Belkin’s website copy claims that these BOOST UP chargers are 40% faster than a 5-watt charger at fully recharging an iPad Air, which is true, but not really a fair comparison because neither an iPad Air nor an iPad mini with Retina Display ship with a 5W charger. In fact, the newest generation of iPads both ship with Apple’s own 12W chargers out of the box, so they’re exactly as fast as this offering from Belkin. However, that’s not to say that there aren’t some slight differences here.
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 to provide a bit of a charge. No, having a Power Pack in your bag is more like bringing the kitchen sink with you (well, if the kitchen sink provided power, and not water).
The Power Pack has two USB ports on it for charging — a 1.0A for smartphones and 2.5A port for tablets — but I really only ever used one of them at a time because I only carry one Lightning cable around with me. The shiny black plastic shell looks good, if a little non-descript, and it does pick up fingerprints easily.
I reviewed the Apex Rechargeable active stylus a few weeks back and I was really impressed with it after years of using those rubber or mesh tipped disasters to try to add a handwritten element to my iPad. As commented in the review, being in the Ned Flanders left handed brigade made the use of a non-active stylus sometimes infuriating for handwriting. Handwriting is one of the few things that the iPad doesn’t do particularly well, unlike Samsung and their Note range. Thankfully we are starting to get some really decent active styluses on the market and they are starting to appear at price points which are attractive. This is where the KickStarter funded Dart Stylus from Precision Touch comes in. [click to continue reading…]
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 devices.
Celestron have a long and distinguished history manufacturing some of the best telescopes on the market and they have released a piece of hardware called SkyQ, which is essentially a wifi dongle that you can plug into your Celestron ‘goto’ compatible telescope and control it with an app on the iPad. For the uninitiated a ‘goto’ telescope is basically a computer controlled telescope that once aligned, will point automatically to any object in the sky. It’s great for lazy people like me who don’t have the time or brain power to learn about the night sky in the traditional way. [click to continue reading…]
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 the sides of the device. This is an accessory that compliments the premium appearance of the iPad, and doesn’t detract from it in order to provide a bit of extra protection. I’m very happy with this tradeoff, since the SurfacePad does a great job of preserving the Air’s clean lines and chamfered edges.