Review: Belkin QODE Slim Style for iPad Air 2

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I’ve previously reviewed the QODE Ultimate and the QODE ThinType, and although I still had a few issues with each of those designs, there were some great stand-out features like the pressure sensor on the ThinType, and the magnetic auto-disconnect on the QODE Ultimate. In contrast, the QODE Slim Style for iPad Air 2, which I just received for review last week, is a little more vanilla in its approach.

This Slim Style looks a lot like your standard folio case: it’s got a hard shell for protecting the iPad in your bag, and you can prop the tablet up at a desk or on your lap for typing. The instruction pamphlet does a poor job of telling you how to actually put your iPad into the case, though. I went through a bit of trial and error before I realized I had to slide the iPad into two of the corners and then pry the other two corners back, one at a time, until the iPad was sitting very snugly in place. I’m not a fan of this method of securing the iPad because it doesn’t feel intuitive or user friendly.

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Quick Look: Scosche strikeLINE pro Retractable Lightning Cable

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I always want to have charging cables with me, but I don’t like how messy they are, even stuffed inside of my canvas gear pouch. Retractable cables are a big win in my book, but you have to make sure to get the right ones. Not all of them are made equal, and the really cheap ones that you can often get with free shipping from websites that ship out of Hong Kong can break very easily, or may not work at all when plugged in.

Over the Christmas Holidays I decided it was time to upgrade my current set of long standard cables. I initially looked for products from PPCTechs because they made great retractable cables during the Windows Mobile era, but the company no longer seem to create any of their Lil’Sync cables. As such, I purchased the next best thing: a strikeLINE pro Lightning cable from Scosche. The only silly thing about this cable is its over-engineered name, which feels akin to calling oatmeal “Firestorm Day Starter – Soft Edition”. The rest of the cable is awesome though.

I’ve known Scosche to make some really solid accessories for tech devices, and this cable also feels like a quality product. The male heads and flat cable look like they the wear and tear of everyday use, and the mechanism for retraction feels reassuringly solid. This cable is compact when closed and long enough for use with a wall socket or sitting on my desk beside my MacBook Pro.

I bought this Scosche cable from Amazon.ca during a lightning deal, and you can likely find even better deals from Amazon.com (if the site ships to your neck of the woods).

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Quick Look: ZAGG InvisibleShield Glass for iPad Air 2

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I usually plan items to review on this site, but this $50 ZAGG InvisibleShield Glass was really more of an impulse purchase to take advantage of a great 50% discount. My friend installed the Glass shield for me on Christmas Eve, and so I’ve really had only a few days with it to glean some impressions. Installation took a few minutes and was fairly simple, and ZAGG included the wipes and cleaning cloths required to clean things up. One interesting detail was the addition of a yellow tinted plastic cover for the glass, which helped a lot in lining everything up properly.

I had never put much stock in putting a sheet of glass on top of another sheet of glass for protection, but having seen the smooth look of a glass protector on my friend’s iPhone 6, I decided to give it a shot. The main reason I wanted glass was to ensure that my screen could take the abuse of being shoved into my bag without a case. I still carry the Logitech Ultrathin around with me everywhere, but I don’t necessarily keep it attached. That’s because I want instant access to the iPad when I pull it out of my bag, without having to fiddle with any extra cover. I find that makes my iPad Air 2 feel immediately more usable as a mobile computer.

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AirTurn Manos Mount for iPad – Almost, But Just Not Quite

manos headerSince October 16, talk has been mostly about better this, faster that and more of the other. But whether we all got what we wanted this time round in our iPads Air 2 and Mini 3, aren’t they just gorgeous regardless? Of course I’m biased.

And as Apple continues to report quarter upon quarter of eye-watering revenues, accessories makers happily carry on riding her coattails unashamedly, producing all manners of add-ons – some to simply personalise your device, whilst others to enhance functionality in ways that continue to be imagined. Personally, slapping on makeup on my already beautiful device is superfluous; I’m a big fan of the latter however, and the AirTurn Manos Mount falls into that category.

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Review: Logitech Ultrathin Magnetic Clip-On Keyboard Cover for iPad Air

The Logitech Ultrathin series of keyboards has been around a while now, and they’re probably some of the most-used iPad keyboards. The appeal of the Ultrathin is fairly evident once you see one: the aluminum and plastic keyboard fits over the iPad Air, just like a Smart Cover. However, take it off, plant the iPad in the built-in rest, and you’ve suddenly got a fully functional typing station that’s stable enough to use on your lap, or at a proper desk. The 2014 Ultrathin redesign brought two new tricks to the table: a very clever foldaway iPad hinge, and a tilting iPad stand.

The new hinge was really the major reason that I approached Logitech for a review sample of this keyboard. I’d bought a few of the previous versions of the Ultrathin, but the cleanliness of this year’s iPad hinge really takes the cake. By default, the hinge will just fold flat and stay nearly invisible along the rear edge of the keyboard. In this form, the Ultrathin just looks like a Bluetooth keyboard with a built-in stand.

Once you’re ready to go, you’ll pick up the iPad, slide the left side of the tablet towards the rear of the keyboard, and the hinge will simply pop right out of the casing and latch onto the iPad. The only caveat is that you’ve got to be more precise with an Ultrathin than with a Smart Cover, and the magnets won’t necessarily auto-align perfectly with the iPad. In nine out of ten instances, this isn’t a problem, but every once in a while the iPad doesn’t align quite properly.

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Quick Look: Belkin Travel Power Pack 9000 for iPad

This beast of a battery is the Belkin Travel Power Pack 9000. It’s a 9000 mAh battery, translates to about three or four charges for my iPhone 5S, or 60–70% of my iPad Air’s battery in real life charging situations. The Power Pack isn’t one of those tiny batteries that you use in an emergency […]

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iPad Telescope Control: Celestron Sky Q Review

As we know, the iPad has several amazing apps which help you stay productive, have fun and do a variety of other things. One of the things I have been slightly underwhelmed by is third party hardware support. I’m not talking about simple stuff like bluetooth keyboards, rather hardware that attaches your iPad to other […]

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Review: TwelveSouth’s SurfacePad for iPad Air

TwelveSouth’s SurfacePad for iPad Air is like a much more elegant execution of Apple’s own Smart Cases, except this accessory is really a very clever two-sided cover. Installing it is as simple as sticking it to the rear of the iPad. The cover provides adequate scratch protection for transit, but no extra shock protection for […]

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