Mac|Life - Reviews http://www.maclife.com/articles/22/feed en Periscope Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/periscope-review <!--paging_filter--><p>Apps like this are tough to judge. The service is a perfect 2015 blend of brilliance and bafflement. With Periscope, you can live-broadcast video to the world (or to specific people); they can watch, like and write comments on your stream. The performance is good, and while the usual flurry of “pointless!” and “humanity’s doomed!” greeted the app at launch, experimenting with your own Periscopes and watching others (people you follow or strangers) can be a fascinating and rewarding experience.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/07/periscope_620.jpg" width="620" height="542" /></p><p>The app itself is...okay. With more than a few dozen viewers, comments can whizz by too fast, plus we’d like the option to inset your front camera’s feed in the rear’s (so you could show something in front while explaining/reading comments). There are also limitations (such as portrait only) to deal with, including some that aren’t explained, but it’s still fun to broadcast and watch.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Sounds a bit pointless at first, but Periscope deserves to be tried; it’s got huge potential.</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>Periscope</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"> Twitter </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="https://www.periscope.tv" target="_blank">www.periscope.tv</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"> Free </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 or iPod touch running&nbsp;iOS 7.1 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>Fun and interesting. Huge potential for easy live streaming.</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>Can be a bit pointless. Hard to keep up with comments.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/periscope-review#comments Reviews App AppLife Apps iOS Periscope streaming iPhone iPod Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:53:25 +0000 Christopher Phin 21797 at http://www.maclife.com MacBook Air 13-inch (early 2015) Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/macbook-air-13inch-early-2015-review <!--paging_filter--><p>With Intel’s latest chips promising big improvements in battery life rather than performance, and delivering them in the case of the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, we had high hopes that the large MacBook Air was about to become an almost inexhaustible work machine. Powerful enough to use for pretty much any non-resource-intensive work and already beating the nine-hour mark in our battery tests, we figured it would cement its place as the ultimate road warrior’s machine. And it has, but only really by default.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/06/macbookair13inch-early2015.jpg" width="620" height="457" /></p><p>As with the 11-inch MacBook Air, you’ve got a 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 dual-core processor, which is a minor update over its predecessor, along with an updated graphics chip (with full 4K external monitor support). The SSD is the other notable change, promising faster read and write speeds — and, unlike our 11-inch model, here we really got it. With both read/write speeds of well over 1,000MB/s, the storage is truly top of the line. This is Mac Pro-level stuff. The processor also saw improvement, albeit a smaller one, completing our real-world video encoding test just shy of 10 percent faster than last year’s model. Unfortunately, we also found a couple of areas where this model has actually regressed compared to last year’s in our benchmarks. Batman: Arkham City ran almost 20 percent slower than last year’s model when we tested it — it’s possible this is a driver issue that will be ironed out, but it’s definitely disappointing.</p><p>It’s a similar story with the battery life. It lasted 9hrs 4mins in our tests, which is fantastic — a good 30 percent better than the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. But it’s actually lower than what last year’s model achieved: 9hrs 25mins. You’ll be using it differently in real life than in the prolonged intense task we gave it for the test, so that dip probably won’t make much difference (you could argue it’s within a margin for error, even), but still — considering that we were hoping for an improvement over last year, a reduction is obviously surprising.</p><p>Still, at the time of testing, it’s the best battery life of Apple’s range, it’s powerful enough for almost all basic home and office use, and it’s very comfortable and usable. Like the 11-inch Air, its low price compared to the Retina machines is obvious in the screen, which is comparably lacking not just in detail, but richness in its colors, and offers weaker viewing angles. But it’s still a pleasant screen, in a very portable, well made and nippy machine.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> For most people, we’d still point to the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro as the best option (it’s not much heavier, and offers much better features), but if you want unimpeachable battery life on the move, this is the place to go. Those who bought last year’s model won’t find themselves in much of a state of envy, though.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Specs:</strong><br />1.6GHz Intel Core i5<br />Intel HD Graphics 6000<br />4GB RAM&nbsp;</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 13-inch (early 2015)</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" target="_blank">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"> $999 (128GB); $1,199 (256GB) </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>N/A</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>Faster storage. Fantastic 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>Non-Retina screen. Lack of power.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/macbook-air-13inch-early-2015-review#comments Reviews 13-inch 2015 hardware macbook air Mac Tue, 30 Jun 2015 23:32:00 +0000 Matt Bolton 21794 at http://www.maclife.com Data Rescue 4 Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/data-rescue-4-review <!--paging_filter--><p>Data Rescue 4 is a long-awaited update; Prosoft’s heavyweight tool has long offered one of the best shots at recovering data from your hard drive. It’s capable of reading and copying data from physically failing drives as well as the relatively simple task of recovering lost or deleted files. As long as the drive is still visible to OS X, Data Rescue can help.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/06/datarescue_620.jpg" width="620" height="388" /></p><p>Version 4’s main new feature is BootWell, which works outside of OS X to recover data from your main drive. This technology requires a USB flash drive — you can supply your own, or buy one pre-loaded for $15 plus shipping.</p><p>The latest version also implements NTFS support for recovering data from BootCamp-partitioned drives and makes fewer demands on your Mac, so won’t tie it up during lengthy recovery sessions. It may not be the quickest, but Data Rescue remains the best tool for maximizing your chances of rescuing your data outside of an expensive recovery specialist’s lab.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Data Rescue 4 doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but adds useful tools to make it a worthy investment.</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>Data Rescue 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"> Prosoft Engineering </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="https://www.prosofteng.com" target="_blank">www.prosofteng.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 </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 running OS X 10.7.5 or later, Intel Core 2 Duo 2 or later, second drive</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>New BootWell environment. Consumes fewer system resources. Works with multiple disk formats.</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>Not exactly cheap.&nbsp;Clone feature wipes target drive.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/data-rescue-4-review#comments Reviews data recovery Data Rescue 4 OS X Mac Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:55:37 +0000 Nick Peers 21793 at http://www.maclife.com Sunless Sea Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/sunless-sea-review <!--paging_filter--><p>On an upgradable ship, with a hold full of supplies, you are a captain, and you will sail the Unterzee, a dark underground ocean, docking at various mysterious, threatening (life-saving?) ports. At each, you’re met with descriptive text, a few choices (the results of which may depend on your stats and resources) and the possibility to collect resources, both physical and non.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/06/sunlesssea-620.jpg" width="620" height="349" /></p><p>One of the most interesting things about Sunless Sea is that you choose your win condition. At the start of each journey, you can choose not only a history for your captain that gives a bonus to starting stats, but also an ambition. These range from wealth to a personal journey to find your father’s remains, but all fit within a general goal: to explore, and gather resources.</p><p>All resources, from smuggled crates of souls to “zee-ztories,” are represented by cards. Each action requires a certain set of cards; if you don’t have the right set, you’re shown what you need. In chasing rarer resources, however, it’s important not to forget to maintain food and fuel, and minimize “terror,” which increases as you head into the dingy depths.&nbsp;</p><p>There are plenty of ways to die on the Unterzee. When that does happen, you’ll see the legacy system. With each death, you choose how your new captain is related to the previous for a starting bonus: a shipmate gets to keep an officer, a correspondent gets your chart....</p><p>This system does lessen the frustration of death, but as your line of captains retains knowledge so do you, and while the map can change between captains, each dock has the same story to tell. After a few plays, you’ll stop reading, using familiar docks purely as places to input resource x and receive resource y. Since even the combat is rote — sea creatures are fast but weak, and you can take out any ship — the mechanics alone are not enough to maintain interest. That said, the world and its stories are so different, it’ll take a while to get old, especially given that for a good few hours (and deaths) there will remain plenty of docks you’ve yet to visit.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Well written and different enough to be worth the inevitable repetition.</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>Sunless Sea</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"> Failbetter Games </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.failbettergames.com" target="_blank">www.failbettergames.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"> $18.99 </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 running OS X 10.6 or later, 2GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 700MB HD space, 1280x768 minimum screen resolution</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>Customizable goals. Interesting world and stories.</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>Some repetition is inevitable. Combat doesn’t feel that interesting or worthwhile.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/sunless-sea-review#comments Reviews OS X Sunless Sea Mac Games Fri, 26 Jun 2015 23:13:04 +0000 Jordan Erica Webber 21782 at http://www.maclife.com Earth Primer Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/earth-primer-review <!--paging_filter--><p>Kids these days don’t know how good they’ve got it. Not long ago, while a science book might have been full of wonder, it was still a dusty tome. Earth Primer puts the forces of nature rather more overtly at your fingertips as you build volcanoes, create sand dunes and rockfalls, raise rivers, and freeze everything solid.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/06/earthprimer_620.jpg" width="620" height="466" /></p><p>All the while, the book is sneakily teaching you stuff. If you’re a kid, you may not even notice the information soaking into your brain as Earth Primer urges you to create magma or melt a glacier you’ve just formed. But it’s clever like that, even “locking” subsequent chapters until you’ve worked through all of what the current one wants you to see.&nbsp;</p><p>In a sense, Earth Primer’s heart feels a little like a game, and its playful nature should come as no surprise when you learn that author Chaim Gingold is best known for the fantastic Spore Creature Creator.</p><p>The masterstroke is the Sandbox, where you get a little hunk of land and can do whatever you want with it — but each god-like tool is only available if you’ve already learned about it. So if you want to bake the land, cause a flood or blow gales around your mountaintop, you’d best knuckle down for some reading and a touch of finger gymnastics.&nbsp;</p><p>Whether learning or playing, this is a beautifully designed and engaging educational app for children of all ages — and we’ll happily count the <em>Mac</em>|<em>Life</em> team among them!</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> One of the best and most fun iPad books out there. Imaginative, creative, and essential.</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>Earth Primer</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"> Chaim Gingold </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.earthprimer.com" target="_blank">www.earthprimer.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>iPad running&nbsp;iOS 7 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>A fun way to learn about natural science. Creative and educational. Fantastic Sandbox mode.</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>Priced higher than your average app.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/earth-primer-review#comments Reviews App AppLife Apps Earth Primer iOS iPad Thu, 25 Jun 2015 21:12:21 +0000 Craig Grannell 21776 at http://www.maclife.com BrydgeAir Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/brydgeair-review <!--paging_filter--><p>This keyboard case is different from its all-plastic competition. It’s made out of the same aluminum as a MacBook and has been designed to look like a 9.7-inch version of Apple’s laptops. It’s not as lightweight as most other keyboard cases and dispenses with the convenience of a magnetic connection. But that’s to your advantage — here you get a sturdier experience.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/06/brydgeair_620.jpg" width="620" height="463" /></p><p>We’re in the territory of 11-inch MacBook Air comfort, thanks to the excellent replication of the MacBook keyboard and a near identical layout (with brightness, volume and lock controls). It’s also got four levels of backlight to ensure it’s as usable as a real MacBook in low light. You also get dual stereo speakers, though you need to set up a second Bluetooth connection for them.</p><p>Instead of the magnetic clasp seen in most other designs, the BrydgeAir uses two tough hinges that grip the areas just off the iPad’s screen. The hinge recesses are quite deep and ugly, and you have to swap rubber grips for using the iPad Air 2, but those are forgivable compromises.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> The BrydgeAir is a high-quality keyboard that truly makes the iPad viable for sustained typing.</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>BrydgeAir</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"> Brydge Keyboards </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.brydgekeyboards.com" target="_blank">www.brydgekeyboards.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"> $169 </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>iPad Air or iPad Air 2</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>Strong and balanced in weight. Similar to a MacBook keyboard. Backlit keys and stereo sound.</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>Hinge elements are ugly.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/brydgeair-review#comments Reviews BrydgeAir iPad Air Keyboard iPad Thu, 25 Jun 2015 18:03:09 +0000 Christian Hall 21773 at http://www.maclife.com Yousician Guitar Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/yousician-guitar-review <!--paging_filter--><p>Yousician aims to take you from complete novice to confident guitar player using your own guitar and your iOS device.</p><p>That’s the first thing to note here — we are talking learning from the ground up; so it’s basic melodies and chords, not how to master complicated Hendrix flurries or Clapton solos. You play along using your own guitar, and the Yousician app uses your iPad’s built-in microphone to determine if you’re hitting the right notes at the right time. Notes scroll past on a notation tab, so you can see them coming in good time as the music plays. You get instant feedback on whether you were “late,” “great,” or “perfect.” Score high enough and the next part of the song is unlocked. It’s a bit like playing a game, the by-product of which is that you’re learning to play guitar at the same time.&nbsp;</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/06/yousician_620.jpg" width="620" height="465" /></p><p>Before each mission there’s usually some video instructions on how to play, which introduces the playing technique you’re about to use. Unfortunately, the songs you jam along to are strange royalty-free tributes. So, instead of Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum, you get White Shades, which has a similar melody and meandering organ riff, and instead of Paradise City by Guns N’ Roses you get to rock out to Robot City, which is similar, but has way more synth than the original.</p><p>It’s easy to ignore these shortcomings, though, because the point is to get complete beginners to learn guitar, and viewed through that narrow lens the app does well. What’s harder to ignore is that for an app that’s all about being in time, its judgment on whether you are in time or not is questionable. Often it feels like you have to play a fraction early to gain a “perfect.” This doesn’t usually stop you progressing, but it can be maddening, especially if you’re a bit on the perfectionist side.</p><p>Then there’s the question of price. You only get about 10 minutes’ playing time a day for free. If you want more, you’ll have to pay at least $10 a month. Compared to a music lesson, it’s very cheap, but on the App Store, that’s a king’s ransom.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Great app for beginners, but experienced players should probably steer clear.</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>Yousician Guitar</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"> Yousician Ltd. </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://get.yousician.com" target="_blank">get.yousician.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"> Free (limited); $19.99/month or $119.99/year (unlimited) </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, iPad, or iPod touch running&nbsp;iOS 6 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>A fresh approach to learning the guitar. Motivates you to keep learning.</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>Timing is sometimes a little bit...off. Too basic for experienced players.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/yousician-guitar-review#comments Gallery Reviews App AppLife Apps Guitar iOS Music Yousician iPad iPhone iPod Wed, 24 Jun 2015 17:47:52 +0000 Graham Barlow 21769 at http://www.maclife.com The Sims 4 Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/sims-4-review <!--paging_filter--><p>The Sims 4 — now available for Mac — is deceptive. If you’re familiar with the older games in the famous series of people simulation, where you create Sims and guide them through their lives, the new one might look cartoony and overly simplified. Yet, right from the start, that’s not the case. The Sims you make are more customizable, but complex sliders have been replaced by a new Create a Sim tool that lets you push and pull at features like putty. Building houses is easy too; wannabe architects can design them inch-by-inch, but those with less time can add whole rooms at a time, letting you get to the good stuff: playing with lives, jobs, and relationships.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/06/thesims4_620.jpg" width="620" height="349" /></p><p>Where The Sims 4 excels is not just at that accessibility, but what it hides, too. At its core is a complex simulation that brings digital dolls that little bit closer to believable characters. Events and personalities interact to put your Sims in particular moods, having unique effects on your Sims’ lives. A Sim with a gloomy personality is more likely to react badly to a negative event and end up in a sad mood; they’ll get a creative boost when writing their novel but they might stop typing and put their head in their hands for a quick cry. It’s unsettlingly realistic.</p><p>Also realistically, each Sim always wants more than you can manage: life goals with stages made up of sub-goals (such as training a skill to a certain level), goals for each stage of their career, goals for special events like going on a date, and whatever passing wants and fancies their current mood inspires. Unfortunately, technical considerations sometimes interfere with plans. If you want to take your Sim to a community lot such as a bar or park, or to visit another Sim — whether player-created or not — you’ll face a loading screen, unlike with The Sims 3. The loading times are short on any decent machine — the only significant tech issue we found was the game not displaying properly until we’d switched out of fullscreen mode and specified new screen settings — but even so it can feel a hassle to travel.</p><p>As always with new entries in this series, fans will yearn for what they’ve gotten used to, and features that have been left out. But with updates already adding back in some of the more notable omissions (such as swimming pools), The Sims 4 should be treated like its predecessors: a basic but solid foundation to which players can add whichever of the inevitable expansions they choose. The new simulation and its interplay between Sims’ personalities, moods, and desires means that players of all kinds — creators, goal-oriented players, and storytellers — even those new to the series, will find something for them.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> More simple to play than previous versions, but with a better simulation at its core.</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>The Sims 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"> Electronic Arts </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.ea.com" target="_blank">www.ea.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"> $49.99 </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 running OS X 10.7.5 or later; Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz; Nvidia GeForce 320M, 9600M, 9400M, or ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro with 256MB video RAM; 4GB RAM; 10GB hard drive 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>More realistic emotions. Accessible creation tools. Always lots to do.</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>Some display issues.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/sims-4-review#comments Reviews sims The Sims 4 Mac Games Tue, 23 Jun 2015 23:45:21 +0000 Jordan Erica Webber 21767 at http://www.maclife.com Das Keyboard 4 Professional for Mac Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/das-keyboard-4-professional-mac-review <!--paging_filter--><p>Most people probably don’t think much about their keyboard, not least because the aluminum keyboards that Apple makes are damn good. Keyboard purists, however, will tell you that you can be faster and more accurate on a keyboard with mechanical switches rather than Apple’s scissor switches — and that’s what you get in the Das Keyboard 4 for Mac. We couldn’t confirm a newfound accuracy from our testing, though we do know that if you’re a fast typer on Apple’s keyboards, you’ll spend the first few days fumbling about here, retraining muscle memory. But once that happens, we found that we were about as fast — and there’s a bonus. A glorious, thumping, clattering bonus.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/06/daskeyboard4professional.jpg" width="620" height="250" /></p><p>Everything you write, from a reminder to buy milk to the next great American novel, suddenly seems imbued with importance and gravitas thanks entirely to the noise you make with this keyboard. It broadcasts to the office that what you are doing is vital. And, let’s be clear, you will be broadcasting it right across the office. The Matias Tactile Pro — the king of Mac mechanical keyboards — is louder, but this one makes a lot of noise It’s just this side of acceptable for a lively office, though.</p><p>It’s USB 3.0, so the keyboard isn’t bottlenecking peripherals attached to its two ports, and there are some dedicated Mac buttons in addition to Command, Option and so on. The media playback buttons worked for iTunes, but previous/next wouldn’t work for Spotify, unlike other keyboards. Plus the F1–F13 keys really are function keys, not the now-traditional keys for triggering Mission Control and so on, which isn’t especially useful for most people. The 6.5-foot cable will be welcome for some, and the magnetically attached angle riser that doubles as a ruler is a nice touch, but it’s the typing experience you’d buy this for.</p><p>For our money, the Matias Tactile Pro is still unbeatable if you want a mechanical keyboard for your Mac — not least because each key cap is printed with the alternate characters it can type — but it’s antisocially loud. If you want the feel of a mechanical keyboard with less of the racket, this “Blue Switch” variant is a solid investment (there’s also a quieter “Brown Switch” model, though Metadot told us its keypresses aren’t as crisp). Be aware, though — if you’ve been using Apple’s keyboards for years, far from speeding up your word rate and accuracy a mechanical keyboard might actually slow you down, at least at first.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Without a doubt the keyboard Nick Fury would use, in the unlikely event he’d use a Mac.</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>Das Keyboard 4 Professional 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"> Metadot </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.metadot.com" target="_blank">www.metadot.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"> $175 </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 running&nbsp;OS X, USB port</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>Hugely satisfying to type on. Could just about be used in an office. Integrated ruler (no, really; it’s useful!).</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>Some media playback and control wrinkles.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/das-keyboard-4-professional-mac-review#comments Reviews Das Keyboard 4 Professional hardware Keyboard Mac Tue, 23 Jun 2015 19:43:39 +0000 Christopher Phin 21766 at http://www.maclife.com BusyContacts Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/busycontacts-review <!--paging_filter--><p>Keeping track of people has become a daunting task in the social networking era. The sheer variety of available services makes it nearly impossible to organize everything in one place, but this sidekick to popular calendar application BusyCal does the job admirably.</p><p>BusyContacts syncs cloud-based contacts from a variety of sources and assembles them in a single place on your Mac. iCloud, Google, Yahoo, Exchange, and Office 365, as well as social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, are all present and accounted for here, along with most any CardDAV server or LAN-based address book.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/06/busycontacts_620.png" width="620" height="334" /></p><p>Adding accounts is a snap, and BusyContacts had no problem linking services protected with additional security measures, such as Google’s two-factor authentication. Once added, individual accounts become color-coded and can be independently turned on or off.</p><p>Our favorite feature is the ability to combine card data: BusyContacts links duplicate contacts with the same name or email address into a single virtual entry, retaining the option to view individual cards with a single click. Cards can also be linked and merged, which writes changes back to compatible services such as iCloud or Google.</p><p>There are a couple of caveats to this otherwise convenient feature. Contact data from social networks is read-only and can’t be edited, although data fetched from those services can be copied to your address book, including profile photos and birthdays from Facebook. LinkedIn data can only be stored locally without a network connection for up to 24 hours, although BusyContacts intelligently re-syncs contacts the next time you’re online.</p><p>One huge benefit to having data in one place is the ability to view recent email threads, Facebook posts, and tweets while viewing a contact card. You can even reconnect via a tweet without leaving the application.</p><p>The only real bummer will be for iCloud-averse users storing contact data with the old-school “On My Mac” method — BusyContacts can import local contacts, but changes won’t sync back to the built-in OS X Contacts app as they do from iCloud.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> BusyContacts aims to be the one address book to rule them all, and succeeds quite nicely.</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>BusyContacts</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"> BusyCal </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://busymac.com" target="_blank">busymac.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"> $49.99 </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 running OS X 10.9 or later; iCloud, Google, Exchange, or CardDAV server</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>Gathers contacts from multiple cloud services. Cards with multiple entries can be linked or merged. Quick Contact creates new entries from key details.</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>Details from social networks are read-only.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/busycontacts-review#comments Reviews BusyContacts Contacts Networking OS X Mac Mon, 22 Jun 2015 20:29:33 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 21761 at http://www.maclife.com