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SnowLizard SLXtreme Case for iPhone 4/4s reviewed

Published on December 6, 2012 by in Apple, iPhone, Mac, Reviews

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There aren’t too many iPhone users that carry a naked phone. Be it for fashion or function, a good case is essential. The SnowLizard SLXtreme case is for the hard-core, insanely active iPhone user who likes to hit the slopes, beach or rock-climbing with their iPhone.

The SnowLizard SLXtreme includes some pretty impressive features. The packaging and site claim:

  •    Waterproof up to 6 feet. This is great for those underwater shots, or if you want to tweet how long you can hold your breath. I tested this in about a foot of water in my sink, and it kept everything inside dry.
  •    Ruggedized up to 6 feet. This is good for mountain bikers, climbers and clumsy people like me. I tested this from about 4 feet and cringed as it hit the ground, but this heavy-duty case easily protected my phone.
  •    An integrated 2000 mAh battery. This keeps the phone charged for a lot longer. The site claims this will give you 7 hours of talk time, 11 hours of video, 46 hours of playback, or 380 hours of standby power.
  •    A solar powered charger. This is my favorite feature, and I can see this being really handy at the beach or out by the pool. You can keep your phone dry and charged longer while you listen to iTunes and post pictures of your sand castle on Facebook. This keeps the internal battery charged so you can keep your phone juiced up.
  •    A clip and lanyard. This is nice because the case is very large and difficult to fit in your pocket.

My phone slips right into the case, and the closing mechanism seems very tight. The screen and top button’s touch sensitivity is about the same as the naked phone, but the Home and volume buttons are tough to use. I really have to push down on the Home button to exit an app or wake up my phone.

I did find a few negative design flaws. When I take a photo or video with flash, the result is a reflected mess. There are clear openings for both the front and rear cameras, but the thickness of the case creates a glare that ruins any photos or videos. When I turn the flash off, the results are perfect.

My biggest complaint is when I make a call. I can barely hear the person on the other line, they can’t hear me very well, and they hear an echo of their own voice. It makes phone calls impossible with this case. However, with a Bluetooth device the result is good, and I can hear everything clearly. If you don’t use a Bluetooth attachment, this is not the case for you.

At $129.99, the SnowLizard SLXtreme case is an investment, but if you take your iPhone on all your outdoor adventures, it’s a lot cheaper than replacing a damaged phone. The company offers a 90-day warranty for product defects, but this only replaces the case. So if you take your phone swimming and the case fails, you’re still out the cost of a new iPhone.

Apple Approved Rating: 4/10 – as is. 7/10 – if the phone clarity issue is resolved.

 

 

 
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HiveDock for iPhone review- Better Than Nothing

Published on November 13, 2012 by in Apple, iPhone, Reviews

 

 

(photo courtesy of HiveDock.com)

The HiveDock for iPhone is a wireless and powerless dock that amplifies your iPhone’s sound magnifies the screen without the use of any extra wires or power source.

How the HiveDock works is simple. The sound from the iPhone is funneled through a concave chamber and towards the listener in a way that makes the audio louder.

How much louder is a slightly more complicated question. The HiveDock website doesn’t specify how much amplification you can expect from your HiveDock. My wife and I spent several minutes playing videos, placing the iPhone in the dock and then removing it to see if we could hear a difference. In the end we decided the sound was louder when in the dock, but the fact that we had so much trouble deciding doesn’t bode well for the product.

Then there is the Fresnel lens provided to magnify the iPhone’s screen. With the HiveDock sitting on a table in my normally lit living room there wasn’t a viewing angle that didn’t have glare. Even the pictures on their own website give you a sense that it really doesn’t offer a pleasurable viewing experience.

(photo courtesy of HiveDock.com)

The HiveDock sells for $22.99 (even the price point is awkward) and can be purchased through their website. When trying to decide if this was a product I would purchase I made myself imagine all the situations in which I would use the HiveDock. Personally I can’t see this product fitting into my daily, weekly, or even yearly routine.

AppleApproved Rating: 2.5 out of 10- Works as advertised.

 

 
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“The iPad Mini is the Real iPad” Says Dan Frommer

Published on November 5, 2012 by in Apple, iPad, Reviews

Another week in, though, and I’m more convinced than even a week ago that the iPad Mini is the best size for most people. It’s last decade’s iPod story all over again.

John Gruber adds some commentary to Dan Frommer’s article which asserts that the iPad Mini truly is the “Real iPad.”

 
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Product Review: Blue Lounge MiniDock Keeps Your iPhone Off The Floor

Published on October 26, 2012 by in Apple, iPad, iPhone, Reviews

Tired of charging your iPhone or iPod on the floor like some sort of digital caveman? Then the Blue Lounge MiniDock is for you. I got a chance to try the MiniDock out and it does exactly what it claims. The dock plugs into the Apple USB Power Adapter (not included) and holds your iPhone or any of the 30-Pin iPod models off the ground.

To be honest I didn’t really think this was all that important of a feature. I have a dedicated space on my desks (at home and at work) for charging my iPhone, as well as on my night stand. Then I saw this picture on Blue Lounge’s website.

And it kind of hit me. One time when I do struggle with the problem of not wanting to set my iPhone down on a surface is in the bathroom. I’m super paranoid about water and other mystery liquids (don’t judge me) on the surface of my bathroom counters. Having a floating iPhone charger would really come in handy in that situation. And not just at home. On the road as well. And for $19,95, it’s not any more expensive than an Apple 30-Pin to USB Cable.

There is of course, one glaring issue. It’s not compatible with an iPhone 5. No big deal. Minor setback. Just get yourself a $29 Lightning to 30-Pin Adapter and Bob’s your uncle. But at that point you’ll have a pretty expensive and slightly wobbly solution to a problem you probably don’t run into that often.

According to Blue Lounge’s support page, an update to the MiniDock is in the pipeline.

After learning about the new Lightning port, the first on our mind was to update the MiniDock. So it is definitely on the pipeline, although for now we cannot say how long it will take to realize it. Please stay tuned for the good news.

Until such time, the Blue Lounge MiniDock is a great solution to a problem you might have sometimes if you don’t have an iPhone 5.

Apple Approved Rating: 6/10 — Beautiful design, works great on previous generation iPhones and iPads — buy it for a more refined charging experience.

 
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Product Review: Square Jellyfish Ear Bud and Stand for Apple Earphones

Published on October 22, 2012 by in Apple, iPad, iPhone, Reviews

The Square Jellyfish Smartphone Stand is yet another attempt to solve the age old problem of MY #$%^&* APPLE EARBUDS ARE TANGLED AGAIN! We’ve all been there. I seriously think Apple could win a Nobel Peace Prize if they found a way to make it so their earbuds couldn’t get tangled. Until that day, we’re stuck looking for third-party solutions.

The Square JellyFish Smartphone Stand, according to its name, is apparently a stand for any smartphone, although it only works for with Apple earbuds. I don’t know how many Android users are wearing Apple Earbuds. Nevertheless, the Square Jellyfish is a combination earbud-wrapper-upper (technical term) and stand for your smartphone (iPhone).

For what it is, the Square Jellyfish is not bad. When closed, it is about twice as thick as an iPhone 4S and fits easily in even super tight skinny jean pockets. The casing is made to fit Apple Earbuds and do not yet fit the new Apple EarPods but they have begun working on a new insert mold which they will send to you at no extra charge. If you want to be the first to receive the new insert, you can support their KickStarter campaign.

The stand itself works pretty well. It can support the iPhone in landscape or portrait mode. I tend to prop my phone up in portrait mode more often, and I found that the base of the stand was just a little too thin which made getting the exact right positioning for the iPhone a little tricky. The bottom of the stand has two rubbery pieces which help keep it from sliding. There’s also access for an iPhone charger cable.

In general, I’m never a fan of this type of accessory. While untangling my earbuds is an annoyance that tends to make me contemplate suicide, the process of wrapping my earbuds up seems to be just as time consuming. But the Square Jellyfish Smartphone Stand does bring a little something extra to the table (pun not intended but gladly accepted).

Oh, and did I mention you can also use the Square Jellyfish for your iPad? Check out this picture from the Square Jellyfish website.

I mainly just wanted to show you that because they have it resting on top of the iPad Smartcase, which is designed to prop up your iPad for you. And I think that is hilarious.

Overall the Square Jellyfish are decently made and for $9.95 aren’t a bad purchase. I wouldn’t call this a must-have, but if keeping your earbuds from getting tangled will help talk you off that ledge, then maybe this is the product for you.

Apple Approved: 5/10 — Well made for the price point. If you have spare cash it could come in handy every now and again.

 
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