Duo Pinball aims to bring some of pinball's physical sensation back to the lap-based home experience, letting you affix a plastic dock to the back of any iPad — or less ideally, an iPhone or iPod touch — fire up a compatible app, and make use of the built-in plunger and side buttons for a seemingly more authentic feel. Powered by three AAA batteries and a Bluetooth link, the device pairs effortlessly and is easy to use, plus it'll hold your iPad snugly while you mash the deep blue flipper buttons — but the resulting sensation is less enthralling than expected.
Sure, you could buy the same celeb-endorsed headphones that everyone else has. But for the ultimate in quality and personalization, a pair of custom-made in-ear earbuds is hard to beat. Custom buds used to be the exclusive province of musicians and sound engineers, but they’re becoming more affordable.
Call me crazy, but I’ve never been a big fan of the Apple mice. I’m a quick mover on the computer, constantly multitasking and clicking between different windows and Spaces, and even the wired Apple Mouse could never keep up with me. Logitech’s Anywhere MX is the only mouse that has been able to offer what I need, so I’m curious to see if the company’s two new offerings are just as effective.
Graphics tablet users are an odd bunch. They’ll tell you how a mouse is a horrible input device. How you’ll eventually end up with a medical device wrapped around your wrist while they draw pretty pictures of flowers and mock up logos with a pen. That love of the tablet inevitably leads them to one company: Wacom. Frankly, there isn’t another tablet maker out there that even comes close--which puts the company in an odd position. How do you upgrade a product that’s already near perfect?
This is the scenario: You’ve got an Apple Wireless Keyboard. You’ve got a Magic Trackpad. You want to keep them together. Henge Docks has your back.
The Clique is a hunk of white plastic that perfectly fits the Wireless Keyboard and Magic Trackpad, keyboard on the left and trackpad on the right. And that’s...pretty much it. Each device snaps into the Clique snugly, and my hands quickly got used to having the two conveniently located side by side.
An iPad stylus is like a little umbrella in your piña colada. You don’t need one. But it’s a nice extra.
The Nomad Compose is different from every other stylus I’ve tried in that it doesn’t mimic the feel of a pen or a pencil, but rather a paintbrush--it has real bristles, blending natural and synthetic fibers. I tested the Dual Tip Long version, which has a 0.7-inch brush tip on one end, and a much shorter 0.05-inch “glide bevel tip” on the other. The bevel tip is made of the same brush material, but its beveled shape mimics the feel of classic styluses you may be used to. It works for drawing lines as well as tapping buttons in iOS apps.
Wacom’s Inkling is a fabulous concept: draw in your own notebook, with a real pen, and easily download digital versions of those drawings onto your computer. In theory, it improves on existing digital tools--support for layers makes it more flexible than a scanner, and real ink and paper offer better feel and control than a tablet. The Inkling should be a perfect bridge between digital and analog art. Unfortunately, the product still has a few kinks to work out before we can truly sings its praises. The Inkling certainly does what it sets out to do--it effectively captures a digital likeness of anything you sketch. We just wish it did a better job.
Why is it that you can never find a pen when you need one? And though the iPad doesn’t ship with a stylus, if you do much sketching or digital note-taking, they’re handy to have around. But it’s annoying having to carry around a pen and a stylus at the same time, and constantly switching between the two. The Kensington Virtuoso Metro Stylus and Pen solves this conundrum by combining both into one handy do-everything writing utensil.
Some accessories are so clever that we wonder why Apple didn’t just fold them into the product’s original design. And with the Magic Charger, a lovely rechargeable-battery solution for the Magic Mouse, you might end up wishing that Apple actually had made it.
Wow-Keys didn’t need to be flawless for us to love it. The potential for awesomeness was huge: a computer keyboard that charges our phones and lets us switch between typing and texting is enough to get us seriously excited. So we were willing to forgive a few faults for that kind of functionality…just not this many.