• accessories,  apple watch,  spigen

    Spigen ProFlex EZ Fit Glass Screen Protector for Apple Watch Review

    Source: Spigen.com

    I have never trusted myself with expensive watches. I would always scratch up the screens so I would always get inexpensive watches. Prior to Apple Watch, the only expensive watches I purchased were in the $130 range. Fast forward to the Apple Watch, and my original Sport and Series 4, have fared well, but if you look at the screen carefully and under good lighting, you will see several scuffs in the glass. I knew that they were going to get scratched from the get-go, so I am not terribly upset.

    The game changed when I got my Series 5 Stainless Steel Apple Watch. The Series 5 is the most expensive watch I have ever owned, and I was not going to take any chances with it. I decided to protect it with a rubbery clear bumper case. It was big and thick but offered a clear view of the screen. I really did not like the added bulk that the case added. I felt that it robbed me of the sleek design of Apple Watch. On top of that, I recently noticed that the edges of the rubbery case had started to brown – a common problem with these kinds of cases. Thankfully, Spigen has a no compromise solution for me.

    The Spigen ProFlex EZ Fit tempered glass screen protector for Apple Watch offers customers a tempered glass screen protector to protect the screen without adding bulk to Apple Watch.

    I have been using Spigen’s glass screen protectors on my iPhones for multiple years now and I have found them to offer great protection while not getting the way during daily use. I purchased the ProFlex two pack and planned on installing them on my Series 4 and Series 5 Watches.

    One of the nice upgrades with Spigen glass screen protectors are the plastic installation trays. Unlike older systems where you are left your own devices to line up and apply screen protectors, Spigen’s trays make installing perfectly aligned screen protectors a breeze. I also appreciate that the Spigen ProFlex screen protectors come with an oleophobic coating, similar to the coating that Apple uses, so that it is super easy to clean fingerprints from the glass.

    Installation was super easy. First, you take off the band that is on Apple Watch and clean the screen with the included wipes and cloth. Next, place the Apple Watch in the provided alignment tray. Once in the tray, peel the back off of the screen protector that is attached to the applicator. Using the included squeegee to press down and apply the screen protector to the face of the Watch. A few good firm passes from bottom to top should do it. Finally, carefully, remove the applicator tab from the Watch, remove it from the applicator try, and rub out any tiny air bubbles. And that’s it, you are good to go. Reattach your favorite band and enjoy your Apple Watch knowing that its screen is protected from the day-to-day accidental bumps that could scuff or scratch the screen.

    The biggest concern for me was going to be usability. I wanted a glass screen protector to protect the screen, but one that did not have a thick ridge that my finger would rub over when swiping up or down when trying to access notifications and Control Center. I am happy to report that while there is a bit of a ridge that I feel when swiping up to access Control Center, it is very minimal. I prefer the rounded edge for Spigen’s GLAS.tR iPhone screen protectors. It would be nice if Spigen could do something similar with the ProFlex screen protector in a future update.

    Overall, I think the Spigen ProFlex EZ Fit tempered glass screen protectors for Apple Watch look and feel great. It allows me to ditch the chunky case and enjoy the look and feel of Apple Watch without worrying about scratching the screen.

    The ProFlex EZ Fit screen protector is compatible with Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 6, 5, and 4. Available in both 44mm and 40mm sizes, the ProFlex costs a reasonable $19.99 at Spigen.com.

  • accessories,  apple

    Are Your Lightning Cables and Chargers Legit?

    If you have owned an iOS device for longer than six months, you probably have found a need to purchase additional Lightning cables and chargers. While you can purchase first-party cables from a local Apple Store or apple.com. Many of us, however, will buy those cables from Amazon or eBay.

    But, are the cables you buy from your favorite online retailer a legitimate Apple cable? Maybe, maybe not, according to ZDNet’s Adrian Kingsley-Hughes. That Amazon is chockfull of fake products is nothing new. The Washington Post’s Jay Green covered this problem last year.

    As Kingsley-Hughes points out, Apple has published a support document to help customers spot knock-off products. When purchasing cables and chargers for your iOS device, you should look for the Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod (MFi) logos on the packaging.

    Apple’s modern Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod touch badge, source: Apple, Inc.

    I encourage you to read Apple’s support document and share if with family and friends. Using fake cables and chargers can damage your Apple products and can pose a fire risk.

    So, what accessories are safe to buy? Obviously, purchasing directly from Apple is one way to be sure your product is genuine and safe. There are other third-party vendors that sell high-quality accessories including Amazon Basics, Anker, Belkin, Monoprice, and Nomad.

  • accessories,  iphone xr,  webcam,  windows 10

    DroidCam for iOS, Android, and Windows 10 PCs

    Whoever expected that in 2020 webcams, like the ones made by Logitech, would be in tight supply? Thanks to the COVID-19 global pandemic forcing many people to work and learn from home; good webcams are hard to find. It doesn’t help that the webcams in our laptops have varying degrees of quality.

    That’s where DroidCam by Dev47Apps comes in. It’s simple, really. Your iPhone has a way better camera system than any webcam that has been shoved into the lid of a MacBook or Windows PC laptop. With so much of our work, learning, and socializing happening via web conference, there are many reasons why you will want to look your best on camera.

    DroidCam has two pieces: the main app that runs on your iOS or Android smartphone and a client app that presents the camera feed to your Windows PC. Unfortunately, there is no Mac client app. The app is free to use, with ads and watermarks. In my testing of the free app running on my iPhone XR with the latest version of iOS 13, I did not see any ads or watermarks in the video. For $4.99, you can remove the ads, watermark, and unlock “Pro” features like HD Video and video controls, using your smartphone as a mic, image flipping and rotation, brightness settings, screen captures, and a few other tools.

    DroidCam client running on Windows 10

    There are three ways to connect DroidCam to the client app on your Windows PC. The first is to connect both the smartphone and the PC to the same Wi-Fi network. Since I was using my solution for work, I didn’t want to use a public Wi-Fi connection for my video calls. The next option is to create a private Wi-Fi network between the smartphone and the PC. While better than a public Wi-Fi connection, this option seems like too much of a hassle. The third option, I feel, is the best option: using your smartphone’s sync cable to connect the phone to the PC. In my case, that was an Apple Lightning to USB-A cable. Wires, in 2020? I know, it seems crazy, but there are good reasons. First, running your smartphone as a webcam is going to place a heavy load on the phone’s battery. Keeping your smartphone plugged into your PC is going to help keep the battery up. Secondly, there are less changes of weird problems cropping up when Wi-Fi is out of the mix.

    There are few things that I didn’t like. There doesn’t seem to be a way to engage the front facing TrueDepth camera on my iPhone XR. DroidCam only seemed to be able to control the rear facing 12MP camera. This situation is understandable given that Dev47Apps originally developed the app for the Android platform. This does mean, however, that the iPhone screen is always pointing away from me. This makes interacting with the iPhone during setup difficult when it’s mounted in a c-clamp on a tripod. To be fair, my tripod rig is not the developer’s fault.

    Unlocked DroidCam client HD Mode options

    After attending a few work conference calls using DroidCam, I happily paid the full price to unlock the pro features. Paying $4.99 rather than spending hours trying to find a good webcam that is actually in stock on Amazon, eBay, Best Buy or others is a much better use of your time and attention. With its low cost, DroidCam is a very economical solution for getting better video performance out of the equipment you already have.

  • accessories,  apple,  iphone 11 pro

    2019 iPhone – What Am I Getting?

    Pre-orders for the 2019 Apple iPhone models are set to start in just about an hour. So, now seems like a good time to get another cup of coffee and review my ordering plans.

    While I have been a member of #PlusClub in the past, I really have grown to love the 5.8-inch iPhone X and iPhone XS phones. So, this year, while I did spend some time considering a Max, I have decided to get an iPhone 11 Pro. Not a surprising pick, really. When I find something that I like, I tend to stick with it. What I am changing up this year is the color. Unlike years past when I have ordered Black, Space Black, Grey, or Space Grey iPhones, this year, I decided I really liked the look of the polished stainless steal band. So, I’m getting the Silver (White) iPhone 11 Pro. I will also be picking up the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Midnight Blue (Grassia Standard Navy Blue) leather case. I think that the polish stainless steal band showing at the bottom of the iPhone and the white showing through on the back camera bump (area) will really look nice.

    To recap, I hope to pre-order a 5.8-inch unlocked iPhone 11 Pro, in Silver, with 256GB storage. I insta-bough the leather iPhone 11 Pro Midnight Blue case on Tuesday after watching the Apple Fall keynote. I pick the case up today at my local Apple Store.

    Update:

    The Apple online store when live about a minute or two after 8:00am EDT. I was able to order my iPhone 11 Pro without any hassle right in Safari on my iMac. Super easy. I used Apple Pay, and confirmed the purchase on my iPhone XS.

    I hope you also got the device(s) that you were looking for too!

  • accessories,  apple,  macbook pro

    Apple USB-C Multiport Adapter Update 1.0

    As some of you know, I purchased a Late 2016 Apple MacBook Pro.  I recently had the need to purchase a HDMI video out adapter.  So, naturally, I went for the more expensive route, and purchased the $69 Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter.

    What I found interesting the first time I plugged it in was an alert in macOS Sierra to update the firmware on the dongle.  The update is a minuscule 204kb.  In today’s world, that is super small.  As you can see from the images I captured below, Update 1.0 is a “compatibility and reliability” update.  Since this was the first time I used the adapter, I did not notice any problems.

    adapter updateusb-c av dongle update 1usb-c av dongle update 2

    In my daily usage, these kinds of updates are fairly infrequent.  The last accessory update that I recall seeing was for the Apple Smart Keyboard for my first generation 12.9″ iPad Pro.  Before that, a minor update to the firmware on my PowerBeats Bluetooth earbuds.  I like to think that these kinds of minor updates are not generally required because everything “just works”, but I am glad that Apple issues these updates to fix issues and generally improve the user experience.

     

  • accessories,  keyboard,  logitech

    Logitech Create Backlit Keyboard 12.9-inch Mini Review

    create-keyboard-hero-blue-1000_840pxI have been using my iPad Pro 12.9-inch for the last year.  When I purchased my iPad Pro, I purchased the Apple Smart Keyboard.  This past November 22, after a year of the Smart Keyboard and having read reviews from bloggers and hearing podcasters talk about the Logitech Create keyboards, I decided to get one.  What follows are my thoughts and impressions about 12.9-inch Create keyboard.

    Logitech Create Backlit Keyboard Case Mini Review

    I love using my iPhones and iPads without cases, yet I cannot stand having scratches, nicks, or scuffs so I always use a case or some sort.  My iPad Pro, issued to me by my employer, has spent the last year protected by the Apple Smart Keyboard and the Silicone Case.

    The Logitech Create 12.9-inch keyboard, in my opinion, is on the opposite end of the keyboard spectrum from the Apple Smart Keyboard.  The Create fore goes Apple’s minimalist obsession and let’s their Smart Connector-based keyboard be true to itself.  To get a sense of the size, the keys on the Create keyboard are about the same size as those on the Apple Magic Keyboard.  The best part about the Create keyboard is that there is actually movement in the keys (key travel).  If you like the keyboard on the MacBook Air, then I think you will like this keyboard a lot.  Since retiring my 17-inch MacBook Pro, the iPad Pro with Create keyboard has become my on-the-go writing tool.

    The key caps are a nice size and I can easily touch type on this keyboard just like I can on my wireless Microsoft (at the office) and Apple (at home) keyboards.  The Create keyboard also has an extra row of function keys that are missing from Apple’s Smart Keyboard.  Create also sports backlit keys, another feature that is missing from the Apple stock keyboard. The function keys that I find myself using the most are search, backlight brightness up and down, lock, and home.  In the position of the Fn key on the Magic Keyboard, Logitech placed a keyboard key, which when pressed, brings up the iOS 10 on-screen keyboard.

    I have been using the Create keyboard with three main apps on my iPad – Microsoft Word, Outlook, and OneNote.  When I get in a groove, and typing furiously (for me), my personal preference is for the Create keyboard over the Apple Smart Keyboard.  For writing in my lap while on the go, I feel that the Create keyboard is the sturdier of the two.

    The Logitech Create keyboard case is available in five colors: classic red with gold keyboard top, purple, blue with silver keyboard top (the version I purchased), black with silver keyboard top, and black.  I have a silver iPad Pro, and I thought that the blue/silver case looked the best partnered up with my iPad.   Red/gold was a close runner up.  If I had a black iPad Pro, I would have only considered the two black versions.  Personal preferences will obviously vary.

    For as much as I like the Logitech Create keyboard for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, there are a few downsides to consider.

    The Create keyboards is big and heavy.  It’s the price to be paid for being true to itself.  Much more so than the two-piece Apple solution.  It’s something buyers need to consider if they travel around a lot.  For me, the extra bulk is not too much of a problem because I don’t travel much.  Logitech has included a wrist rest, however, it is shallow, and my palms hang off the edge.  This is not a deal breaker.  The total size of the keyboard and wrist rest is constrained by the size of the iPad Pro.  I am glad that Logitech used the majority of the space for the keys over that of the wrist rest.

    There are magnets in the wrist rest that will put the iPad to sleep just like any other Smart Cover.  The magnets aren’t powerful enough to keep the iPad closed.  I attribute this to the sheer bulk of the Create case.  If I pick up my iPad Pro by the top half of the Create case, it will open.  While walking around the office with my iPad, there is some minimal movement between the iPad and Create.  Because of this, I worry about the plastic key caps rubbing up against the glass screen and marking it up over time.  As such, I felt it was necessary to buy a glass screen protector for the iPad Pro.  I have no evidence that the screen would become damaged.  It was an emotional response to my desire to keep my hardware looking like it just came out of the box.  Again, results will vary.

    The one gripe that I do have, that was “fixed” with the Create keyboard for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, was the inclusion of a loop for storing an Apple Pencil.  There is a lot of space where the Pencil loop could have gone in the 12.9-inch model. I personally feel that early adopter feedback informed Logitech’s decision to include the loop on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro Create keyboard case.  I am looking forward to seeing the loop on a future 12.9-inch Create keyboard.

    Conclusion

    The Logitech Create keyboard for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the keyboard for people who prefer a more traditional keyboard experience.  I find it delightful to type on and the experience is more like the other keyboards in my life.  I also appreciate that Logitech let this be the keyboard that it wants to be – size and weight be damned – and I appreciate it.

    The Logitech Create Backlit Keyboard Case for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro can be purchased for $149.95 from both the Logitech and Apple online stores or in retail stores that sell iPad Pros.

  • accessories,  apple,  apple store

    Apple 29 W USB-C Power Adapter and USB-C to Lightening Cable

    For Apple’s 40th anniversary today, I decided to get myself a gift.  (Yes, I did just buy a new iMac 27-inch 5K Retina, but I get carried away!)

    Below are some unboxing photos from the Apple 29 W Power Adapter, that can be used with the new, super slim, MacBook…and as it turns out…with iPad Pros to charge there large batteries much faster than the older 10 W and 12 W adapters can.

    It’s pretty quite at the Trumbull Apple Store during lunch hour.

    Buying new accessories with Apple Pay on April Fool’s Day!