next to my iMac. Coupled with Avatron’s popular Air Display app, this setup can come in handy. Reading ebooks on iBooks while lounging on the couch and not having to constantly hold up the iPad by hand is also great. The one thing in particular I do love about using the O-Stand is watching movies when tucked into bed. Thanks to the flexible legs, I can position it over my body and adjust the screen to a comfortable eye level. With a traditional stand, this is something I often found significantly more difficult.

Personally, I prefer using only 2 legs, as I find that it works just as well with a pair and it looks more tidy on a desk. Not to mention that you don’t have to fiddle with all four legs when trying to adjust to a new height or angle.

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Now as much as I like using the O-Stand, there are several drawbacks. For starters, the arm claw has a cheap plastic feel to it. That said, I haven’t actually had any issues with devices being held in place (it’s secure enough), but it just doesn’t feel as solid as the rest of the stand. The other being the way the legs are attached. Say you wish to go from 2 to 4 legs for more support (maybe you want it wrap around a chair or outdoor object ala GorillaPod), well first you have to find the Allen wrench, then screw each one on. This won’t take more than a few minutes, but it’d be so much easier and more convenient if the legs could be attached sans screws and tools. Finally, I wouldn’t recommend doing any serious typing while the stand is in use. Basically because of its more flexible nature, tapping on the screen will cause the iPad/tablet to slightly shake and vibrate.

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The Lapdawg O-Stand is unlike any other iPad stand, be it in design or practicality. Whether it’s in the office, the kitchen, on the couch or bed and even outdoors, it’ll have you covered if you ever need your tablet propped up. The price tag of $79.99 is not exactly cheap, but the stand can be used just about anywhere. It’s also nice knowing that it comes with a lifetime guarantee; so if it’s defective at any point, just contact Lapdawg for a replacement.

Pros:

  • Tablet stand that can be used nearly anywhere
  • Works with most tablets and e-readers (7 – 11 inches)
  • Removeable legs
  • Lifetime guarantee

Cons:

  • Arm Claw doesn’t feel as solid as rest of unit
  • Removing legs requires allan key
  • Typing/tapping on the screen will cause tablet to “bounce”
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Zyroshell: A sleek cradle for Smartphones http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/07/17/zyroshell-cradle-for-the-iphone-and-other-smart-phones/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/07/17/zyroshell-cradle-for-the-iphone-and-other-smart-phones/#comments Wed, 17 Jul 2013 19:44:31 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72852 If you’ve ever gone shopping for a car cradle/holder for your phone, chances are you’ve come across plenty of the same old designs with the arm grip and suction cup. Thankfully, there are those that look way more sleek and stylish – as evidenced by the Zyroshell, which was successfully funded on Kickstarter back in … Read more]]>

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If you’ve ever gone shopping for a car cradle/holder for your phone, chances are you’ve come across plenty of the same old designs with the arm grip and suction cup. Thankfully, there are those that look way more sleek and stylish – as evidenced by the Zyroshell, which was successfully funded on Kickstarter back in October of 2012. Made out of aluminum, the MacBook-inspired Zyroshell can be used just about anywhere, be it your car, office desk or home.

Based on a minimalistic (yet highly attractive) design, the Zyroshell complements a MacBook or iMac nicely with its anodized aluminum body. Essentially built like a flip open stand, the cradle is able to tilt 180 degrees, and even rotates 360 degrees. Beneath the circular dust cap found on the front is an equally large gel pad that is strong enough to hold an iPhone or Smartphone. Using non-adhesive sticky technology, the gel pad is reusable and washable with water and soap.

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The Zyroshell also comes with a separate “baseplate”, which is a larger gel pad with a magnet attached to it. Once the baseplate has been applied to the desired spot (windshield, dashboard or desk), the Zyroshell can then be placed right above it, and the magnets will securely click it in place. It is this action that allows the cradle to rotate 360 degrees, as the magnet and bottom cutout are both circular.

Throughout the past several weeks, I’ve really come to enjoy using the Zyroshell, particularly on my home office desk beside my iMac. The generous 10 viewing angles is great and the gel pads have held my iPhone 5 in place – even when I’m driving. Once stuck on properly, I haven’t had my phone inadvertently fall off. To be on the safe side, you’ll want to push your phone firmly against the gel pad and hold it there for a second or two, otherwise it might not give it a real strong grip.

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What I’ve ended up doing is leaving the the base gel pad in the car, as I’ve found that the Zyroshell works perfectly well without it on my desk. Sure I don’t get to spin it around, but it’s just as easy to reposition the base however you see fit. And when I need to get in my car to drive somewhere, I simply bring my iPhone 5/Zyroshell and plop it onto the gel pad’s magnet on my windshield.

Even smaller tablets work with the stand. I’ve tested it with my iPad mini and the gel pad can hold it up just fine either horizontally or vertically. As for bigger tablets, I’ve tried it with the original iPad and that is just too heavy for the hinge to stay up.

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The weakest link to the whole Zyroshell equation is the actual baseplate. The issue I have is that the magnet is attached to the gel pad via an adhesive tape of sorts; it just doesn’t seem all that secure in the long run. The other thing I’ve noticed is that the base gel pad doesn’t stick as well to my dashboard as other surfaces. This could be due to the fact that I’d waxed it before, but after scrubbing it down with some soup/water, it still doesn’t stick like it does on glass or a desk. Even so, depending on your vehicle there are still several other locations the cradle itself can go (with or without the baseplate), like on the windshield, tucked into the top of the visor or on the console area near the gear shift. A word of caution though: the combination of the aluminum and sun during a really hot day will heat up your phone and Zyroshell quite a bit. So it’s probably advisable to keep it out of the sun when it’s crazy hot.

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The Zyroshell is certainly one of the sexier and more versatile cradles out there for the iPhone. The fact that you can use it either at home/the office or in the car is an added bonus. It is also worth noting that the unit I received is among a new batch that have been improved with bigger gel pads and baseplates that provide more grip.

It’s available in both matte silver or black for $39.95 and can be purchased directly from the Zyroshell website.

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New MirrorCase for iPad Launches on Kickstarter, Provides More Usability http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/05/09/new-mirrorcase-for-ipad-launches-on-kickstarter-provides-more-usability/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/05/09/new-mirrorcase-for-ipad-launches-on-kickstarter-provides-more-usability/#comments Thu, 09 May 2013 17:00:44 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72604 Last week MirrorCase announced its iPad case on Kickstarter with a splash, raising about 75 percent of their goal in the project’s first week. Already available for iPhone 4, the MirrorCase case design uses a high-quality mirror to reflect back any image that is in front of the device, allowing users to capture images and video from … Read more]]>

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Last week MirrorCase announced its iPad case on Kickstarter with a splash, raising about 75 percent of their goal in the project’s first week. Already available for iPhone 4, the MirrorCase case design uses a high-quality mirror to reflect back any image that is in front of the device, allowing users to capture images and video from a more natural angle.

Features for the new MirrorCase for iPad include an adjustable mirror protected by Gorilla® Glass with an anti-reflective coating, Smart lid, kickstand, acoustic port and stylus storage. Use MirrorCase for iPad in conjunction with the free MirrorCase app, which flips and inverts the image so it appears correctly on your screen. The corrected media is then saved directly to the iPad Camera Roll.

MirrorCase - iPad raised

“We originally created the MirrorCase to help eliminate what we coined as ‘Phone Face,’ says John Palmeri, President and CEO of MirrorCase creator RHPMM. “Having your iPhone cover your face when taking videos and pictures ruins the moment. It’s even more awkward to take photos and video with an iPad, so we knew having a MirrorCase for the larger device would be a must.”

With its new features, the iPad MirrorCase is perfect for recording meetings, lectures or interviews, as well as protecting your device and using your iPad at a more comfortable angle for reading and typing.

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The MirrorCase for iPad on Kickstarter will help fund a second version of the app, which will include the ability to simultaneously record video and take notes, share notes with other users, convert files, Dropbox and email integration, etc.

MirrorCase for iPad is available now for pre-order, shipping in early 2013, with an MSRP of $79.95. To learn more about this nifty iPad case, pre-orders, or other MirrorCase products, visit www.MirrorCase.com.

The full press release can be found here.

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Forza Audio Works Cables – An Introduction http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/05/08/forza-audio-works-cables-an-introduction/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/05/08/forza-audio-works-cables-an-introduction/#comments Wed, 08 May 2013 13:59:05 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=72556 Forza Audio Works is an up and coming cable manufacturer whose hardware is second to none. Forza has workmanship and quality control licked. Matthew, the man behind the brand is hard at work making pretty much every cable you would want. Bespoke No matter how formidable the catalogue, no manufacturer has everything. Matthew welcomes emails … Read more]]>

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Forza Audio Works is an up and coming cable manufacturer whose hardware is second to none. Forza has workmanship and quality control licked. Matthew, the man behind the brand is hard at work making pretty much every cable you would want.

Bespoke
No matter how formidable the catalogue, no manufacturer has everything. Matthew welcomes emails and in no time will get you hooked up with what you need. You can specify your device, cable length, build materials, connector, and on and on. As long as you can dream it, chances are that Matthew can build it. Of course, the more outlandish you get, the more your little monster will set you back. Once in the hand, I don’t think you’ll mind. Not at all.

Matthew’s cables are made to withstand the tug of war your portable gear will be subjected to. They have ample anchoring inside and outside, each one is wrapped in shrink wrap and melted into place. Forza has a penchant for Neutrik, Switchcraft, and Furutech connectors so compatibility is always top notch. His RCA cables can also be made in 1877phono flavours, too. 1877phone parts are not quite as robust, but a little easier to tweak as parts loosen up over time.
Contrary to stoic Neutrik, 1877phono cables also look fab.

Soft Spoke
Matthew is a gentleman through and through. He carefully approaches his customers from a needs basis, making sure first and foremost that they and he are on the same page. I discovered Forza through a local headfi meet last year and immediately ordered a slew of cables. Matthew made sure that what I wanted was what he provided. And provide he did.

I listen to music in a variety of locations. When out and about, I tend to drop the amp in favour of portability. Matthew makes a variety of super small LOD cables that will help keep things in your pocket. His L-Shaped LOD with Neutrik connector is one of the best I’ve seen. Matthew isn’t interested in mere looks, though: he made sure it was angled correctly and would fit my amps.

He is also very excited about his new webpage (to be honest, so am I). He does all his own photos and modelling. His website is beautiful. Go ahead, peruse, and give him a shout.

iDevice and Beyond
Currently, Forza specialises in iDevice cables, headphone recabling, digital cables, and a host of interconnects. They make cables for everything, including Apples newest devices. (Now, I don’t for a moment believe that they are Apple approved, and I’d be buggered if they were; Forza is a one-man outfit, not a marketing behemoth.)

Below is Forza’s lightning LOD. I’ll be testing it in the next few weeks.

FAW-lightning

One area I’d love to see Forza enter is IEM cables. FitEar, Jerry Harvey, Westone and the rest of them have some good options already, but truly flexible, light aftermarket cables that are well made and sound good, are still hard to find.

The Marque
Forza’s unique braiding is as much their marque as is Matthew’s excellent product photography. Whether you purchase Claire or Copper, braiding is prominent. If not braiding, it is tightly fit flex cloth.

In the pretty world, Forza outdo any boutique cable in the same price category. That, and transparent marketing is what stands out most about Forza.

Claire
I’m not sure who she is, but Matthew has a thing for her. The cables I ordered are all Claire. Claire is massively braided and complex. She looks like an art-nouveau rendition of the Golden Gate Bridge. Her less expensive sibling, Copper, is more traditional and cute. After having extensively testing Claire, I’m pretty well sold on her.

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Performance
Firstly, if you are looking to get the most performance from an iDevice, splitting the signal into an RCA is key. You will get better stereo performance from your device and very slightly less distortion. However, the line out on the iDevice while being good, isn’t great, no matter what cable you put up to it.

Tested back to back vs. ALO or Twisted Cables (my current benchmark), Forza’s cables perform in exactly the same league. Twisted Cables have at times outperformed their rivals in stereo separation, but Forza’s works are their equals in every respect. One thing that is certain: Forza’s products will not bottleneck your audio performance. They are transparent and present very little stress on your gear’s output circuitry.

Here is Forza Audio Works’ primary performance competitor, a great-sounding product from Twisted Cables.

Twisted-Cables

Ergonomics
If you are at home, ergonomics isn’t a big consideration, but for portable use, it is. One area where Twisted Cables stand head and shoulders above ALO is in the suppleness of their cables. They can twist and grind into any pocket or fit any large or small amp. Forza cables are only mildly less ergonomic. They don’t bend or stretch quite as well (due to the braid design) but they can be made to fit any portable quite easily.

Reservations
While I have no reservations regarding Forza’s Cables, I do have this warning: any sort of braided cable will have more stress exerted on its connection parts than non-braided cables. Most high-end cables employ some sort of braiding. Braiding can help attain better stereo separation, but it needs to be handled with more care. So far, Forza’s works have been robust, but they won’t survive a war zone of constant twisting and grinding. In particular, small L-shaped micro LODs need to handled with care. My Twisted Cables micro LOD broke after half a year. The Forza is still going strong, but I don’t have faith that it will last forever.

Against other high-end braided/twisted offerings, Forza stand tall. Against cheap, massively lugged cables, however, they will probably piddle out first.
Forza offer a 2-year manufacturer’s guarantee on their products. If something goes wrong on the Forza side, you’re covered. That’s great for peace of mind.

Conclusion
Forza enter the market just as Apple’s connectors are changing shapes. Forza also make a lightning cable, but I’m still testing it. However, their traditional 30 pin cables and interconnects are smashing beauties that hold their own at their price points and represent a manufacturer dedicated to quality in every respect. From the first customer interaction to receipt of the final product, Matthew is a gentleman. His products, finely tuned, wonderfully designed, and laid out on his web site like a pro, speak for themselves.

Pros
Strong, well-made cables
Excellent performance
Great customer service
Choices galore

Cons
Braiding isn’t quite as strong as tubular cable

Here’s what Forza’s stuff looks like in use:

ALO-Pan-AM-forza-alo

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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.

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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.

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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)

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Mauz to turn your iPhone into a wireless motion and visual gesture controller http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/01/08/mauz-to-turn-your-iphone-into-a-wireless-motion-and-visual-gesture-controller/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2013/01/08/mauz-to-turn-your-iphone-into-a-wireless-motion-and-visual-gesture-controller/#comments Tue, 08 Jan 2013 21:54:14 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=71642 There are quite a few excellent apps that’ll turn your iPhone into a wireless mouse for your Mac/PC (Mobile Mouse being one of them), but one company is looking to drastically improve upon the experience with a tiny peripheral called the Mauz. Combined with a dedicated app, the Mauz (the first of its kind in … Read more]]>

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There are quite a few excellent apps that’ll turn your iPhone into a wireless mouse for your Mac/PC (Mobile Mouse being one of them), but one company is looking to drastically improve upon the experience with a tiny peripheral called the Mauz. Combined with a dedicated app, the Mauz (the first of its kind in the ‘appcessory’ world) essentially will turn your iPhone into a motion and visual gesture controlled wireless mouse.

MAUZ is a smartphone enabled pointing device that allows you to control computers around you using your phone, gestures and visual cues…

MAUZ allows users to control computers and media centers with a kinetic three dimensional computer mouse – connected to one’s smartphone. MAUZ app will support interaction with programs using motion and visual gestures. On the leading edge of Human Interface Device (HID) innovation, MAUZ offers advanced features and simplicity of use. The MAUZ app automatically pops-up once the user plugs the device to the smartphone, prompting control of computer, media center, etc.

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Once connected to your computer via Wifi (the free app and desktop software are required), you can simply use your iPhone as a regular mouse, or tilt the phone and the app will change the mouse into a touchpad interface. Then there’s control using motion gestures. For example:

  • 3D Navigation – Works similar to a Wii controller for your computer – just move the phone around to rotate your design work / flight simulator / whatever else…
  • Program gestures to fit your need – World of Warcraft enthusiast? Slay that dragon with a swish of your MAUZ; an avid PowerPoint user? Create a gesture to align objects to the left; devoted web surfer? Create a gesture to move back and forward between your pages – Whatever your poison is… create a gesture for it.

Most promising of all will be its ability for visual gestures, which Spicebox is comparing to the technology seen in the 2002 movie Minority Report.

MAUZ is changing the game or at least the way we play games, watch TV shows, control computers and listen to music… with a simple hand movement you can do so much. MAUZ responds to how your hand moves above the phone’s camera, if you have to align objects to the left just signal to the left and if you want to zoom in/out or pan the earth in Google Earth simply move your hand back/front and sideways to see that ball rolling!

The MAUZ visual gestures are pre-programmed to interact with different computer applications.  A swish of the hand to the right can mean the next song on your playlist or change the color of an object in Photoshop. You can also customize them to your own needs.

Today, Spicebox launched the Mauz Kickstarter campaign in hopes of raising $150,000 to bring the prototype to market in June. As an “Early Adopter Special”, $45 will net you a brand new Mauz for either the iPhone 4/4S (estimated delivery of June 2013) or iPhone 5 (Aug 2013 delivery), along with a MiniBag to carry on your Mauz on a key-chain. And for a pledge of $270, you’ll not only get a new Mauz in June/Aug, but you’ll even get to beta test a prototype (in March) and its accompanying app.

It’s hard to say for how well the Mauz will actually work, but if it does deliver on what it’s promised, it could well change the way we use the iPhone to interact with our PCs and Macs at home and in the work place. If you’re interested in making a pledge for the Mauz, you’ll have exactly 58 days to do so. Once the early bird specials are gone, they’ll go for $59, with a planned retail price of $69 when finally released.

Press Release

PALO ALTO, California (January 8, 2013) – Mauz (www.mauzup.com), the only appcessory to turn the iPhone into a motion and visual gesture controlled wireless, optical mouse, launched today a Kickstarter campaign for $150,000 to mass produce the prototype for market by June, 2013.

Developed by Spicebox, LLC to replace the standard wireless computer mouse and become the first commercially available, next-generation Human Interface Device (HID) for the massive, untapped market of smartphone enabled HIDs, Mauz (rhymes with How’s) is simple to use and full of advanced features.  Simply plug Mauz into an iPhone, quickly download the free app and desktop software the first time to pair it, and users are able to automatically control their computers via WiFi with Minority Report-like visual and motion gestures.  Mauz’s visual gestures are powered by Nanogest, the leading touch-free gesture recognition software for iOS and Android.

Through its open SDK, developers can create sets of pre-defined “z axis”/3D gestures (rotating, flicking wrist while holding iPhone), visual gestures (hand swipes in front of iPhone’s front-facing camera) and shortkeys for their desktop software, empowering users with quick, 3D controls for gaming, creative work, entertainment center commands, and other programs.  Developers can choose to lock certain gestures and shortkeys, making them available to users through in-app purchases.  For programs without custom developer packages, users can customize visual & motion gestures and shortkeys with existing control-key shortcuts.

“The wireless mouse was a great improvement over corded versions.  But it’s become old fashioned; technologies like Wii and Kinect have led us to expect the greater freedom of controlling software through motion and visual gestures,” said Gilad Meiri, CEO of Mauz’s manufacturer Spicebox LLC.  “From hovering your hand over your phone to raise the volume; to rotating your wrist – iPhone in hand – to 3D rotate objects in graphic design software; to holding your phone and flicking your wrist left or right to rewind or advance the next PowerPoint slide, Mauz’s gesture controls feel like an extension of you.  They’re as much about instinct as they are intuitiveness.”

To demonstrate its functionality, the Mauz team has developed custom packages of gesture controls and shortkeys for five popular programs:

  • Photoshop – Slide hand forward/back above iPhone to move forward/back in a project’s edit history; zoom in/out by holding iPhone and raising/lowering hand; hold iPhone and tilt hand back to copy, forward to paste.
  • Google TV – Demonstrating how Mauz gives developers the ability to create an entirely custom user interface, when Mauz wirelessly accesses GoogleTV or any other media center software on a computer and iPhone is picked up, Mauz changes iPhone’s screen into a feature-rich remote control.  Raise/lower volume by raising/lowering hand above iPhone, change channels by waving hand left/right above iPhone – or by holding iPhone and flicking wrist left/right; flick iPhone forward to play media, back to stop.
  • PowerPoint – Two ways to start/stop presentations: hold and shake iPhone to start, shake again to stop; or, wave hand back-and-forth above iPhone once to start, again to stop; Two ways to change slides: hold iPhone and flick wrist forward for next slide, back for previous; or, wave hand above iPhone – right to advance to next slide, left to return to previous.
  • Adobe Reader – Two ways to turn pages: hold iPhone and flick wrist forward for next page, back for previous; or, wave hand above iPhone – right to turn page forward, left to turn back.
  • Blender 3D – Hold iPhone and rotate wrist to rotate 3D object on computer screen; zoom in/out on screen’s 3D image by sliding hand forward/back above iPhone; hold iPhone and tilt forward/back to scale screen’s image down/up.

These custom packages have been designed for the Mauz prototype, and may not be part of the final product when it launches in June 2013.  Predefined gestures and shortkeys confirmed for Mauz’s launch include Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer browsers, as well as the full Microsoft Office Suite.  At launch, Mauz will work with iPhone 4 and 4s; plans to include iPhone 5 are already in development, and an Android version is expected later.

The Mauz team is giving live demos of the prototype from the floor of this year’s CES and Macworld.  Contact us to schedule a 1-on-1 demo, watch the introductory video at www.mauzup.com , or invest in the Kickstarter campaign athttp://kck.st/UBNfMA, and experience why the future of wireless computer control with undreamed of functionality is an already-ubiquitous, universal remote – otherwise known as your smartphone.

 

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Snappgrip turns your iPhone into a point and shoot camera http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/12/19/snappgrip-turns-your-iphone-into-a-real-point-and-shoot-camera/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/12/19/snappgrip-turns-your-iphone-into-a-real-point-and-shoot-camera/#comments Wed, 19 Dec 2012 22:26:59 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=71455 The Gizmon iCa iPhone camera case is downright awesome. But what if you want a more hefty grip so that your iPhone literally feels more like a real digital point and shoot camera? Enter the Snappgrip, a cool bluetooth enabled case/controller that just started its Kickstarter campaign moments ago. snappgrip provides camera controls for smartphones. The snappgrip controller mounts … Read more]]>

snappgrip-iphone-1

The Gizmon iCa iPhone camera case is downright awesome. But what if you want a more hefty grip so that your iPhone literally feels more like a real digital point and shoot camera? Enter the Snappgrip, a cool bluetooth enabled case/controller that just started its Kickstarter campaign moments ago.

snappgrip provides camera controls for smartphones. The snappgrip controller mounts to a protective phone case so that you can conveniently attach it when you want to use your handset for some serious photography.

Available for the iPhone 4/5 and Samsung Galaxy S3, the bluetooth controller works in unison with a dedicated iOS and Android app so you can take photos with the shutter button, choose from various shooting modes and zoom in/out. More specifically, the Snappgrip controller provides real shooting controls such as:

  • Shutter Function: Full press to take picture, half press to focus
  • Shooting Mode: Portrait, landscape, flash and video
  • Zoom Function: Zoom in for close ups or zoom out for wide shots

And additional features include:

  • An iPhone 4, iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy S3-specific case to which the Snappgrip controller is easily attached or removed
  • A tripod mounting point at the base of the controller
  • A power switch and a micro USB connector for easy recharging with any standard USB/micro-USB cable
  • An internal lithium ion battery that will last up to 60 hours on standby

Judging by the intro video and screenshots, the Snappgrip looks quite promising, especially if the idea of being able to comfortably hold your iPhone for everyday photography sounds enticing. Since this Kickstart campaign just went underway, there are still plenty of early bird specials available. For £19 (~$30US), you’ll get the full Snappgrip package, which includes the case and controller (there are only 100 of these pledges up for grabs). Once that’s gone, you can still secure yours for £29 (500 slots). The Snappgrip is expected to be released in February 2013 for around £69. There are still 39 days to go for the team to meet its goal of £18,000 in funding.

Check out the video below and head over to the Kickstart page for the complete details.

snappgrip-iphone-1 snappgrip-iphone-4 snappgrip-iphone-3 snappgrip-iphone-2

Specifications

  • Works with: iPhone 4, iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3
  • App available for iOS and Android
  • Colours: Silver/Black, Silver/White/Brown, limited edition gold plated Kickstarter edition
  • Phone case with removable camera controller. Wriststrap loop.
  • App connectivity: Bluetooth
  • Tripod Mount: Universal 1/4” thread; compatible with all standard tripods
  • Power: micro USB for charging. ~60 hours standby.

Production & Launch

We have a beautiful working prototype and we’re encouraged by the feedback from people we speak to. This Kickstarter campaign is our opportunity to finesse the product before production and of course get that funding boost that can fast-track our production.

Once we’re funded we will be able to quickly manufacture the first snappgripbatch and ship them to our project backers. We are fortunate that we have good connections with proven manufacturing facilities in the far east allowing us to quickly manage production, QA and shipping without learning these processes along the way. If you check our team biography below you’ll see that we’ve been involved with consumer electronics design, manufacturing and distribution for a while so although the unexpected will always find ways to trip you up, if this funding programme is successful, we will be repeating processes that we’ve undertaken at other times in our careers.

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iBasso DX100 Reference DAP in Review – Android to the rescue! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/12/10/ibasso-dx100-reference-dap-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/12/10/ibasso-dx100-reference-dap-in-review/#comments Mon, 10 Dec 2012 07:14:58 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=71267 Truly audiophiling an iPod touch is no mean feat. It takes no less than a Cypher Labs AlgoRhthym Solo DAC, and a Vorzüge or ALO Rx class headphone amp. Throw in some shielded interconnects and your’re done. But at what cost? The once slim touch is now a knobby and unholy hamburger of aluminium and … Read more]]>

Truly audiophiling an iPod touch is no mean feat. It takes no less than a Cypher Labs AlgoRhthym Solo DAC, and a Vorzüge or ALO Rx class headphone amp. Throw in some shielded interconnects and your’re done. But at what cost? The once slim touch is now a knobby and unholy hamburger of aluminium and winking LEDs. Personally, I’m tired of ordering sides with the main meal. The iBasso DX100 is a single-box solution that will outperform most if not all audio stacks without sacrificing much of what makes the iPod touch worthwhile.

And how pray tell were iBasso, an amplifier maker, able to retain most of what makes the iPod touch worthwhile? Android.

Specifications
Power Source:Built-in 2000mAh 8.4V Li-polymer Battery pack or external power
supply
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz +0.1/-0.25dB
Signal to Noise Ratio:-116dB
Crosstalk: 1KHz0dB > -100dB, 20KHz odB = -82dB
THD+N: 0.002%
IMD: 0.0034%
Gain and Output Power: 0dB=2V rms (125mW/32ohm)
+3dB = 2.8V rms (245mW/32ohm)
+8.5dB = 5.0V rms (83mW/300ohm)
Battery Life: 72Hours (stand-by) or 7Hours (play music)
Battery Charge Time: 4Hours
External Power supply: 12V DC
Recommended Headphone Impedance: 8~600Ω
Dimension: 2.83W x 4.65L x 0.93H (inch)
71.8W x 118L x 27.5H (mm)
Weight: 265g or 9.3oz

Main Features
- Android2.3 OS With Custom Audio Player Software
- Support up to 24Bit/192kHz Bit for Bit Decoding
- ES9018 32Bit DAC Chip
- Built-in +/-8.5V Headphone AMP
- 3.75″ Capacitive Touch Screen
- Up to 24Bit/192 Optical/Mini Coaxial Output
- 3.5mm Headphone Output, 6.3mm Headphone Output, and Line Out
- 256-Steps Digital Volume Control
- 64G Onboard Flash
- Support up to 32G External MicroSD
- 3-Setting Gain Switch
- SRC Function
- Slow Roll-off/ Sharp Roll-off Digital Filter
- Support Wifi, Bluetooth
- Solid Case Made of Magnesium Alloy and Aluminum Alloy
- Audio Formats Supported: APE, FLAC, WAV, WMA, AAC, ALAC, OGG, MP3
- Come With Micro USB Cable, Coaxial Cable, and AC Adapter
- One Year Warranty and Ten Years Free Labour

Manufacturer: iBasso
Product: iBasso DX100 Reference DAP
Price: 829$ USD

All about the DX100 at Headfi
Headfi hosts a wonderful FAQ for all potential and current DX100 owners. I recommend perusing it in order to enjoy your purchase to the utmost. 

iBasso-DX100-analogue-outs iBasso-DX100-box iBasso-DX100-close-up iBasso-DX100-in-box iBasso-DX100-iPhone iBasso-DX100-reference DAP iBasso-DX100-side

What’s in a DAC?
The DX100 sports what is the most hi-tech portable DAC. The ES9018 32bit DAC is a home-grade DAC. It’s mated to iBasso’s logic board and fed enough current to remain stable no matter the output load. Some pundits believe iBasso could have dealt with power fluctuations a bit better, but in the grand scheme of things, there isn’t a better DAC implementation among mass produced portable audio players.

Whether or not you think the ES9018 is overkill is up to you. iBasso’s inclusion of it – in a portable machine – is laudable. For 16 bit audio, its performance is topped by Cypher Labs’ CLAS. However, so few portable amplifiers even come close to the DX100’s output performance that the gains made by connecting your iDevice to an outboard DAC are moot.

UPDATE: I’ve been reminded that in order to get bit-for-bit output from the ES9018, you must use iBasso’s Music app, which as you will see, is sort of a shame.

Android 2,3
Considering that until very recently, Android 2,3 was on the majority of new Android devices, the DX100’s operating system isn’t exactly mouldy. Most apps run on 2,3 without hitch, though there are restrictions here and there – at least regarding the DX100.

First up is music apps. Several goodies including Songbird and Poweramp run, but with some issues. Both are leagues better than the stock Music app. The stock app is slow, lacks browse options and has only rudimentary playlist support. Gapless files have gaps, and the DX100‘s screen pops on and off at will, rendering every accidental nudge an input of some sort – often changing tracks, volume, or playlists.

But, what the DX100’s Music app lacks in polish, it makes up for in format support. Music app should have no problem with your library. In fact, out-of-box, the DX100 supports Apple’s proprietary lossless AAC encoder, ALAC, as well as the modern industry standard, AAC. in addition to the regulars. Naturally, it plays FLAC, OGG Vorbis, APE, MP3 and WAV. Next to the Colorfly C4‘s dictatorial list of supported files, format support offered by the DX100 is refreshingly progressive.

Music’s interface is pretty stark: play/pause, forward and reverse keys fall in below album previews and playlist controls. Scrobbling requires you to drag your finger over the playback indicator. Nothing indicates it is possible; I can picture some owners never dragging along the playback timeline, rather scrobbling by holding down the forward/reverse buttons. Labelling isn’t obviously a strong point for the DX100. But then again, the obviousness with which the iPod/Music app runs is hardly standard among audio players – even players designed for audiophiles.

UPDATED: My first recommendation is to download Songbird or Poweramp and forget the stock Music app – at least for overall utility. As stated above, bit perfect decoding is only possible via iBasso’s Musica app.

Gaming
You can game on the DX100. Its internals aren’t the stuff of 3D dreams, but simple apps work. The mother of them all, Exult, the Ultima 7 reverse engine, eludes me. If I could get that to play, damn. Damn that would be good.

I’d expect it to drain the battery in no time flat, though.

Touch Screen
Like the iPod touch, it is capacitive, and generally, responsive. iBasso ship it with a thin screen protector that should keep most minor scratches away, but both it, and the screen, are made of softer, mark-friendly materials. The screen itself scratches easily and being thin, the protector isn’t completely up to the task of protecting the screen.

Unlike the iPod touch screen, the pixel layer sits way below the touch panel. Distance obfuscates the immediacy of interaction between finger and pixel. It’s understandable, however: the iPod touch has been around since 2007 and gone through five iterations, each better than the last. The DX100 is a first-generation device made with the precise goal of sounding as good as possible. Ostensibly, the customer for the DX100 is quite different to the iPod touch customer. The DX100 customer is after power, not polish. She wants the best sound, top quality outputs, and even better codec support. She is first an audiophile, a consumer second.

In that light, the DX100 screen is forgivable. But, in direct comparisons, it does no service to itself. In particular, its low resolution is heady with memories of 2008. Viewing angles, colour quality, and contrast, are much lower than the iPod touch. The average iPod touch customer would take one look at the DX100 price tag and pish paw the screen and size.

Size
At first blush, iBasso’s player is massive. But, when juxtaposed with iPod audio rigs, it is much more wieldy. Remember, no cables are necessary. The only other audio equipment I’ve come across that does that trick is the MyST 1866, a well-meaning amp that has its own host of issues.

If you’re a hot-rodding audiophile who wants the absolute best, you will forgo the iPod’s internal DAC and add a CLAS. Plus an amp. Compared such a rig, the DX100 is tiny and elegant. Battery life between the two options isn’t too different. When it comes time to charge, you need only charge one device, not three.

When viewed in its proper context as an audio stack replacement, the DX100 has many size advantages.

Ease of use
For the most part, the DX100 is self-explanatory. Power goes on with a push of the power button. Hold it down for a few seconds to bring up the power off dialogue. Volume goes up and down via the rocker, and headphones are plugged into the corresponding 3,5mm or 6,3mm ports. Charging requires the use of the external power brick. The transfer of files requires a micro USB cable, or a micro SD card.

I’m not electrical engineer, so take this criticism with a grain of salt, but I wish the micro USB port could be replaced with the more common mini USB variant. In my house, there is only one micro USB cable, while I’ve got about six mini USB cables wriggling here and there. It’s scary. Lose that sucker and well, I’d have to go out and buy a new one. There’s enough room, so why didn’t iBasso utilise the more common connection?

Apart from that minor concern, the DX100 well designed. Firstly, it’s got Android under the bonnet. That means apps. It means books. It means movies. It means that truly, the DX100 is an iPod touch replacement. Competitors from Colorfly and Hifiman don’t offer such accoutrements.

Now, Android 2,3 isn’t exactly a new school release, and it isn’t as polished as the likes of jelly bean. But it gets the job done – certainly the job an audiophile wants. It plays music wonderfully. The major difficulty is that the processor isn’t being used brilliantly; that, or it isn’t powerful enough for Android 2,3. Things are slow. Booting up takes minutes, not seconds. Changing from playback to home and back again lags. Scrolling through albums, songs, playlists, etc., is laborious. Even with Go Launcher EX installed, it’s a dog.

There’s no cushy way to say it: the iBasso DX100 is infuriatingly slow.

Ergonomics
Having played with many an iPod/amp combo in my tenure among the internet’s audiofoolery, I can say unequivocally: the DX100 trumps all iPod (or other player) and amp combinations. That is, full-size portable headphone amps like the above-mentioned Vorzüge and ALO Rx. The DX100’s biggest trump card is that its built-in amp and DAC are good enough not to necessitate external components.

Thus, no cables. It’s your headphones and the DX100. Plug and play. And Go. Single box solutions such as this mean one-handed operation. There’s no fiddling with volume pots and different output ports. iBasso didn’t pull any stupid tricks. There’s a volume rocker on the right hand side. It’s digital, so volume is balanced down to he zero setting. Digital connections and the charging port are cleanly arrayed on the top edge of the device, headphone and line outputs along the bottom.

The gain switch, which features three selectable positions, is on the bottom right edge. It stays out of the way and isn’t easily bumped. As large as it is and considering that it wasn’t made by Apple, it is a study in careful design.

In/Out Ports
As far as I’m concerned iBasso threw in the kitchen sink. The DX100 sports three quality 3,5mm outputs: coaxial, optical, and line. Line is very close to true line-level. Strangely, its output levels are controlled via the volume rocker. The good news is that because true line-level outputs can overrun weak input circuits of some sources, the variable volume line output of the DX100 plays well with just about every external amplifier.

On the digital end, both coaxial and optical connections come in portable flavour. Optical mini to toslink cables will get you up and moving with the majority of optical-sporting home DACs, while a stereo or mono 3,5 to RCA coaxial cable will get you up and running with everything else. The great news about 3,5mm coaxial is that you can connect lowly analogue cables and still get a digital signal out. True, over distance, you may lose signal quality; and if your cable isn’t shielded, you may get noise. A well-grounded analogue cable of a couple centimetres in length is all you really need to play nice with external portable DACs.

Probably in the next few years, optical outputs will go the way of the dodo. Coax is so much more stable. It is freer of electronic noise, and its connectors are readily found and easy to build yourself.

Apart from the full-size 6,3mm phone port along the bottom left edge of the DX100, all other outputs are ringed in plastic. While that sounds ‘cheap’, the good news is that grounding issues should be nil. The 6,3 jack, too, is sleeved by a plastic ring. Insulation is important, especially in areas that don’t use grounded power supplies. The DX100’s excellent ports alone are not enough to obviate ground loop issues, but they go a long way in eliminating possible annoyances.

The only issue with plastic ports is that they are more susceptible to internal/external damage. Had iBasso dressed each port in an insulated metal ring, I’d feel better. They didn’t and the reasons are understandable.

Battery life and heat
No audiophile player on the planet boasts good battery life. No, HiSound players don’t count. Colorfly’s C4 gets up to 8 hours of life, Hifiman players get up to 9. The DX100 does about the same. Hook up the audiophile essentials to your iPod/iPhone and you’ll achieve no better battery life. Dosh isn’t the only thing you part with for a the pristine audio afforded by players such as the DX100. Battery life is simply something you give up.

With 7-8 hours of playback, the DX100 does well. This audiophile would gladly give up the clunky Android interface for a home-brew OS if it meant better battery life. I’d also be happy for the DX100 to be rid of its touch screen. The other currency you exchange for the DX100’s high performance and sound quality is heat dissipation.

Heat isn’t an issue per se, but when under stress, the DX100 radiates as much heat as a high end portable amplifier. Think ALO Continental. On a warm day, it’s a mini boiler in your pocket. On a cold day, it’s something you want to fit in your mitt – unfortunately, it’s too large to be squeezed into all but Goliath’s gloves.

Sound – The Excellent Volume Circuit
Hidden in the spec is something that should perk the ears of many earphone enthusiasts: a 256 step volume control. Volume increments exponentially. At a volume level of 1, the level of increase mostly undetectable until in the teens. This means that owners of notoriously sensitive earphones such as Shure’s SE530 will have no volume issues at any level. On the other side of the equation, the DX100 funnels immense power and control into the likes of the DT880 600Ω.

This is the most significant indication that iBasso meant the DX100 to be a ground-up full support device. It isn’t meant for headphones or for earphones. It isn’t meant to drive loads of 600Ω or 8Ω. It is meant to drive them all.

And drive it does. Fluently.

Its headphone amplifier handles extremely sensitive earphones with pencil-thin loads that floor many dedicated headphone amps. And it does it with extremely low noise floors and perfect left/right channel balance.

Moving up on the scale, portable headphones are handled perfectly, the DX100’s exquisite volume rocker controlling all balance artefacts. This goes all the way up to 600Ω headphones. Unlike some headphone amps that sport largely unnecessary gain settings, the DX100’s switchable gain is perfectly mated to the volume circuit.

In low gain mode at a volume of 228/256 is powerful; for modern recordings, it borders on loud. Switching to high gain and it becomes almost painful. That is when paired with the Beyerdynamic DT880 600Ω. At 256/256 at high volume, the DT880 exhibits field irrelevant IMD distortion. Older recordings remain 100% distortion free at any volume level. With the FitEar ToGo! 334, I keep volume between 120 and 180 and low gain.

The amp is powerful. And thanks to its exponential volume scale, inadvertently nudging the volume button up results in minute volume increments, saving your ears. In contrast, the iPhone’s volume increases at a perceptible linear growth. With certain earphones, even a single nudge is deafening.

This is the best implementation of a volume circuit I’ve ever seen in a portable device. Its major issue, however, is speed. Sometimes, the volume rocker won’t react. I’ve waited up to 8 seconds between the press of the down button and the corresponding change in volume. If music is too loud, unplug your earphones then change the volume. Don’t wait for the DX100 to respond.

RMAA and Square Wave Test Disclaimer
Tests performed in this section reflect the DX100’s performance when connected to a specific set of output/input devices. They should not directly be compared to any other result. The input device is an Edirol FA-66. The output devices are: Earsonics SM2, Beyerdynamic DT880 600Ω, and Audio Technica ES10, which are connected parallel to the output signal. For the sake of comparison, ALO’s RX MKIII was connected to the DX100’s line output and tested with the same earphones.

Hardware tests were completed after three months of daily listening and firming up my opinions on the DX100’s sound. Hardware tests only reinforce my opinions.

RMAA and square wave results are hosted in the forums.

Sound – Square Waves and load
There is no stronger evidence that the DX100 stands on its own two feet than the flying colours it displays in all hardware tests. In all cases, it betters any Apple Device on the market. In fact, its headphone output betters most aftermarket portable amplifiers. Even ALO’s excellent RX3 isn’t able to keep up.

The sort of stereo image distortion evident in the playback of the Earsonics SM2 and the Audio Technica ES10 is extremely minimal. Most portable devices barely manage -50-65 dB of stereo separation via the SM2; the DX100 manages -83,6 dB. Typical readings for the ES10 tell a similar tale. As is common, the DT880 600Ω presents almost no load to the internal amplifier. The DX100 treats it as a straight wire. Even pushed to extreme volumes (where this test was performed), the internal amplifier pushes clean, distortion-free sound.

There is a slight amount of ringing in the range of 1kHz. For all real-use intents and purposes, it is inaudible.

Sound – Linearity
With the exception of stereo image, anomalies between loaded and unloaded signals are field irrelevant. No matter what you plug into the DX100, you will get the cleanest, most distortion-free sound possible in a portable source. The DX100 has no real competition in its price category. Loaded, it may have no competition at any price.

You may note the high frequency roll off of about 0,5dB. Unless you are a bat, it is inaudible.

Sound – Noise
There is next to zero noise in the signal. All electronics have output noise. Sensitive earphones will reveal more signal noise; insensitive earphones will reveal less. It’s as simple as that. There is a small amount of white noise audible when using earphones such as Shure’s SE530 and the FitEar ToGo! 334. Its level is similar to the noise of an iPhone 5 and therefore less than any current iPod nano or previous iPhones. At medium gain it is similar to an iPod nano. At high gain, it is still less than most Walkman models. Higher volume levels do not correspond to rising noise levels. Only when gain is raised does noise rise. Thanks to the logarithmic volume control, even the most sensitive earphones can be used at comfortable volumes.

Sound – Separation and Stereo Image
The DX100 particularly excels in casting an intense stereo image. It mostly struts its stuff with the likes of full-size headphones, but the precision and width of the stereo image it portrays even with sensitive earphones is phenomenal.

With full-size headphones, there are distinct channels into which instruments are funnelled. As is typical, percussion falls into the centre, its weight and texture hovering above the head, expanding beyond the ears. High hats and other high-frequency percussion fizzles and cracks at the edges of this channel. Each frequency is clearly delineated and unconfused. This image is mesmerisingly clear. I’m one of a die-hard breed that feels that for typical volumes and uses, you can’t really do better than the iPod touch; but here, the DX100 shoulders it out of the way.

Of particular note is the the definition of high and mid bass against the midrange, which are rendered clearer and in more detail than any competitor.

Sound – Digital? Analogue?
Gee whizz, Mickey, that question again? I’ll put it this way: the DX100 is by no means a soft, tubby sounding machine. It renders everything cleanly, in fine, exquisite detail. Noise never obscures the signal. Channel balance is perfect. Stereo image is so engulfing that at times, that I’ve sworn there were desktop speakers pointed at my head.

If cleanliness and quality are your primary concerns, the DX100 is your key. Grab it. Now. But if you tend to prefer mellifluousness to lucidity, pick something else. Or, add a portable amp. The DX100’s internal amp is better for most headphones than any portable amp. Compared back to back, it is clearer and more detailed. If you’re keen on audiophile style but don’t like absolute clarity and don’t want an amp, check out the competition from Colorfly or Hifiman.

The DX100 is decidedly digital sounding, but – and please mark my words – not in any negative connotation. It is extremely accurate, extremely detailed, suffering none of the stultifying effects typical to ‘digital sounding’ sources. Harshness, sibiliance, and superficiality simply to not apply to its excellent musical frame.

Sound – In a nutshell
Clarity, precision, width: three words that describe the DX100’s output infuse every song, every album, every listening moment. There is nothing that compares. iBasso’s output is linear and textured. It suffers no comparison, even against dedicated portable amplifiers. Volume balance between channels is perfect, and noise is minimal. This music lover recommends you to use the DX100 by itself. No amp required – that is, unless you are driving something like the K1000 or listen at deafening levels with the likes of the LCD-2.

Out and About
The DX100 is a large device. None of my jean pockets can fit both me and the DX100. It’s one or the other – and no matter how good the DX100 sounds, I prefer going out clothed from top to bottom. If your clothes are baggy, the DX100 will fit in. Alternatively, you can put it in a camera case, or one of those thief-friendly belt-wallets that Japanese geezers like to flop around Akihabara. Because it is large, the DX100 attracts attention, though not as much as a proper audio stack.

This is the best sound quality you can get for the money. No amp/DAC combo at any price will match it.

Issues – GUI Speed
Speed is certainly an issue for the DX100. Typical touch input instructions often take seconds to elicit visual or auditory responses. At times, even minute volume changes  If you are coming from an iPod touch, you will be amazed how long it takes to turn the DX100 on, how long it takes to load up a list of your favourite albums or songs. At times, you may wonder if it even caught your input. You will be frustrated.

Issues – ID3 Tags
My music is perfectly tagged and collated. Song order, album year, composer, artist – it’s all there. An iPhone or iPod never missteps. Players from Sony to Cowon to HiSound have myriad ID3 tag problems. Often, files play back in improper order. The DX100 has some issues with playback order no matter what I do with ID3 tags. The only foolproof method is to retitle every song with the corresponding track number preceding the song title.

Apps such as mp3 tag will help.

Issues – Build Quality
Despite sporting a largely metal exoskeleton and sky-high pricetag, the DX100 is completely outclassed by the iPod touch. Its screen scratches easily. The metal is thin and bends under slight pressure. One good drop and it will dent. If you are hard on devices, you might think about investing in a more modular system. You are bound to break the DX100.

Sadly, there are no competitors that come close to iPod touch levels of precision and build quality, at any price. The DX100 isn’t one. Neither is the Colorfly C4. Same with Hifiman models. Regarding audiophile players, precision build quality is inversely commensurate with every hundred dollars shelled out for an audio device.

Issues – micro-USB and power brick
A portable device should be able to charge via USB. Naturally, the DX100’s powerful guts suck a lot more electricity from the mains than an iPod touch does. But, so does the iPad, and it charges over USB. It takes time, yes, but nothing a few hours won’t fix. If you travel with the DX100, you have to take along the power brick. The battery cuts out after 8-10 hours of playback. You’ll never be far from an outlet.

The other half of this issue is the inclusion of a micro USB port rather than the more common mini USB port. All the cables from your cameras, mobile phones, iPod touch copies – not a one will work with the DX100. It’s not like the micro-USB port does anything special. It syncs at best; otherwise it merely transfers information. We’re not talking about a sophisticated Lightning or 30-pin port. Digital audio is pulled from the DX100 via dedicated SPDIF ports.

And of course, syncing the DX100 and copying music via the micro USB cable will NOT charge the battery.

Issues – headphone out ‘pop’
If you are a user of sensitive earphones, take note: the DX100 sometimes pops violently when its power button is nudged. This typically happens when the player is dozing between listening sessions. Since the DX100 responds slowly to any input, and takes minutes to boot up, turning it off isn’t an exciting option for the music lover whose work gets in the way of her favourite music. This wake up pop is violent and painful. It is also not good for your earphones. iBasso need to fix this.

Final thoughts
This review is too long, and too late. I’ve been working on it for three months. But, the more I get acquainted with the DX100, the more I feel there is to say. It’s a weakness on my part, not iBasso’s. Soundwise, it is a maven among girl scouts. One DX100 is all you need. It will feed your home system via its excellent DAC and industry standard output connections. And, when on the road, it will drive any sort of headphone/earphone you plug into it. Its performance is far and away above its competition. Its flaws: speed, imprecise build, the necessity of bringing a power brick with you all the time – are probably worth it for most audiophiles. After all, sound quality is king, isn’t it? And what a sound it is: extraordinarily detailed, wide, defined, and utterly addictive, there is nothing like it on the portable market. The DX100 obviates the necessity of an external DAC/amp combination. It is also cheaper and more ergonomic than strapping an iPod to a CLAS and external amp.

Cheaper, better sound, more ergonomic: if you can put up with its stutteringly slow interface, you are in for an undeniable treat.

Pro’s
Excellent sound
Perfect volume balance
Extremely low noise
High quality DAC
Unmatched output drive quality
Internal 64GB
One box solution
Good format support

Con’s
Response time is awful
Build quality inferior to iPod touch
Inadvertent button presses
Micro USB and Power brick

Hot damn! Headphones really are a rockin’ way to enjoy music, right? Feel free to explore TMA’s headphone oubliette

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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
otterbox-defender-commuter-case-iphone-5 otterbox-defender-commuter-case-iphone-5-back otterbox-defender-case-iphone-5-top otterbox-defender-case-iphone-5-top-inner otterbox-defender-case-iphone-5-silicon-jacket otterbox-defender-case-iphone-5-inner-foam otterbox-defender-case-iphone-5-holster-1 otterbox-defender-case-iphone-5-flap-side otterbox-defender-case-iphone-5-flap-earphone otterbox-defender-case-iphone-5-back otterbox-commuter-case-iphone-5 otterbox-defender-case-iphone-5-one-hand otterbox-defender-iphone-5-front otterbox-defender-case-iphone-5-inner-back otterbox-defender-case-iphone-5-holster-3 otterbox-defender-case-iphone-5-holster-2 otterbox-defender-case-iphone-5-inner-shellRead more]]>
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ORA turns your iPad into 8 Speaker Sound System http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/11/19/ora-turns-your-ipad-into-8-speaker-sound-system/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2012/11/19/ora-turns-your-ipad-into-8-speaker-sound-system/#comments Mon, 19 Nov 2012 23:20:33 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=70919 Watching movies on the iPad can be an enjoyable experience no doubt – just so long as you’re not relying on its terrible speakers. Even the ones on the iPad mini sound significantly better, thanks to the stereo speakers onboard. So how do you create the perfect accessory that makes the film sound great on-the-go … Read more]]>

Watching movies on the iPad can be an enjoyable experience no doubt – just so long as you’re not relying on its terrible speakers. Even the ones on the iPad mini sound significantly better, thanks to the stereo speakers onboard. So how do you create the perfect accessory that makes the film sound great on-the-go AND not require you to carry around separate peripherals (i.e bluetooth speakers)? Enter ORA, a unique case that literally puts 8 speakers around your iPad, delivering 5 times the loudness you’re accustomed to hearing.

To achieve a compact and light weight design, ORA uses an array of speakers around the display. The 8 speakers are facing the listener and deliver more than 5 times the loudness of the iPad. This configuration reduces the harmonic distortion level (THD) well below competitive designs and brings clarity to voice and instruments.

The optimized speaker placement coupled with a Digital Signal Processor control the 3D stereo expansion in both orientations (portrait and landscape). This results in a wider stereo image delivering a full immersive experience.

With a full charge, the ORA’s rechargeable Li-Ion battery provides up to 10 hours of play time, all without having to dip into the iPad’s own battery. It’s even smart enough to know whether it’s in portrait or landscape mode and adjusts the stereo sound accordingly. As for how much it weighs (392g vs 652g for a wifi only iPad), it’s rather reasonable considering that it packs 8 speakers and an integrated battery. The one big caveat though is the ORA’s 30-pin connector, meaning the speaker case is only compatible with the iPad 2 and iPad 3. According to the ORA team, they’re currently working on a an 8-pin ‘lighting’ version for the iPad 4 and iPad mini.

As the Kickstarter campaign just started today, there are still plenty of “early bird” specials. A $99 pledge will net you one ORA Stealth (black), and for $129, an ORA Pop + Case/Stand (it’s similar to Apple’s Smart Cover in that it covers the screen and folds into a stand). Assuming its target of $450,000 is met by Dec 30th, the first batch of ORAs will begin shipping in June 2013. Check out the intro video, screenshots and tech specs below. For the complete lowdown, head over to their Kickstarter page.

ORA Technical Specs:

Unique 8-speaker configuration for a full immersive stereo field

Provides 5x the loudness of iPad while maintaining crystal clear sound.

Stereo sound automatically adjusts to portrait and landscape mode

Digital Signal Processing, hand-tuned for ORA enhances:

  • 3D stereo expansion for wide stereo sound
  • Parametric equalization for balanced highs and lows
  • Dynamic range control to maximize volume
  • Integrated rechargeable Li-Ion battery for up to 10 hours of play time without using your iPad battery

Standard iPad 30-pin connector, including pass-through dual charging of iPad and ORA simultaneously

Private listening with 3.5mm headphone jack

Easily check your charge with battery indicator button and LED

Easy access to volume and power buttons

Easy insertion and maximum protection with four quarter-turn fasteners

Outside dimensions and weight:

9″ 1/4 (235.1 mm) x 11″ 3/8 (288.9 mm) x 0.7″ (17.9 mm)

ORA STEALTH and ORA POP: 12.8 oz. (365 g)

ORA Limited: 13.8 oz. (392 g)

ora-sound-system-for-ipad-10 ora-sound-system-for-ipad-9 ora-sound-system-for-ipad-8 ora-sound-system-for-ipad-7 ora-sound-system-for-ipad-4 ora-sound-system-for-ipad-3 ora-sound-system-for-ipad-2 ora-sound-system-for-ipad-1 ora-sound-system-for-ipad-6 ora-sound-system-for-ipad-5Read more]]>
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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

zagg-invisibleshield-extreme-iphone-5-film-top-2 zagg-invisibleshield-extreme-iphone-5-film-top zagg-invisibleshield-extreme-iphone-5-corner zagg-invisibleshield-extreme-iphone-5-packaging-2 zagg-invisibleshield-extreme-iphone-5-side-2 zagg-invisibleshield-extreme-iphone-5-film-bottom zagg-invisibleshield-extreme-iphone-5-side zagg-invisibleshield-hd-ipad-speaker zagg-invisibleshield-hd-ipad-with-smart-cover zagg-invisibleshield-hd-ipad-top zagg-invisibleshield-hd-ipad-port zagg-invisibleshield-hd-ipad-camera zagg-invisibleshield-hd-ipad-package-2 zagg-invisibleshield-hd-ipad-package zagg-invisibleshield-hd-ipad-clarity zagg-invisibleshield-hd-ipad-side-buttons zagg-invisibleshield-extreme-iphone-5-packaging zagg-invisibleshield-install-spray-solution zagg-invisibleshield-extreme-cloudiness zagg-invisibleshield-extreme-iphone-5-filmRead more]]>
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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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