by Jim Gresham on Dec 17, 2014
The market is crowded with Bluetooth speakers. Every time you turn around, there is someone selling another Bluetooth speaker. They are an excellent iOS device accessory and I recommend having at least one. Of course, they run the full range of prices and I have had my hands on cheap and expensive several hundred dollar models.
When choosing a speaker, it is important to decide what is most important to you. Do you need one small enough to throw in your bag or do you prefer a home theater style option that can shake the walls with crisp and booming sound? Divoom is on the lower end of the Bluetooth spectrum. Providing small packaged, portable Bluetooth speakers with a rugged edge is the niche market for the Texas based company, which sent them over for review. Read More
by Jim Gresham on Dec 16, 2014
Samsung called us iPhone users wall huggers in their recent commercial attacks. Sure, we charge fairly frequently, but iPhone owners just like using their device more and do it more frequently. Right? Sometimes that leads to a low battery. Even with an iPhone 6 Plus touting about 10 usage hours before depleting, I sometimes find myself in scenarios where additional charge is critical.
There are loads of battery backups on the market. Just walking into a 7-11 convenient store will reveal small stick sized charging devices for a few bucks. But, a backup is one of those you-get-what-you-pay-for experiences. Take a look inside for details on Outdoor Tech’s Kodiak Power Bank. Read More
by Jim Gresham on Dec 15, 2014
Since Apple announced MFi controller support for iOS games, fewer options appeared than originally anticipated. The reason for a slow response is a bit surprising. However, my point of view is slightly skewed as an iOS accessory hardware reviewer. Still, I cannot imagine why app developers would not want to build in the support. Even more shocking is the small list of hardware options.
At CES 2014, it seemed like controllers would be the new thing. Unfortunately, several companies I chatted with never released their controller. We have come a long way since January 2014 and a full year plus another six months since the MFi controller support protocol released at WWDC.
SteelSeries was one of the first companies to-market with their SteelSeries Stratus. The Stratus was an extremely small MFi controller, but perfect for on-the-go gamers. Recently, they released the Stratus XL, a full sized battle tested design, similar to a true console handheld. After settling down with the XL, it changed the way I look at iOS as a gaming platform. Read More
by Jim Gresham on Dec 14, 2014
Another year down and year three of the iDownloadBlog Holiday Gift Guide hits the site. As tech bloggers, it is our job to make sure you know about the awesome new things that come out during the year. We pride ourselves in filling a Santa list that is top notch and informed.
The following list of items may or may not be things I currently own or reviewed. Items in my gift guide are simply my favorite gadgets, accessories or tech related items.Throwing price to the wind, but still keeping it within a reasonable reach of most consumers, take a step inside for my most wished for items. Read More
by Jim Gresham on Dec 14, 2014
Confessing previously to my winter wallpaper obsession, this week’s picks are in the same genre. If you did not catch the past few posts in Wallpapers of the Week, several of them contained snow. More directly, the “snow frost” post started the winterization of the walls section.
Today’s selection is also a tribute to the cold winter months approaching for the northern hemisphere. A collection of photographs play well with snow and ice to give that chilling affect to an iPhone or iPad screen. Inside, we have six different photographic wallpapers for your enjoyment. Read More
by Jim Gresham on Dec 11, 2014
No one in my home has a green thumb. Sure, like any normal family we have some decorative blooms around the house, but nothing to get too crazy over. Mostly because we are a family on the go, plants suffer in both the summer and winter, when the weather is most extreme. If plants could talk, right?
Well, Parrot developed a way to get the data you need about plants, simply by walking by. While we may be too busy to notice a plant while rushing past, what if you could receive a shout of desperation. A plant begging you for water through a push notification is hard to ignore. Read More
by Jim Gresham on Dec 10, 2014
Tired of carrying around multiple cables? Of course you are! Lots of gadgets pile up around iOS devices. There are battery cases, portable Bluetooth speakers, powered headphones, and the like. Unfortunately, none of them use Lightning cables for charging as they instead require a micro USB.
I keep both a Lightning cable and micro USB cable in my daypack at all times. Actually, I keep two Lightning and two micro USB cables in my pack. My forgetfulness only proves the challenge of keeping enough cords around. If only there was a cable to satisfy both standards. Thanks to accessory maker TYLT, the Syncable-Duo is just the solution. Read More
by Jim Gresham on Dec 8, 2014
Apple only produces a small wireless keyboard, which is frustrating for users that require the benefits of a full sized option. Using an Apple wireless keyboard for home use is usually manageable. However, using a reduced keyboard in the office is more of a struggle. The lack of a number pad is extremely complicated when entering digit data and the like.
Why Apple is yet to produce a full size, Bluetooth keyboard is beyond understanding. Third party companies are starting to enter the space with designs that compliment Macs. For several years, Logitech and other companies offered wireless keyboards, but they are bulky and clash with Apple’s aesthetic. Satechi’s Wireless Smart Keyboard is filling the gap. Read More
by Jim Gresham on Dec 8, 2014
Headphones are one of those device categories where more money does not necessarily equate to a better quality product. Many branded, read “designer,” headphones cost extra simply because they have a celebrity backing them. There is a single branded headphone line that gets most of the attention and offer a high price tag for entry.
There are ways to more intelligently choose a pair of cans. Make sure the sound is superior quality. Of course, pay attention to build quality, but sound is paramount when purchasing headphones. Start with plastic. If the entire headphone is plastic, start second guessing your purchase. Pulling the Phiaton Bridge MS 500‘s from the box was quite a rewarding experience, complete with machined aluminum, perforated leather, and red stitching. Read More
by Jim Gresham on Dec 7, 2014
There are only a few movies over several years that make a lasting impression on the viewer. Movies are created, launched, watched, and forgotten. However this season’s Interstellar continues to grip audiences worldwide. The three-hour space odyssey piques the imagination and is arguably one of the most well written blockbuster movies in many years.
To fully enjoy the experience, I went to see the film in IMAX. The stunning visuals were all wallpaper worthy shots. I try not to toss around this word lightly, but Interstellar was epic, from the story and character development to the cinematography. Read More
by Jim Gresham on Dec 7, 2014
Where do I even begin talking about selfies? Everyone loves a good selfie. They are wildly popular across the world, even causing South Korea to ban “unregulated” selfie stick sales. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, SnapChat, and other forms of popular social media channels are completely filled with selfies. What caused our self obsession will never be explained, but the selfie is here to stay.
The selfie stick was one of the first hardware selfie assistants. I saw them around touristy places when I traveled, but didn’t think much of them about a year ago. Now, they are increasingly popular and being utilized in everyday places. Several iterations of selfie-inspired accessories cropped up and iLuv is capitalizing on the fad. Launching “selfy,” iLuv guarantees you will always have a quick way to snap a selfie and includes a laundry list of add-ons to assist. Read More
by Jim Gresham on Dec 6, 2014
Living a conflicted life, I am an iPhone nudist but also a hardware reviewer for iDB. As you can imagine, the struggle comes when reviewing accessories that cause the user to obfuscate the design and detail of an Apple iOS device with unnecessary appendages. I do not like bulky cases, even if their primary function is protection. I do not even like screen protectors because it stands between my finger and the glass.
When Inatek approached me about a sleeve, I jumped at the option. Sleeves are one of my favorite accessory genres because they allow the device to be used naked, while still providing protection for travel and day-to-day carry. The Inatek TPB-IM sleeve fits the bill. Read More
by Jim Gresham on Dec 4, 2014
It is rare to find a case I adore. Most of my hesitation stems from being an iPhone nudist, which I mention in most of my articles. Further complicating matters is my disdain for overly complicated designs or cases that interfere with the look and feel of iOS devices.
Many case companies get most things right. The protection level is perfect or the look and feel is spot on. Everyone does their thing. However, running into my third year of accessory reviews, most of the marketed cases are boring to me. In fact, my hardware review articles are quite infrequent due to the lack of truly new cases. Many companies are in their third or fourth iteration of the exact same case, merely updated for the newest iPhone form factor.
Standing in stark contrast to the mundane daily cases, Nodus introduced me to their Access collection. Even before holding the product, I thought to myself, here is a company that is doing it all exactly right. Shortly thereafter, I pillaged my mailbox looking for the iPhone 6 Plus Access case. Read More
by Jim Gresham on Dec 2, 2014
In a recent attempt to go paperless, inspired by our own Jeff Benjamin, I began the search for a solid document scanner about this time last year. Thankfully, December is the month before CES and I hunted for a solution at the world’s largest end-user computer conference.
Finding the right scanner was not particularly important, because I had no idea what should accompany a scanner purchase. What features does one need when it comes to scanning? Other than using primitive scanners back in college or a full blown office scanner, there is no personal benchmark for home-use that I could rely upon. In my quest through confusion, I stumbled upon the Neat team members, who promised a scanning option that did not require tethering to a computer. The NeatConnect is a powerful desktop tool without the requirement of annoying USB cables. Read More
by Jim Gresham on Nov 30, 2014
Continuing our simple nature series, including mountains and lakes, the next images feature winter snow and frost. Ending November in the northern hemisphere means winter is coming. This year, it seems winter is arriving more quickly than previous years. Living in the south eastern US, I experienced my first snow in early November.
With Thanksgiving passed and temperatures plummeting, it is time to switch the Lock screen over to match the occasion. For an unknown reason, winter snowy wallpapers are my favorite genre. Consequently, find four wallpaper images below. Read More
by Jim Gresham on Nov 23, 2014
Considering the popularity of last week’s mountains Wallpaper of the Week post, this week we are featuring another set of naturally beautiful wallpapers. Although, to contrast mountains, the included images salute the water.
In particular, lakes offer stunning vistas often incorporating mountains based on their geography. The lakes featured past the fold are all captured by photographers whose work can be found on Interfacelift.com. We gleaned some of the best and are highlighting them for iPad, iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6. Read More
by Jim Gresham on Nov 16, 2014
Some of the most downloaded Wallpapers of the Week are still photography. Compile that will one of our top preferred genres, mountains. Finally, readers have loved the galaxy images as well. Today, we are going to receive all three and there are iPad versions of each. Step inside for a cross between several reader favorites. The images included are featured for iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Retina. Of course, they are backwards compatible to any smaller iOS device screen sizes. Read More
by Jim Gresham on Nov 9, 2014
Today we feature a set of wallpapers in the iOS 8 style. While the flower images pushed by Apple in their latest software version received some criticism for their non-masculine appearance, the vibrant colors accentuate the new Retina HD displays. The new curved glass screens on iPhone 6 melt with the aluminum housing and the dark black background rolls away, only leaving the flowers to pop.
Honoring design features of the existing wallpapers, the selection today honors the details of the stock iOS 8 flower wallpapers. Whether you want to argue over masculinity is your choice. Either way, the wallpapers look magnificent. Read More
by Jim Gresham on Nov 2, 2014
Sunday is wallpaper day on iDownloadBlog. The section is quite popular and is a running compilation back more than a year. Despite posting more than 75 individual wallpaper posts with more than one image per post, I have yet to feature a specific genre of images.
In an effort to completely “fanboy” our wallpaper section, the curated posts never blatantly featured wallpapers from another device. It felt like featuring wallpapers from other devices somehow would shine a jealous light on iPhone. If we love our iPhones, why do we need wallpapers from other devices? Well, it doesn’t really matter where the wallpapers are from as long as they are esthetically pleasing. Read More
by Jim Gresham on Oct 26, 2014
Over the past couple weeks, many folks tracked me down on Twitter hoping I was able to find the images used to market and advertise the new iPad Air 2. Originally on the iPad Air 2 web page, the included images were used as Lock screen splash images. Many people were excited about the new walls, but unfortunately, they did not ship with either iOS 8.1, iPad Air 2, or iPad mini 3.
The Lock screen images were originally on the website with different iPads, but seem to now be pulled down. If searching in the right place, you can still find the image pictured above. However, a blue-green variant is now seemingly removed. In an effort to support those folks looking for these images, we made them our Wallpapers of the Week. Read More