Friday
Sep032010

Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5vi

The SuperFi 5vi are a great sounding pair of in-ears. They deliver very detailed and clear sound for all music genres but they do lack a bit of bass. Those of you who need punchy and deep bass, the SuperFi 5vi will most likely not feed your hunger and will leave you wanting more. With that being said, after hours of burn-in time, the sound did improve a bit and so did the bass - still not deep but certainly sufficient for most people. The SuperFi 5vi are also a headset for the iPhone and BlackBerry with an inline mic and controls. The single button control cannot control the sound volume but only play/pause music and videos. When listening to music, you can double click to skip songs. You can answer calls, end calls and to bring up voice control on iPhone you simply click and hold for two seconds. 

A great thing about the Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5vi is that they come with Comply foam ear tips for maximum sound isolation and comfort. After using these foam tips, you won't want to use any of those regular rubber ear tips anymore. What's so good about these foam tips is that they fit everyone's ears perfectly because they form inside your ear to it's shape and block almost all background noise. I should note that after about a month of everyday use with the foam tips, you will need to replace them with new ones. 

The build quality could be a bit better. The SuperFi 5vi feel a bit cheap but they do look stunning. The cable is a tangle-free cable which works well. It's a bit thin but feels very durable so I wouldn't worry about it when exercising. You can wear these in-ears over your ears or under depending on your style. Half of the right monitor is colored red for easy and quick left/right identification, which is a very useful little detail. 

The SuperFi 5vi are one of the most clearest sounding pair Iv'e listend to. This allows for very detailed and undistorted or muffled sound. While they do lack in deep bass, I would highly recommend them. With the SuperFi 5vi included are: a hard carry case, Comply foam tips, various sized silicone tips and an ear war cleaning tool. Price $189.99. Available on Amazon for less. 

UltimateEars.com

Thursday
Sep022010

SGP Leather Pouch Vintage Edition for iPhone 4 Review

The SGP Leather Vintage Edition Pouch has got to be my most favorite leather flip style case for the iPhone 4. I've had this same exact case for the iPhone 3GS and it held fantastically well for over a year and counting, so I've got high hope for this iPhone 4 version. This leather case does not disappoint one bit, it's got great quality soft leather with a vintage look to it and it just holds up very well with use. The special thing about this vintage leather is that it shows your everyday use and scuffs easily, it's a very unique look. The name is a bit confusing because it is not a pouch really, it's a flip case with a flap that is reinforced with plastic to give you more protection for your screen when in your pocket or not in use. The iPhone 4 fits very snuggly inside and it feels very secure. 

The build quality is superb and it is fully hand made. Not only does this case look great, it offers great all around protection. The only exposed parts of your iPhone 4 are the middle side parts, however there is a nice lip on both top and bottom of the case make the iPhone recessed, so I wouldn't worry about that too much. Iv;e been using this case for quite some time now and I did not experience any issue. The flap closes very securely onto the top of the iPhone without harming it because of the soft lining it has inside, and while the flap is closed your speaker and mic are uncovered as well as your sleep/wake button and headphones jack. 

The SGP Leather Pouch has a generous cutout for the camera and flash and if that is not enough, SGP includes flash defuser rings that simply attach to the metal camera ring and greatly reduce any flash glare from entering the camera lens. You can use these rings with any other case or even without a case, and they work very well. I think that is a huge plus that SGP includes these flash defusing rings. While this case isn't much of a shock absorber, it will do great for most light drops and bumps, and of course it will protect your iPhone 4 from getting scratched. You do need to note that when you use your iPhone with the flap down, your front screen and sides will be exposed. You will need to get used to handling the case with the flap over and back, and once you do, it won't bother you so much. You can also just have the flap open without flipping it back and that also works well. You can get the SGP Leather Pouch without a logo on the front as well as in other colors and leather types. I would highly recommend SGP's Leather Pouches for the iPhone 4. Price $45.99.

SGPstore.com

Tuesday
Aug312010

Padster Bag for iPad

Padster isn't your ordinary iPad bag, it's more than that. The Padster is custom fitted to carry your iPad as well as other documents and accessories you might need for your travels. The Padster bag is made from high quality materials that you just notice right away after first using it. The flap that covers the front of the bag is fully made of quality soft leather and it has a nice heft to it so it does not move around at all when you're on the go. The whole design is very straight to the point giving you fast and easy access to your important main compartment where your iPad is. The way the iPad is held inside the Padster is by a padded neoprene sleeve that will also fit most slim cases including the Apple iPad Case. In the interior of the Padster you will find a large zippered compartment and a few individual pockets for various items. There are also two large zippered compartments on both sides of the Padster, the front being covered by the leather flap. 

The Padster is a simple, sharp looking slim bag which goes very well with both casual and business attire. Carrying around the Padster is comfortable even though it's strap is not padded, however it all depends on the weight carried and since the Padster is made to carry your iPad with some accessories, it won't be an issue for most people including myself. The strap feels very well made and the nylon material is nice and thick, which in term provides great long term durability. The Padster's exterior are made from high quality 1680D ballistic nylon that covers most of the back side, sides and middle bottom with cotton-blend lining. A soft-milled full grain cowhide leather covers both bottom sides and of course the front flap. 

The Padster bag feels very well made and it just works flawlessly on the go. I really love the quick and easy access I have with the option to even more securely zip up my main compartment for when I don't need to access my bag often. I was able to fit my iPad with my Apple Wireless Keyboard as well has a charger and some paperwork with much more room to spare. There are no obtrusive logos on the Padster except for a pair of unnoticeable embossed written logos on both the side strap anchors. This bag is the most useful and stunningly great looking iPad bag Iv'e seen and used. Price $165.

Padster.net
Monday
Aug302010

Padacs Largo iPad Case

Padacs currently have several iPad folio cases available for purchase, and today this review focuses on their newest addition to the lineup, the Largo iPad case. This case is similar in design to the Incase convertible jacket, as both cases have a fold-back mechanism that allows the iPad to act as a stand very securely. This case is available in black and tan, and is made of synthetic leather. The front flap is secured by an elastic band, so this may either be a plus for people who are worried about using magnets, or a negative for those who would find it annoying.

The case stands by having half of the back side folding back on itself and resting on the cover side of the iPad (looking at the pictures below will be much easier). Unlike the Incase that uses grooves in the base to rest the iPad in, this case has a line of small Velcro teeth lined along the left hand side. These Velcro teeth are unnoticeable, and they work by gripping onto the soft lining that covers the base. I was slightly skeptical at how well this design would work, but it turns out that it is very stable and you can easily press the screen without moving the iPad while in stand mode. The only downside to this kind of case is that because it has to be more stable, the case will take much more space on a desk (unlike the Apple case which only has a small portion of the case on a surface). The typing mode is a decent angle, but is it not quite as sturdy as cases that uses the Apple case function. This case does add some bulk to the iPad, so when looking around for a folio case you should consider how much the thickness will affect you.

The outer layer synthetic leather feels nice and doesn’t smell like some other cases do, while the inside fabric is soft enough not to scratch your iPad. On the down side, when the case is placed down with the cover folded directly back, the inside material can attract some dust and dirt, although not to the extent of the Apple case. The iPad is slid inside from the spine side of the case, and secured by two small elastic straps that are secured with Velcro. This elastic is also what is used around the other sides of the iPad to keep it in. I found that the elastic and inner fabric takes away from the business type look of the case, and the elastic provides limited protection for the sides of your iPad. A large percentage of the iPad’s sides are exposed, so if you’re looking for a completely covered case, this might not be the one for you. On a positive, the border around the iPad leaves approximately 1cm of the iPad’s black border exposed, so for those don’t like cases that come all the way up to the screen, there’s no problems here. All ports are accessible and relatively easy to reach.

The Padacs Largo case is generally stylish looking case, with a good stand function for those movie lovers who wish to keep the iPad upright. This however comes at the price of added thickness, and you should consider whether you care about having the sides exposed. It is available for $54.95AUD from Padac’s website.

Padacs.com

Sunday
Aug292010

Elago S4 Breathe Case for iPhone 4

The Elago S4 Breathe case is a snap-on case for the iPhone 4 with a unique look and feel. The S4 is perforated all over the back and sides with many tiny holes which allow the glossy back of your iPhone to shine thru. The S4 has a matte soft-touch coating that provides good grip. Because of it's snap-on style design, the S4 is very easy to install and take off. I would recommend taking off the S4 case once a week in order to clean your iPhone from any dust that might be accumulating over time, you can also use compressed air. The S4's camera and flash cutouts are both circuler and do not interfere with performance at all. 

I really like the slim feeling of the S4 while it's on the iPhone and the soft-touch feel it has. If you don't like bulky cases, the S4 is a really slim profiled case that offers good scratch protection. You won't find any sharp corners or edges on the S4, it's really well made. There is a very slight lip over that screen and covers the iPhone's metal band. The top and bottom are fully opened as well as the side volume and silent switch which are very easy to get to. There is also a slight lip at the top and bottom which go beyond the iPhone, however your iPhone will still remain exposed. If you're using any skins on the back or sides of your iPhone, you will need to take them off in order to get a complete and secure fit with the S4 case. The S4 isn't the best choice for someone who usually drops their devices. The S4 Breathe is available in white, silver and black. Price $24.99. Available now for $12.

Elagostore.com 

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Saturday
Aug282010

Belkin iPad Sleeve Cases

Belkin is currently one of the main contenders in the iPod/iPhone case market, so it’s no surprise that they have a wide assortment of iPad cases available to protect your expensive toy. Of the types of cases they offer, today we’ll be looking at three different designs of iPad sleeves. Sleeve cases are designed to put your iPad in travelling, and not intended to be used while using the iPad itself. The three designs offered by Belkin are the Pleat Sleeve for iPad, Contour Sleeve for iPad and the Vue Sleeve for iPad.

All three cases are made of durable neoprene inside and out, and the inside feels soft so there’s no need to worry about a naked iPad getting scratched up. Each has a neoprene ‘lip’ underneath the zipper that prevents the zipper from scratching the sides of your iPad, a well thought out addition. The top half of the sleeve unzips, and the inclusion of two zippers makes it easier to open and close these cases. All have a Belkin logo on the bottom right corner, but from here on in, the cases are all unique with their own strengths and weaknesses.

Pleat Sleeve for iPad 

This certain case is available in four colours, grey, blue, black and purple. The Pleat is designed so the front has pleated layers, which is intended to expand as you put items in the somewhat hidden pocket. The layers don’t expand much, but despite this the pocket is able to hold a generous amount of items (I easily added my earphones, mobile and wallet). The zipper for the pocket can be tucked away neatly between two of the layers, making it unnoticeable and giving the front a more streamlined look. The front pleated designed looks nice, although it may not suit some people’s tastes. To prevent items in the pocket from damaging the iPad screen, the neoprene layer separating them is reinforced with a hard but bendable panel. The biggest difference for this case is the size, as it is larger than the other two. Because of this, it can accommodate an iPad within a play through case such as the Belkin Grip Vue.

Vue Sleeve for iPad

The Vue Sleeve is available in purple or black, and is quite similar to the Pleat sleeve. It also has a similar capacity pocket and a reinforced panel between the pocket and the screen, but is a smaller fit and will not accommodate an iPad in a case (a slim case such as the Switcheasy Nude might fit). The front pocket is clear, so you will be able to see your contents. Other than this, the case has the same functionalities as the Pleat sleeve and available for the same price.

Contour Sleeve for iPad

The final case is quite different from the other two. It lacks a pocket at the front (therefore no reinforced panel either), it’s the same smaller size as the Vue sleeve, and the front has many raised silicon waves running horizontally. The wavy pattern may appeal to others, but to me it doesn’t quite compare to the simplistic looks of the Pleat and Vue sleeves. It also feels more flimsy than the other two, while still costing a $20 premium over the other two cases.

Belkin’s iPad sleeve lineup is guaranteed to have at least one case that will appeal to everyone. My preference of the lot would have to be the Pleat sleeve, as I regularly use play-through cases and the compatibility is great. However, the style of the Vue sleeve appeals to me the most, as the wavy lines on front pocket look stylish yet still simplistic. I find the Contour case to be somewhat of a letdown compared to the other cases, as it lacks the feature of a pocket, and feels less protective of my iPad. At a price of $59.99USD compared to the $39.99USD of the Pleat and Vue, I would only recommend it to people who are purely looking for the style of the design. Follow the link to see these and many other great iPad cases on Belkin’s website.

Belkin.comPleatVueContour

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Friday
Aug272010

iSkin Vu for iPad

It's not everyday you see a case like this around. This is the iSkin Vu case for the iPad and it isn't your typical iPad case, this case is an eye catcher. The Vu looks amazing with it's semi-transparant color combination and unique detailed pattern that is found all over the case. The Vu features a hybrid combination of hard clear plastic and a colored TPU material which is also known as Thermoplastic, a semi-flexible rubbery plastic. This combination of hard plastic and TPU materials make the Vu a great all around protective case against bumps, scratches and even small drops. iSkin's Vu has Microban protection to help keep the colors from fading and discoloring over time, and it also helps keep germs off. If you're using Apple's iPad Dock, the Vu has a back dock cover which slides on and off do allow for docking.

While looks are great, function is always a big thing with cases, and the Vu does have a few negative aspects. The Vu has a pretty thick TPU that covers part of the iPad's bezel and fully covers the bottom home button area. This is great for protection but it also makes for very hard and somewhat frustrating installation. Once I got the Vu on my iPad I noticed that there is a good lip all around the iPad's bezel, however these lips did not completely sit flush on the glass surface. Because of the thickness of the material it looks like it lifts a bit off the surface. This isn't a big issue with comfort but it does make it a bit hard to press down on the side volume buttons because they are fully covered. Also, the volume and rotation switch are covered with flaps that you need to dig in with your finger nails just to get to those covered areas. 

The Vu features a back dock cover which you can remove in order to dock your iPad with Apple's iPad Dock. But this cover is a big pain to get in and off and it just made me not even want to take it off ever. But once you do have this dock cover installed on the Vu, it does not completely stay flush with the seem that it connects to. I do hope this does get fixed after a while. Overall the Vu looks fantastic when it's on the iPad and it also feels great to hold with it's textured patters all over the back on the front of the case. Both the texture and the TPU material gives you a good grip. The Vu does not attract any lint or dust so it keeps looking good. For $64.99 I would expect the Vu to not have any of these issues mentioned, but it certainly gives you that great protection and good looks. The Vu is available in seven colors. Price $64.99.

iSkin.com

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Thursday
Aug262010

Padacs Aksent High-Definition In-Ear Earphones

In-ear headphones hovering around the $60-80 range are often the most popular candidate for people wanting to replace sub-standard stock earbuds, so Padacs has taken a shot at this market, specifically for iPad, iPhone and iPod owners. Enter the Padacs Aksent, a pair of in-ear headphones including volume play/pause and volume control buttons and a microphone, priced at $69.95AUD. These earphones are a great step up from the stock Apple earbuds and will no doubt satisfy anyone looking for a decent upgrade.

These earphones are encased in a very stylish looking chrome shell, and the foam tips’ black colour complements it nicely. The symmetrical cable is also black and has a rubbery texture, similar to that of the Sennheiser CX300s. This cable is not specifically tangle proof, but it does relatively well at keeping tangles to a minimum. The 3.5mm stereo jack features a slim profile, so owners of iPhones/iPods with cases can rest easy that the plug will fit. The other major feature of this model is the buttons and microphone attached to a black housing that lies directly before the wire splits into two.

The sound quality of these earphones is great for the price range, delivering rich sounds through its drivers and directly into the ear canal. The earphones produce a powerful but rich bass, while the treble is still clear and is not distorted. For those who don’t enjoy big bass, these might have too much of a punch behind them, but for most the sound is a clear overall blend that produces excellent sounds with almost all music types. It should be noted that for good bass response, it’s essential that the foam tips provide a good sound seal to achieve the best sound. The included tips should be a comfortable fit for most, and the best way to insert the earphones is to compress the foam, place it in the ear and allow the foam to expand to the shape of your ear.

There’s one thing that I should clarify, although most people probably wouldn’t mind this. The ‘volume control’ is a slider, and rather than directly changing the iPod’s volume, it lets you change between 0% to whatever volume your iPod is currently set at. This isn’t as accurate as having two individual buttons like the Apple earbuds, but in return it makes it much simpler to change the volume. For me, this wasn’t an issue, and the main button I used was the pause button. Like the Apple headphones, double clicking this button will change to the next song, which is a feature I absolutely love. The ‘remote’ is quite large, but this will only be a problem if you plan on using these while going for a run.

The Padacs Aksent earphones are a highly recommendable pair of earphones, and while the remote design could use some tweaking, for the price the sound quality will not fail to impress. Included is also a small carry bag, plus a shirt clip to keep the cable from moving excessively. If they sound like a pair to suit you, check out the link below to see the item’s web page.

Padacs.com

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