I reviewed Sandmarc’s Photography Edition last Fall, which includes their Wide Angle, Fisheye and Macro lenses, and came away very impressed with both the quality of the lens construction and the images produced. While this 3-lens collection set does a lot to expand the functionality of the iPhone’s camera, the one thing missing was zoom enhancement.
While I have used a few wallet cases on previous iPhones over the years, I’ve never been a big fan of the category, by and large. I don’t usually prefer to carry my cards and money with my phone unless I am traveling by plane, so the added bulk of the card pockets on the inside flap of a case doesn’t hold much appeal. However, I understand that this is just a personal preference of mine. Wallet cases are both plentiful and popular for a good reason- plenty of other people DO like them.
Vaja has always been one of my favorite accessory manufacturers, going back before the days of the iPhone to the prehistoric times of PDSs and Palm Pilots. Vaja was the number one name in lux accessories back then and it remains one of the top high-end brands today, offering both ready-to-ship and customizable high quality leather goods for all kinds of electronic devices.
When someone from Jisoncase reached out to me about taking a look at their new Genuine Leather Case for the iPhone XS Max, I will admit that I was skeptical. I’ve seen what a lot of inexpensive imported leather and faux-leather cases look like in-person, and it often isn’t pretty. I knew Jisoncase plays in that price range, so I didn’t have much confidence.
However, after doing a little research online, I saw some very positive reviews of their other cases. Because of that, I decided to go ahead give this case a shot. I’m glad that I did, because it turned out to be a lot better than I expected. There is a lot to like about this case at such a reasonable price point. Let’s get into the details.
A few months ago, I reviewed Pad and Quill’s Linen Journals and came away very impressed. I knew the company by reputation before, but that experience was enough to show me that they are the real deal. Their reputation is well deserved. So, when they reached out to see if I would like to take a look at some a couple of cases for the new iPhone XS and XS Max, I jumped at the chance.
I have been a big fan of Urban Armor Gear, or UAG for short, for a few years now. I owned a Pathfinder case for a previous iPhone, and I reviewed the Plasma case for the iPhone 7 Plus last year, and was very impressed with the construction and overall value of both products. I am also currently testing a UAG case for the Surface Go for a future review that has been a pleasure to use, so far.
UAG currently offers six different case models for the iPhone XS and XS Max that provide different levels of protection, all of which look good and are reasonably priced in my opinion.
I’m always intrigued when a company takes a successful existing design and sets it aside in favor of something that they believe is better, rather than continuing to iterate on what they already have. It is often a brave decision that leaves the safety net behind and shows a company’s conviction in their ideas and designs. A notable example of this from the tech world would be Apple and Steve Jobs’ decision to kill off the wildly successful iPod Mini in favor of the new iPod Nano in 2005.
In case you haven’t noticed by now, I am a huge fan of both quality leather cases in general, and Vaja’s leather cases specifically. I’ve had the opportunity to review a few of their products over the years, including their Niko Wallet-Leather Case and Leather Back for the iPhone 7 Plus earlier this year. I have always come away impressed, and I’ll save you the suspense- this time out is no exception. Their Agenda MG for the iPhone X just adds a couple of new wrinkles to Vaja’s formula of consistent quality and attention to detail.
A few weeks ago, I took a look at a couple of battery packs from Griffin and Belkin for the Apple Watch. My interest in Belkin’s Valet Charger and Griffin’s Travel Power Bank was related to the increased battery demands that LTE and Apple Music streaming can place on the Watch’s battery life. Using these new features extensively will require topping off the battery during the day at times, and what better way than with compatible portable battery pack. With watchOS 4.2 now released, everyone with an LTE-enabled Watch can use Apple Music streaming and it wouldn’t surprise me if these battery packs suddenly become a lot more popular because of it.
Another Watch-compatible battery pack caught my eye when I was researching for the original review, and I was fortunate that the manufacturer was kind enough to send me one to take a look at this week. This is the BatteryPro from ElevationLab, which is also has an MFi-certified magnetic Watch charging pad built-in. This manufacturer is well-known for their high quality accessories, most notably the DraftTable for the iPad Pro (which I will also be testing over the next week for a coming review). After spending a few days using the BatteryPro, I can assure you that it is no exception, but another high-quality and very useful accessory in the ElevationLab lineup.
I’ll be completely honest in saying that I’ve never been a big fan of Apple’s case solutions, in general. I loved the original iPad Smart Covers for the iPads 2 through 4, but that’s about it. They changed that design to a setup that I don’t prefer, and I haven’t bought another one, or any other Apple cases or covers since. Despite my skepticism of past products, however, I have been eyeing some of their Leather iPhone case colors for a bit and thinking of picking one up. When I saw that the new Apple Leather Folio for the iPhone X had wallet-like storage pockets and was also the first case ever to bring sleep/wake functionality to the iPhone, it nudged me over the edge.
As is the case with many Apple products, the deciding factor comes down to whether it is worth the typically higher Apple price to you. This has been a barrier for me, since most of their previous cases were more about looks than compelling functionality, with the Smart Cover being a notable exception. However, the Leather Folio adds a bit more in the functionality column, so it was well worth taking a look at in my book.
Have you ever found yourself spending money on a case that you absolutely knew you wouldn’t keep using right when you get a new iPhone? I know I have. In my years as an iPhone user, I have found that there are case people and “naked” people when it comes to smartphone users. Most are one or the other, and from what I know, this usually doesn’t change. You are what you are, I guess. I fall somewhere on the case side, myself.
Some people don’t care what their phones look like or if the screen collects a crack here and there, and others will attempt to encase their phone in carbonite to prevent anything from ever coming into direct contact with the device, including their own fingers. If you fall on the case person side, then you are probably working on getting one for your iPhone X as I type this. I’m with you, as I ordered mine yesterday.