Mac|Life - Reviews http://www.maclife.com/articles/22/feed en iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus Review http://www.maclife.com/article/iphone_hardware/iphone-6-iphone-6-plus-review <!--paging_filter--><p>There are countless other reviews of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus online, many of which laboriously compare each and every tech spec to all the other phones on the market. If you’d like to delve into an especially thorough point-by-point examination, I recommend <a href="http://www.techradar.com/us/reviews/phones/mobile-phones/iphone-6-1264565/review" target="_blank">this 11-page opus</a> from our sister site TechRadar. In light of that, I’m going to skip the tech talk and get straight to the point: iPhone 6 is awesome. Shocker, huh? Wait, I’ve got another one for you: it’s the best iPhone ever made. Gasp!</p><p><img src="/files/u324771/iphone6_review_0.png" width="620" height="145" /></p><p>Neither statement should come as a surprise, since every iPhone has been better than the last. As you would expect, the iPhone 6 takes better pictures, has a faster processor, is thinner, etc. None of these areas show <em>drastic</em> improvement, but they’re noticeably better. Like I said, all of this is what you’d expect from a new iPhone, so I’m going to focus on what you can’t predict as easily; what — when it comes down to it — matters most: how it feels to hold and operate in everyday use.</p><p>The biggest changes with this year’s models are size and shape. The iPhone 6 Plus has clearly made the biggest jump in this area, but even the standard 4.7-inch model feels a lot larger in the hand than previous versions. That’s because this is the first iPhone that can’t be entirely operated in one hand. Your thumb can almost reach the opposite top corner, but you need to shift your grip to do so. It’s totally workable, even if using the phone this way isn’t quite as comfortable as before, and I’m pretty sure the trade-off is worth it. I’ll have to live with the phone a little longer to be sure, but I think it will be hard to go back to the smaller screen once I’m used to iPhone 6; my 5s already seems small to me now.</p><p>The extra screen space is not only prettier and easier to look at, but it is sometimes used to fit in some extra functionality. The Home screen, for example, has room for an extra row of apps. And when held sideways, the keyboard gains two new columns of keys that include arrow keys, an undo button, and quick access to periods and commas. Or if simply seeing your phone better is the priority, you can select Zoom view in Settings to blow everything up.</p><p>Screen size is ultimately the only thing you need to look at when considering iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus — do you want a bigger screen, and if so, how big do you want it? The Plus has a couple unique selling points: optical image stabilization for photos and videos, and select apps that more closely resemble their iPad counterparts with split-screen view or a few extra onscreen details. But for me, I have to be able to fit a phone in my pocket. The regular iPhone 6 has plenty of room in my loose jeans pocket, but the Plus pokes out a little when I sit down. It’s the perfect size for a purse, though.</p><p>To be honest, neither phone is a real game-changer. In fact, varying competing phones could give you a bigger screen, higher resolution, longer battery life, or a faster processor. But none of those phones do it all; they each have at least one significant flaw, whereas Apple’s devices are at least “great” in every area. Plus, they run iOS 8, a massive advantage over Android or anything else in my book.</p><p>The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is a lovely phone, but if you’re not yet eligible for an upgrade, I wouldn’t sweat it. The Plus is probably more compelling if you’ve been waiting for Apple to enter the phablet race. There really isn’t anything significant to complain about with either, so if you’re able to upgrade, treat yourself and enjoy life.</p><p><em>Be sure to check out our <a href="http://www.maclife.com/article/news/iphone-6-iphone-6-plus-details-features-date-price" target="_self">iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus Buyer's Guide</a>, plus our list of <a href="http://www.maclife.com/article/features/50-ios-8-tips-and-tricks" target="_self">50 iOS 8 Tips and Tricks</a>.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Apple </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>apple.com</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $199/$299 for 16GB, $299/$399 for 64GB, $399/$499 for 128GB, all with a two-year contract </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Specs:</strong> A8 chip with 64-bit architecture, M8 motion coprocessor, 4.7-inch/5.5-inch 1334x750/1920x1080 Retina display, dual-band Wi-Fi, LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, 8-megapixel 1080p iSight camera with LED flash, 1.2-megapixel 720p FaceTime camera, Lightning port. Includes Lightning-to-USB cable, USB charger, and Apple EarPods.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>The extra display sizes make everything better. Slimmer, sexier tech. No more need to "go Android" for a phablet.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>One-handed operation takes a hit with the standard model; forget it with the plus. Even the 4.7-inch version is a little harder to pocket.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/iphone_hardware/iphone-6-iphone-6-plus-review#comments Reviews Apple iphone 6 iPhone 6 Plus iPhone Hardware Review iPhone Sat, 20 Sep 2014 01:01:33 +0000 Chris Slate 20664 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Hitman Absolution: Elite Edition http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_hitman_absolution_elite_edition <!--paging_filter--><p>Hitman Absolution is the latest in a long series of games to put you in the shoes of master assassin Agent 47. This time he turns on his old employers, attempting to save a young girl from living a life like his; fortunately, you don’t really need to know anything about the previous titles to get a handle on this one.</p><p>The USP of the Hitman series is that each mission is a miniature sandbox, letting you complete it how you want. Killing your targets without detection is the aim, but while you can simply shoot and run away, exploring the areas reveals more creative options: a box of rat poison, a gas cylinder, a loose wire.... These tie into a score system, with the most elaborate and silent kills netting the most points.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/09/hitmanabsolution_620.png" /></p><p>The game is capable of excellent fluidity (though we recommend playing with a controller), letting you sneak through multiple routes, moving from cover to cover and taking disguises. However, while the systems do make the game appear open and free, they usually require a lot of planning and irritating repetition to get the high scores. It feels like solving the mechanics of a puzzle, rather than playing as a skillful badass. Your foes do at least make life difficult for you, with improvisation needed for success in the short term, and foresight rewarded if you’re going for high scores. There’s always fun to be had, though — you can play it your way if you simply want to progress through the game’s plot.</p><p>It’s a shame, then, that the story is — to put it bluntly — unimaginitive, annoying, and sexist. We particularly balked at a scene where Agent 47 murders his old colleague while she’s in the shower, and then proceeds to have lots of gratuitous flashbacks to her, yes, in the shower. It’s the worst kind of misogynistic titillation. The game carries on through the ‘crap story’ checkboxes, with a sweary villain, a level in a strip club, and every female character existing solely to offer ample chest, and little clothing.&nbsp;</p><p>Still, the core of the game isn’t the story, but replaying the levels and going for perfect kills. Variety is added though ‘contracts’ given by other players, in which they can set tasks for you. This produces more unpredictable situations, and with some excellently flexible levels available, it can be tense but great fun. It’s a good-looking game too, with the crowd scenes being particularly impressive.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Hitman Absolution is good, but the overall experience is flawed. While it can make you feel like a true badass, it nevertheless stumbles over its execrable story and some irritating levels.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Hitman Absolution: Elite Edition</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Feral Interactive </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://www.feralinteractive.com" target="_blank">www.feralinteractive.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $25 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>OS X 10.9 or later, 2GHz processor, 4GB RAM, 512MB graphics card, 24GB HDD space</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Smooth assassin sneakery. Some great level design.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Trite, sexist story. Can encourage overly safe play.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_hitman_absolution_elite_edition#comments Reviews Hitman Absolution Mac Games Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:54:37 +0000 Matt Bolton 20652 at http://www.maclife.com Review: iShowU Studio http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_ishowu_studio <!--paging_filter--><p>Want to record what's happening on your Mac for everyone to see? iShowU Studio certainly isn't the first app that's allowed you to create screencasts, but it offers a comprehensive tool set for you to capture what’s happening on your screen so you can add footage, annotations, and soundtracks. You can then export the finished thing to a file or to YouTube or Vimeo.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/09/ishowu_620.png" width="620" height="388" /></p><p>Recording footage is simple: open the app and hit the big red “record” button. You can also select a microphone and camera to record a voiceover and a second stream of video at the same time. Performance is good, with no obvious frame-dropping. When you stop recording, the app opens up a new window with your recorded footage to start editing. You can easily trim the beginning and end, cut, copy and paste elements of the video, and add in additional footage. The interface is easy to get to grips with, too.</p><p>There are plenty of tools for annotating your video with captions, shapes for highlighting specific areas, and the ability to pan and zoom around your screencast. There’s a huge range of options available for each annotation type, allowing you to do things like fade text in, add shadows and reflections to it, and much more. You can also freeze frames and correct color.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> iShowU Studio combines an easy-to-use interface with powerful features to make a very good package.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>iShowU Studio</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Shinywhitebox </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://www.shinywhitebox.com" target="_blank">www.shinywhitebox.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $90 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>OS X 10.9 or later, 70MB disk space, 4MB RAM</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Easy to capture footage. Lots of powerful features. Good performance.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Slightly pricey.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_ishowu_studio#comments Reviews iShowU recording Screen Capture Screencast video capture video editing Mac Tue, 16 Sep 2014 17:40:03 +0000 Ian Betteridge 20640 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Screens 3 http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_screens_3 <!--paging_filter--><p>Screens is a VNC (virtual network computing) app that enables you to control your Mac (and, for what it’s worth, also PC and Linux boxes) from just about any device over any network connection. Screens 3 is technically an update, but one that required a complete rewrite of the previous version, so by any measure it’s a new application. In fact, there's also an iOS 7 version that can be purchased separately.</p><p>Controlling a computer from afar is nothing new, but the best VNC applications let you access devices quickly too. Here, Screens 3 is already up to speed; our local network machines were recognized as soon as the software was installed on one MacBook. From then on it was just a case of entering the username and passwords to take control.&nbsp;</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/09/screens3_620.png" /></p><p>As with all screen-sharing tools, the speed of your connection is key. Over a local network you’re fine, but on a slower connection things can get somewhat juddery. However, the fact that you can still access your stuff on a Mac from an iPhone with a flaky 3G connection when you’re halfway up a hill on a rainy day should temper any disappointment with less-than-ideal screen rendering. Screens isn’t perfect, but it’s usually good enough.</p><p>Some might balk at the price of $29.99 for the Mac version and $19.99 for the iOS client, but then this sort of application does rely upon you having more than just a one-off need for it. If you often need to control a Mac remotely, the price shouldn’t bother you.&nbsp;</p><p>Screens 3 is a refined product that’s well designed and works well in exactly the areas you need it to. If you’re looking for a good way to connect to your home Mac it’s an excellent tool. It works quickly, and offers a good level of options and tools without going totally overboard and increasing the overall complexity of the application.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> A good update to the Screens suite that enables easy screen sharing across platforms.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Screens 3 for Mac</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Edovia </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://www.edovia.com">www.edovia.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $30 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>OS X 10.9 or later</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Really simple setup. Well-designed interface. Has an iOS client too.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>A tad expensive for one-off users.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_screens_3#comments Reviews remote access Screens 3 VNC iPad iPhone iPod Mac Thu, 11 Sep 2014 18:02:41 +0000 Christopher Brennan 20616 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Beats by Dre Studio Wireless http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_beats_dre_studio_wireless <!--paging_filter--><p>Beats headphones are known for their big bass, but can a more subtle sound win over the fans? This second iteration of the Beats Studio Wireless (2014) headphones is completely redesigned inside and out. The new look is certainly not as eye-catching as before, but we prefer the subtler appearance.</p><p>While headphones have to look good, the main reason you’re spending hundreds of dollars is incredible sound that you can wear every day. Here the Studio Wireless excels.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/09/beatstudiowireless_620.png" width="620" height="479" /></p><p>The redesigned ear-cups are extremely comfortable, and we found long stretches of listening were possible without any pinching or aching. One thing that’s lacking is the inline remote on the cable, which feels cheap and susceptible to eventual wear and tear. However, you’ll mostly be using these wire-free so it’s more of an annoyance than a drawback.</p><p>Sound quality is fantastic, especially at volume. Much like the harder you push a racing car the more it grips to the road, the louder you push these headphones, the better they sound.Bass feels reduced over last year’s version, which will be a relief for some. Meanwhile the mid-range has been boosted, resulting in a more balanced sound overall.</p><p><strong>THe bottom line.</strong> Niggles aside, these are great headphones, if you don’t mind paying for the Beats name.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Beats by Dre Studio Wireless</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Beats Electronics/Apple </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://www.beatsbydre.com" target="_blank">www.beatsbydre.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $380 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Device with a Bluetooth connection or a 3.5mm audio output minijack</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Great new design. Comfortable. Excellent battery life.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Less bassy sound. Louder noise-cancelling hiss. Madly expensive.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_beats_dre_studio_wireless#comments Reviews accessory Audio Beats by Dre Studio Wireless bluetooth Headphones iPad iPhone iPod Mac Wed, 10 Sep 2014 18:49:08 +0000 Thomas Tamblyn 20611 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Undercover 6 http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_undercover_6 <!--paging_filter--><p>Being robbed is incredibly stressful, especially if you lose your Mac, but with Orbicule’s Undercover installed you stand a decent chance of getting it back.</p><p>Simply log in to your account at <a href="https://undercoverhq.com" target="_blank">undercoverhq.com</a> and report your computer as stolen, and this lightweight, invisible app will then begin gathering evidence as soon as it’s used or goes online. Keystrokes are logged, photos are taken with the webcam, and screenshots of the desktop are saved. It even monitors your Mac’s location — information that you can bundle into a theft report for the police.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/09/undercover6_620.png" /></p><p>Version 6 is a free upgrade for existing users, and makes two key advances on previous releases. A new, optional feature called Undercover Watch activates as soon as your Mac is used outside your regular network, or if someone logs into a dummy account. Evidence is gathered and an email alert is sent to you immediately — possibly before you even realize the Mac is missing. If it’s being used legitimately, you can just close the report.</p><p>Unfortunately, this feature isn’t very flexible. You can only identify one network as safe, and if you have a family license, your chosen network and dummy account apply across all your Macs, and cannot be set up independently.</p><p>Orbicule’s theft recovery service has been beefed up, too. Staff now liaise with you and the police to help you recover your stolen computer.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Great at what it does and the lack of a subscription fee is welcome, but more features would be good too.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Undercover 6</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Orbicule </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://www.orbicule.com" target="_blank">www.orbicule.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $49 (single Mac), $59 (up to five Macs) </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>OS X 10.6 or later, 20.2MB disk space</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Very lightweight. Gathers useful information. Easy to use.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Undercover Watch is limited.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_undercover_6#comments Reviews anti-theft Recovery Security undercover Mac Thu, 04 Sep 2014 20:41:34 +0000 Ian Osborne 20577 at http://www.maclife.com Review: MacBook Air (mid-2014) http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review-macbook-air-mid2014 <!--paging_filter--><p>The MacBook Air has really come into its own with later revisions and price cuts, which is why, despite being an amazing computer, it’s mildly disappointing that the mid-2014 model is a very minor refresh, with just two significant changes. The processors are a mere 0.1GHz faster: now 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 CPUs are used throughout the range, replacing the 1.3GHz chips inside the <a href="http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/11inch_2013_macbook_air_review" target="_self">mid-2013</a> models.</p><p>Perhaps more significantly, the prices are down by $100 across the range, including both the entry-level 11-inch and 13-inch models, and the high-end versions that boast 256GB of storage. Everything else about them is the same, but since they were already outstanding, and the price drop brings the entire range below $1,200, this is hardly an indictment.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/09/macbookair2014_620.png" width="620" height="396" /></p><p>As you’d expect, benchmark results are barely changed from last year. Testing the higher-end models in each of the screen sizes, we found our Cinebench rendering tests crept ahead by a few points and battery life was 20-35 minutes longer. Whatever the model, you can still use an Air all day on a single charge.</p><p>While the current MacBook Air is undoubtedly excellent, rumor has it a new Retina version is coming soon. Could it make more sense to wait for that, even though it’s likely to be more expensive? Or maybe look for a clearance model from the 2013 range, which is likely to be even cheaper than the price-dropped 2014 line, and only marginally slower? Whichever you buy, you’re getting an incredible machine.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> The MacBook Air gives amazing portability and all-day battery without compromising on power.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>MacBook Air (mid-2014)</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Apple, Inc. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://www.apple.com">www.apple.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $1099 (11-inch), $1199 (13-inch) </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Outstanding battery life. Extremely portable. This 2014 release gets a price cut.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Is a Retina model coming soon that could render this one obsolete?</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review-macbook-air-mid2014#comments Reviews 2014 Hardware laptop macbook air Mac Tue, 02 Sep 2014 19:11:00 +0000 Ian Osborne 20564 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Spot Trace http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_spot_trace <!--paging_filter--><p>Own something valuable and potentially mobile and prone to theft? A motorcycle, boat, car, RV or even an ATV? Wouldn’t it be good to track its position and even receive automated alerts within moments should it unexpectedly move? Enter the Spot Trace personal GPS tracking device, a multi-purpose GPS gizmo the size of a box of matches &nbsp;that works in conjunction with your Mac and iOS device.</p><p>The basics of the Spot Trace involve a small black box containing the GPS hardware and motion detection. It’s powered by four standard AAA batteries (provided), delivering up to 18 months of battery life. You also get a mounting cradle with a quartet of sharp screws and a few adhesive pads. That gives you the option of attaching the cradle permanently or simply sticking the device on in a more temporary way.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/08/spottrace_620.png" /></p><p>As compact as the Spot Trace is, it’s worth remembering that this is a GPS device and so requires line of sight to function. Global Telesat Communications, which manufactures the device, says it can pick up satellites through fibreglass, glass and fabric. But it won’t operate through metal. That places some limitations on where you can locate the device.</p><p>Once configured, Spot Trace automatically sends a text and or email with your asset’s GPS coordinates when movement is detected. You can also view and track online via a web interface. Various alerts can be set up too, including for movement, if the device has been turned off, or if the battery is running low. You can also manage and track multiple devices from one account.</p><p>The core functionality works via satellite, including both GPS tracking and sending alerts. So the device does not require an Internet connection, allowing you to track objects beyond cellular range, for instance on the open ocean. If all that seems like a good deal, here’s the snag. You’ll also need a service plan to use the device. One year costs $99.95, with the Extreme Tracking upgrade another $99.99. The basic plan allows tracking every five, 10, 30 or 60 mins. The Extreme tracking plan improves on this, reducing the intervals to 2.5 mins.&nbsp;</p><p>Both initial setup and the various web-based interfaces can be a little confusing, although it’s not entirely impenetrable. We weren’t sure whether the device supported being attached to an object that was located out of satellite range. In other words, could you use the Spot Trace on a car in a locked garage and rely on it to wake up should the car leave that location? As it turns out, the answer is no.&nbsp;</p><p>But for the most part, the Spot Trace works pretty well. During our testing, we received email alerts almost immediately once our test asset (a car) started moving. If you’re wondering about accuracy, it’s in line with general GPS devices. But since it doesn’t use roads as reference points, you’ll find the accuracy isn’t quite as good as an in-car GPS. As for battery life, that’s tricky for us to judge definitively given the large time frames. However, it’s claimed the absolute worst case scenario for tracking a device that’s constantly moving is three days.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> For tracking large objects, such as vehicles, the Spot Trace could be just the thing for peace of mind. That said, likely annual fees for the basic service plan suggest that this probably isn’t a device for easy use by general consumers.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Spot Trace</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Spot </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://www.findmespot.com" target="_blank">www.findmespot.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $99.95 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Mac with an Internet connection, any iOS device (for tracking)</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Very compact. Wide range of uses. Long battery life. Easy online tracking.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Expensive service plans. Doesn’t work out of GPS range. Can be tricky to install and set up.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_spot_trace#comments Reviews accessory location Spot Trace tracking iPad iPhone iPod Mac Thu, 28 Aug 2014 18:37:05 +0000 Jeremy Laird 20544 at http://www.maclife.com Review: ReadKit 2.4 http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_readkit_24 <!--paging_filter--><p>It’s been almost a year since Google brought down the shutters on its RSS aggregator Reader, simultaneously opening the doors for a new web feeder to emerge victorious. But that never happened, partly because of users’ loyalties to a variety of existing sync services offering free and paid-for features. Fortunately, Readkit works to corral all of these services into one neat desktop interface, and with the arrival of v2.4 it does “read it later” better than ever.</p><p>Support has been added for syncing Fever, NewsBlur, Delicious and Pinboard, the latter two allowing you to keep offline copies of bookmarked sites. But even if you use none of the supported services, ReadKit now has its own native RSS sync engine, and it works flawlessly.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/08/readkit_620.png" width="620" height="388" /></p><p>The interface retains its pared-down, clean-cut look, with features like Focus mode making reading a pleasure — but navigation is now even easier thanks to keyboard shortcuts that let you jump from article to sidebar, and collapse and expand folders in a snap.&nbsp;</p><p>ReadKit also keeps separate preference profiles for each account — even multiple accounts within the same service — so if you like to group or sort feeds differently to those piped in from Pocket, for instance, now you can. ReadKit’s performance held up admirably when we drag-and-dropped articles between different feeds, set up smart folders and drilled down to news stories using tags. And the proverbial cherry on this digital cake? The inline match highlighting upon a search query.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> ReadKit brings RSS content into a single interface, making even the dullest feed a pleasure to read.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>ReadKit 2.4</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Webin </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://webinhq.com" target="_blank">http://webinhq.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $9.99 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Mac OS 10.8 or later, 64-bit processor</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Honed interface. Broad service support. Speedy performance. Multiple accounts.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>None to speak of.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_readkit_24#comments Reviews read-it-later reader ReadKit RSS Mac Tue, 26 Aug 2014 18:41:27 +0000 Tim Hardwick 20530 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Jawbone UP24 http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review-jawbone-up24 <!--paging_filter--><p>The smart and sporty Jawbone UP24 is the most fashionable, lightweight and comfortable fitness tracking wearable you can buy, and it has a beautiful app to match. Of course, some functionality is sacrificed in the name of vanity. For starters, there’s no display on the device itself for on-demand workout stats or a web-based portal to chart the quantified self data it silently collects. All metrics have to be synced to an iOS app, but the UP24 improves over the original UP with Bluetooth wireless syncing to make data uploads almost effortless. Battery life takes a hit, but it will still last an impressive seven days.</p><p>As its name suggests, this new version of the UP can truly be worn 24 hours a day without the need to take it off between syncs. The flexible bracelet is coated with the same incredibly smooth non-latex rubber and if you want to check your fitness stats, you need to fire up the companion iOS app, which is full of rich color and helpful wellness tips, plus detailed activity and sleep analysis tracking options.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/08/jawbone_620.png" width="620" height="524" /></p><p>Your activity is represented by a vertical orange bar that shoots up with more physical movement and is based on the number of steps taken and miles or kilometers traveled. Additional readouts include active time, longest active time, longest idle time, total calories burned, active calories burned and resting calories burned. It’s almost the full spectrum of fitness metrics. Flights of stairs climbed is the one missing stat. Unlike the Fitbit Force, there’s no altimeter sensor inside.</p><p>But the Jawbone UP24 is arguably a more accurate tracker than the Force and its idle alerts cause the bracelet to vibrate whenever you’re inactive for a set amount of time. Other exercise motivators include “Today I Will” challenges (get to sleep earlier, drink more water, walk further, etc.) and the ability to find teammates among your contacts. The UP24’s sleep tracking capabilities, meanwhile, chart whether you’re sound asleep, restless or awake in bed. It’s surprisingly accurate for a fitness bracelet, which can also replace your alarm clock with silent, wrist-vibrating wake-up calls.</p><p>The Jawbone UP24’s fashionable, lightweight design makes it easier to wear for a full 24 hours and the activity and sleep tracking metrics make it useful day and night. Our only gripe? The 2.5mm power jack makes it fiddly to charge — it comes with a 2.5mm-to-USB charger, but it’s too easy to lose.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> With Bluetooth, the UP24 is $50 more expensive than the original, but until Apple releases an iWatch, it remains one of the slickest fitness wearables you can snap onto your wrist.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Jawbone UP24</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jawbone </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://www.jawbone.com/up" target="_blank">www.jawbone.com/up</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $149.99 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>iPhone 4s and newer, iPod touch 5th gen and newer, iPad 3rd gen and newer, or iPad mini and newer</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Wireless syncing added. Stylish and lightweight. Soft rubber for comfort. iOS compatible.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>No display for on-demand stats. No web app. Fiddly 2.5mm stereo jack for charging.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review-jawbone-up24#comments Reviews fitness fitness tracker Health Jawbone Jawbone UP24 iPad iPhone iPod Thu, 21 Aug 2014 18:14:05 +0000 Matt Swider 20509 at http://www.maclife.com