Mac|Life - Reviews http://www.maclife.com/articles/22/feed en Review: Adobe Premiere Elements 13 http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_adobe_premiere_elements_13 <!--paging_filter--><p>Adobe Premiere Elements is a fantastic video-editing package that provides more than enough power for any home project, as well as plenty of guidance. It’s also half the price of its next biggest rival, Final Cut Pro. For professional/prosumer editing, Final Cut is worth paying extra for its added precision and features, but for holiday videos, birthday memories, or even a web show for YouTube and the like, Elements is plenty.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/02/elements13_620.png" width="620" height="388" /></p><p>However, Elements 13 isn’t a huge update over <a href="http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/adobe_premiere_elements_12_review" target="_blank">version 12</a>; the biggest change being belated support for Retina displays. As far as editing goes, the two biggest additions are aimed at new users and those who want to make a movie without too much “clip squinting.” Video Story is a new wizard that offers templates such as birthday, wedding, and graduation. Each is a storyboard broken into pre-defined chapters such as “Dressing Up” or “Getting The Degree,” with the option to add extras or delete. Some take a single clip, others multiple (with Auto-Analyzer on hand to break up long footage), with the Video Story combining and mixing them up with music, fades and looks. You can then add captions and narration. You can edit default captions, and either publish the whole thing there or send it to the timeline.</p><p>The Favorite Moments edit takes an extended clip that you want to extract elements from, but instead of making multiple in-and-out cuts, you just scan to the part you want, click a Mark button and adjust the length of each selection before exporting just those bits to the timeline as a combined clip or individual ones.</p><p>These two features (on top of an already excellent line-up) make 13 a great choice for new users. It’s hard to say the other improvements are worth the upgrade price if you have version 12. There are new Guided Edits for putting video behind a title, and applying primitive effects masks, though the latter is let down by only allowing a hard-edged rectangular mask rather than feathering and circles. These aren’t bad as one-time tutorials. After that, Elements 13 runs out of steam, with a few updates to features like the Shake Stabilizer, but nothing really major. A pity, but there’s always the next version...</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Plenty of features for detailed editing, just not many new ones for a new release.</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>Adobe Premiere Elements 13</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"> Adobe Systems, 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.adobe.com" target="_blank">www.adobe.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"> $99.99 ($79.99 upgrade) </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 10.8 or later, 2GHz processor, 2GB 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>Extremely fast editing. Powerful at all levels. Excellent effects.</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 many new features; version 12 owners might want to hold off.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_adobe_premiere_elements_13#comments Reviews Adobe Premiere Elements 13 video editing Mac Thu, 26 Feb 2015 18:30:40 +0000 Richard Cobbett 21342 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Autodesk SketchBook http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_autodesk_sketchbook <!--paging_filter--><p>For a company best known for 3D software (including the wonderful 123D apps), Autodesk’s latest release is all about the flattened screen. Now known simply as SketchBook (prior versions have included Mobile, Express, and Pro), Autodesk wants to give you the tools to create and output your digital drawings and paintings...so long as you’re prepared to unlock them through a one-time IAP.</p><p>That’s the major change here: SketchBook has one in-app purchase to unlock the tools you’ll need (which, understandably, hasn’t gone down well with prior fans). After that you’ll find all the traditional tools of a well-specced art application: layers enable you to organize your outlines, colors and shading, and an increased range of blend modes enable you to create all-new effects. There are more brushes than ever to add to the fun of drawing, although some are still too low-res to use on the larger image sizes available in the app.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/02/autodesksketchbook_620.png" width="620" height="533" /></p><p>All told, this isn’t as huge an update as a new name and app slot might suggest, but one major change — the double puck — does shrink the user interface and speed up workflow brilliantly. It’s not a brand new SketchBook then, but it remains a powerful and well-featured drawing app.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> A fun and powerful art package. The UI has improved and the built-in brush set is great. Paul Kercal</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>Autodesk SketchBook</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"> Autodesk </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.sketchbook.com" target="_blank">www.sketchbook.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 ($3.99 IAP) </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 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>Plenty of great art tools and options. Improved user interface.</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 a massive upgrade over Autodesk's previous similar offerings. The IAP is kind of shady.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_autodesk_sketchbook#comments Reviews App AppLife Apps Art Autodesk Sketchbook drawing painting iPad iPhone iPod Wed, 25 Feb 2015 18:34:31 +0000 Paul Kercal 21339 at http://www.maclife.com Review: BBEdit 11 http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_bbedit_11 <!--paging_filter--><p>When an app gets a new version number, you might expect a bunch of flashy new features, but simple text editor BBEdit has never been a flashy kind of app. It fits, then, that most changes in BBEdit 11 are relatively subtle adjustments to workflow, mostly designed to enhance productivity.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/02/bbedit_620.png" width="620" height="388" /></p><p>Fortunately, relatively minor changes can still be a big deal, as proven by the new Find Differences window; previously quite messy, it now boasts a coherent single-window view, enabling you to quickly browse a folder, check differences between files, and copy documents between folders with a single click. Another great new feature is Text Extraction within Find dialogs: you leverage BBEdit’s speedy, powerful search capabilities and collate results into a new document. With a little Unix know-how, this feature is a major time-saver, for example, for counting instances of a term across multiple documents or rapidly extracting headings from Markdown files.</p><p>Elsewhere, you’ll now find rectangular text selection (via Select Up/Select Down in Edit), optional highlighting of any selected word (handy for writers and coders alike), enhanced clippings and more flexible syntax coloring. Bare Bones says the app’s innards have been modernized, too, though it wasn’t slow to begin with. BBEdit still isn’t the prettiest app, but for efficiency and flexibility, it remains second-to-none.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> A solid update, with changes that are about productivity rather than unnecessary gloss.</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>BBEdit 11.0.1</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"> Bare Bones Software </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.barebones.com" target="_blank">www.barebones.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 (upgrade from $29.99) </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>Intel Mac running&nbsp;OS X 10.8.5 or later (10.9.5 or later recommended)</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>Vastly improved Find Differences UI. Really useful text extraction feature. Updates primarily about efficiency.</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 dark UI to match new dark themes.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_bbedit_11#comments Reviews BBEdit Text Text editor word processing Mac Tue, 24 Feb 2015 18:42:12 +0000 Craig Grannell 21336 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Coda 2.5 http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_coda_25 <!--paging_filter--><p>Coda is a friendly, capable website coding environment, suitable for amateurs yet also geared towards professionals. It’s been a while since the last major update, and we now have 2.5, which feels a tad like Panic lobbing new features at the faithful before knuckling down and getting on with whatever Coda 3 becomes.</p><p>Although not strictly a single-window app, it prefers this model, working in tabs that house documents, Terminals or database connections. Tabs can be split, to show multiple sections of a document, or to house code in one part of the window with a live web preview in another.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/02/coda25_620.png" width="620" height="387" /></p><p>Panic says Coda 2.5 is faster and has a revamped UI, both of which were evident during testing. There are new features, too. Column guides prove effective when working with nested elements, and publishing now tracks external changes, which will be a relief for anyone using CSS pre-processors. There’s a new plug-in manager that’s basic but handy for juggling styles, new modes and new sidebar plug-ins, which can be written in HTML.</p><p>The app introduces Panic Sync, a cloud-based service for syncing clips and server information across devices and software. During testing, it worked flawlessly across Transmit iOS and Coda, but Transmit for OS X and Diet Coda for iPad were, at the time of writing, still waiting for updates to take advantage of this feature.</p><p>Other new features also feel like they’ve not reached their full potential. Local file indexing now (optionally) goes through a site’s local files, to provide site-wide autocomplete of functions, classes and variables, and this worked great when editing JavaScript; but it’d be good to see smarter autocomplete go wider, taking BBEdit’s “match anything” approach.</p><p>Similarly, CSS overriding, while welcome, feels unfinished. It’s designed so you can override a live site’s CSS with a local edit, but Coda’s implementation lacks rival Espresso’s X-ray feature, and awkwardly forces you to switch back and forth between CSS and live pages when making edits; the CSS also “detaches” from the web preview when moved to a new window. Preview issues should be gone in Coda 2.5.2, but this all highlights Coda’s clunky previewing overall, forcing per-document splits to be manually set-up.</p><p>Still, as a free update, this is a no-brainer for existing users — although Mac App Store owners must perform a crossgrade to the version direct from Panic’s website.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> A decent “holding” update to a strong app, but now we’re really looking ahead to Coda 3.</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>Coda 2.5</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"> Panic </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://panic.com" target="_blank">panic.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 (free upgrade for existing users) </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 a 64-bit processor running OS X 10.7.5 or newer, FTP space for upload</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>Improved interface and speed. Useful editor improvements.</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>CSS override could be better. Previewing’s still annoying.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_coda_25#comments Reviews Coda 2.5 web creation web design Mac Thu, 19 Feb 2015 19:15:31 +0000 Craig Grannell 21317 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Pixelmator (iPad) http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_pixelmator_ipad <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://www.maclife.com/article/gallery/20_great_imageediting_apps_mac_and_ios#slide-5" target="_blank">Pixelmator for Mac</a> has long played rival to Photoshop. With support for layers and comprehensive collage and drawing tools, it’s a far cheaper, but almost equally capable, editing tool. The same is now true on the iPad, where it’s challenging Photoshop Touch.</p><p>Its photo retouching tools rely on dragging control points around the screen. So, to tweak the saturation or sharpness across the whole image, all you need do is drag a point around a circle. Apply a light leak or depth of field effect and you work with two points – one to position the effect and the other to handle both angle and reach. All of the canvas controls work this way, so once you’ve learned to use one, you can use them all.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/02/pixelmatoripad_620.png" width="620" height="465" /></p><p>You can build up your work using layers, which really come into their own when you’re compositing elements from multiple images or using the paint tools for freehand drawing. You can’t add an effect to an empty layer, so unless you want to apply them directly to your work in progress and rely on the undo controls if you get things wrong, you’ll have to create new color-filled layers and screen out the background.</p><p>New layers can be blank, filled with a pattern, or can adopt the clipboard contents. You can also use them to add text, graphics and shots from Photos, so even if you spurned the start-up templates you can still build a collage by hand. As well as the lasso and regular marquee (rectangular and elliptical) tools, &nbsp;there’s a magic wand that selects colors in the same way as the Instant Alpha tool in iWork — that is, the more you drag across a particular color, the more of its associated tones are selected. Rather than mask them immediately as iWork does, the app merely selects the highlighted range so you can go on to edit or delete it manually.</p><p>Pixelmator neatly sidesteps the trap of cramming the controls onto fiddly drop-down menus by swapping out the editor view for fullscreen menus with huge outline graphics and, where brushes are concerned, generous stripes of each one so you can see what they do. We’d like to see these screens go further, though, with the tool previews also simulating the current size setting, as this is hard to gauge right now.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong>&nbsp;Pixelmator is a steal, and a great choice for photo-editing on a budget.</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>Pixelmator</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"> Pixelmator Team </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.pixelmator.com" target="_blank">www.pixelmator.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 2 or newer running iOS 8.0 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>Support for multiple layers. Open and save Photoshop files. Familiar Apple-esque interface.</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 few gaps in the interface.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_pixelmator_ipad#comments Reviews App AppLife Apps image editing Photography Photos Pixelmator iPad Wed, 18 Feb 2015 18:50:36 +0000 Nik Rawlinson 21313 at http://www.maclife.com Video Review: Mighty Switch Force! Hose It Down! for iOS http://www.maclife.com/article/games/video-review-mighty-switch-force-hose-it-down-ios-iphone-ipad <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mighty-switch-force!-hose/id922587565?mt=8" target="_blank">Mighty Switch Force! Hose It Down!</a>, the latest game from fan-favorite developer WayForward, is perfect for people who like puzzle games, cute characters, or titles! With! Extra! Exclamation points! Take 60 seconds to watch our video review and see why Hose It Down! might be your next iOS addiction.</p><p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/99l6-mU866U?list=UUfsWptOLVZ-P63WsZYbH_QQ" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> http://www.maclife.com/article/games/video-review-mighty-switch-force-hose-it-down-ios-iphone-ipad#comments Reviews Games ios games ipad games iPhone Games iPod and iPhone puzzle games WayForward iPad iPhone iPod Games Tue, 17 Feb 2015 23:06:50 +0000 Chris Hoffman 21310 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Transcend JetDrive Lite 350 http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_transcend_jetdrive_lite_350 <!--paging_filter--><p>Around a third of the size of an SD card, these MLC flash cards boost a MacBook’s storage capacity by slotting into its SD card slot. Unlike regular SD cards that stick out, Transcend’s offerings can be fully inserted so the card sits flush. Available in 64GB or 128GB capacities, they don’t offer the storage of external hard disk drives or SSDs, but they have the advantage of being super portable and much cheaper.&nbsp;</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/jetdrivelite_620.png" width="620" height="449" /></p><p>The 128GB JetDrive Lite 350 can be used with the Mid 2012 to Early 2013 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina — other JetDrive cards support the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro and newer 15-inch MacBooks. The Lite 350 came formatted to the ExFat file format — compatible with Windows and Mac. Out of the packet, the card shows 128.67GB remaining in OS X, with 9MB remaining on the card, so you get close to the advertised capacity.&nbsp;</p><p>To benchmark it, we used Blackmagic Disk Speed Test running on OS X 10.9 Mavericks. This software tests the disk by writing large blocks of data and then erasing them to provide a performance reading. Transcend claims that both its 64GB and 128GB models have a maximum read speed of 95MB/s and maximum write speed of 60MB/s, and our review card came close. However, its write speeds proved inconsistent, fluctuating from a low of 20MB/s to a high of 55MB/s. Read speeds were more consistent, frequently reaching between 70MB/s and 80MB/s, topping out at 87.1MB/s. While that’s not going to match the speed of even the slowest modern SSDs, it’s a decent speed for, say, storing and viewing large multimedia files.</p><p><strong>The bottom line</strong>. A great little card, neatly designed and boasting consistent read speeds. A well-made, affordable way of fattening up your MacBook Pro’s storage.</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>Transcend JetDrive Lite 350</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"> Transcend </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.transcend-info.com" target="_blank">www.transcend-info.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"> $119.99 </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>15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display (mid 2012 and early 2013)</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 price. Fits snugly into a MacBook. Fast read and write speeds.</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>Inconsistent write speeds. Can prove fiddly to remove from the slot.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_transcend_jetdrive_lite_350#comments Reviews flash card macbook pro memory MLC Transcend JetDrive Lite 350 Mac Tue, 17 Feb 2015 19:47:45 +0000 Kane Fulton 21308 at http://www.maclife.com Review: iPad mini 3 http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_ipad_mini_3 <!--paging_filter--><p>We don’t think an Apple product has fallen out of favor as fast as the iPad mini. With the iPad Air 2 leading the way in screen tech, raw power, and ultra-thinness, the mini was crying out for the same treatment. If anything, the previous model should have been removed, giving one Retina and one non-Retina option. But having three minis just doesn’t differentiate things enough for the consumer. It’s as if iOS 8 would be enough to carry this iPad. Well, it isn’t.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/02/ipadmini3_620.png" width="620" height="440" /></p><p>To add insult to injury, the Touch ID-less <a href="http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/ipad_mini_retina_display_review" target="_blank">iPad mini 2</a> still has a 32GB option, perhaps the sweet spot for anyone who doesn’t need the really big capacities. What’s more, it’s available for $349, $50 less than the 16GB mini 3.</p><p>Fundamentally, the new iPad mini 3 is still a highly capable 7.9-inch tablet. But this poor upgrade leaves its future in some doubt, particularly with the iPhone 6 Plus gaining market traction and a 12-inch iPad Pro rumored for 2015.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Why bother? This could well go down in Apple history as the iPad time forgot.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Options:</strong><br />Capacity: 16GB, 64GB, or 128GB<br />Connectivity: Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi + Cellular<br />Colors: Silver, Gold, or Space Gray&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>iPad mini 3</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"> From $399 (Wi-Fi), $529 (Wi-Fi + Cellular) </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>Touch ID, new gold color. Still a capable tablet.</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 longer the Air’s equal. Same chassis as before. No anti-reflective screen.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_ipad_mini_3#comments Reviews iPad mini 3 Tablet iPad Thu, 12 Feb 2015 18:18:41 +0000 Christian Hall 21291 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Adobe Brush CC & Adobe Shape CC http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_adobe_brush_cc_adobe_shape_cc <!--paging_filter--><p>Following on from Kuler (now Color CC), Adobe Brush CC can convert anything an iOS device camera can see into a high-quality brush, which artists can then use for painting in Illustrator and Photoshop CC, or in the Photoshop Sketch app for iPad. The process is amazingly simple, and this clever app includes a full complement of features for refining a brush.</p><p>We tested Brush CC by scribbling on a scrap of paper using a standard ink pen. Once this was captured, we used the built-in Crop and Refine tools to remove unwanted areas and mask out the background. On repeating brushes, the head and tail can be adjusted for painting a mark that flows seamlessly, and within seconds our custom brush was synced to Creative Cloud.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/02/brushshape_620.png" /></p><p>Adobe Shape CC goes one step further, converting objects into fully editable vector shapes that can be tweaked in Illustrator Draw for iPad, as well as Illustrator or Photoshop CC on the desktop. It’s an impressive feat considering Adobe once charged nearly two hundred bucks for Streamline on the Mac, which did much the same thing.</p><p>While each app is loaded with potential, Brush CC requires you to first select a target device (Photoshop Sketch, Illustrator, or Photoshop), which makes it unavailable to the others. You can edit the brush to change this selection later, but we’d prefer a universal format that worked with all three apps. Likewise, Shape CC offers only basic cleanup tools, and relies heavily on a clean capture to produce good results. On a more positive note, both apps can be used without a paid Creative Cloud account — an Adobe ID (which comes with 2GB of cloud storage) is the only requirement.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> These two apps open up a lot of creative potential, especially if you’re a Creative Cloud subscriber.</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>Adobe Brush CC &amp; Adobe Shape CC</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"> Adobe Systems, 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.adobe.com" target="_blank">www.adobe.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 (Adobe ID required) </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 (Adobe recommends an iPhone 5 or iPad 3 and newer) running iOS 7 or 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>Create custom brushes or vector shapes using an iOS device. Adobe Brush CC includes a full complement of masking and crop tools. Adobe Shape CC produces great results with good lighting.</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>Limited vector cleanup tools in Adobe Shape CC. Brushes must be assigned to a specific app type prior to use. Requires paid Creative Cloud subscription to be used with Illustrator or Photoshop on desktop versions.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_adobe_brush_cc_adobe_shape_cc#comments Reviews Adobe App AppLife Apps Brush color Creative Cloud Shape iPad iPhone iPod Wed, 11 Feb 2015 19:55:26 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 21288 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Mac mini 2.8GHz (Late 2014) http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_mac_mini_28ghz_late_2014 <!--paging_filter--><p>After a couple of years of neglect, the Mac mini has been updated, bringing substantially faster graphics, speedier Wi-Fi, more (and quicker) Thunderbolt 2 connections, and a cheaper entry point. But at the same time we’ve lost the ability to upgrade the RAM ourselves (it’s soldered on), lost the option for a quad-core configuration, and lost the server variant that had a pair of 1TB hard disks inside the chassis. There’s also no optical drive, unsurprisingly.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/02/macmini2014_620.png" width="620" height="290" /></p><p>This top-end model boasts a 2.8GHz i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB Fusion Drive, Apple’s hybrid disk technology that pairs (in this case) a PCIe-connected fast SSD with a hard disk. The new Intel Iris Graphics chipset is also an improvement and the 8GB RAM is enough for general computing. But consider the $200 3.0GHz i7 upgrade for heavy creative tasks, or the $300 512GB pure-SSD for better responsiveness.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Apple has rededicated the Mac mini to the role of modest but capable. Good — for the right people.</p><p><strong>Specs:</strong><br />Processor: 2.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5<br />Storage: 1TB Fusion Drive<br />Memory: 8GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3<br />Graphics: Intel Iris Graphics</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>Mac mini 2.8GHz (Late 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" 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 </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>Much more capable graphics. Faster Wi-Fi and ports.</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 shame there’s no quad-core option. It's a sealed package — even more so than before.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_mac_mini_28ghz_late_2014#comments Reviews late 2014 Mac mini Mac Tue, 10 Feb 2015 19:49:41 +0000 Christopher Phin 21286 at http://www.maclife.com