Category Archives: review

Utomic Edge Protection iPhone X Review

The best kind of case is no case of all. That’s what I was thinking when I got the Utomic Edge for my iPhone X. It’s such a beautiful phone, and I want to show it off. So, I got a “case” that just covers the edges, one that would do nothing more than protect my phone from drops and on flat surfaces. I had a similar case for my iPhone 5, and it was protective enough against drops, so I didn’t have any qualms with the minimalistic case. Unfortunately, it seems I trusted the wrong company. Utomic has made what should have been the best case I’ve ever owned, instead it’s been the worst.

UPDATE:

Utomic sent me more corners (5 more, to be precise). I also sent my iPhone on a nasty drop. Full update below.

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Spigen Liquid Crystal iPhone X Case Review

Weeks before I got my iPhone X, I held a case for it in my hands. Spigen was quick to release a case for the iPhone X, and I ordered it expecting the best, an iPhone on launch day. I didn’t get that. In fact, I didn’t get my iPhone X for some time later. I’m still working on the review for the iPhone X, but I used it with this case for long enough to form an opinion on it. I recently switched to a different “case,” the Utomic Edge protection for the iPhone X. The Utomic “case” is nothing more than 4 corners attached to the edges of the iPhone to protect it in the most minimal way possible. However, it means I can’t swap cases without pulling the adhesive pads off, breaking the Utomic case. Therefore, there’s no better time than right now to write my review for the Spigen Liquid Crystal case, as I can’t use it again for some time. Knowing I was planning on getting the Utomic edge protection, why’d I get the Spigen Liquid Crystal case? Because Spigen was on top of their game and had a case ready at launch day, while Utomic didn’t have anything available until even after I got my iPhone X weeks later, I knew I’d need something to cover the gap, and went with a trusted case maker.

So, how did I like the Spigen case while I had it? Well, that’s what you came here for to find out!

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iPhone X Meta-Review

The past few weeks have been rough for me. I’ve been apartment hunting, packing, and moving. On top of that, I stayed up until 4 AM last Friday to pre-order the iPhone X. Refreshing my Mac’s browser as well as both my iPad’s and my iPhone’s Apple Store apps, both on and off my WiFi. I was going to be one of the first people in America to order the iPhone X. Or so I thought. None of my devices loaded the page until around 3:07. By then, the earliest I would receive my iPhone X would be on November 17th. So, instead of typing this with an iPhone X sitting next to me, I instead am looking at my boring old iPhone 6s. I’ve got to wait at least two more weeks to write my own review. Since, by then, it’ll be 2 weeks late, I’ll likely use it for a week or two before reviewing, so I can give a detailed review of the phone that accounts for everyday use. I’ll even be able to compare it to the Samsung Galaxy S8, so look forward to that review and comparison in a few weeks.

Until then, I’ve collected information from a number of reviews to answer some of the big questions about the iPhone X.
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Reflecting on the iPhone 6s

I still question Apple’s choice on this shot, those iPhones would have all shattered.

When a new iPhone is coming out, I always spend some time using my old iPhone without the case. It’s dangerous, I know, one drop could shatter the screen, meaning I’d be out hundreds of dollars when I try to trade it in to Gazelle or Apple, but it’s something I have to do. I want to really get to know the device one more time, before I give it up. This is the phone that got me countless dates through OKCupid and Tinder, the phone that I used to talk to the girls I loved this year, the phone that connected me to my friends. It’s where I followed election results, then tweeted angrily about the electoral college undermining democracy, and a new president undermining American freedoms. I’ve written blog posts, even portions of books on this phone. It’s the phone were I found the apartment I hope to move into in a few weeks. And, also in a few weeks, I’m going to wipe this phone clean of any of that, deleting those memories from its storage permanently, and ship it off to a recycling facility, where it will be dismantled and either sold for parts or cleaned up, sold as refurbished, and enter the home of someone else, to become an integral part of their life, as it once was a part of mine. Really, I just want to give myself one last chance to get to know this phone, remember what it was like, before I give it up. Because the truth is, despite everything I’ve been through with this phone, I kind of hate it
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Advanced Sound Accessport Review

REVIEW UPDATED BELOW

Advanced Sound’s based on Long Island, NY, just outside of the world’s greatest city, and not far from where I was born. They’re a plucky company, making headphones and hardware for people who really care about audio quality and want to get it at a good price. They launched a Kickstarter campaign not long ago for their Accessport, a dongle that solves a silly problem. The iPhone 7 didn’t come with a headphone jack. The iPhone 8 and iPhone X don’t have headphone jacks either. You could use the adapter that Apple provides (and sells for just $9), or you could try to upgrade your experience. You could go with a dongle that allows you to both listen to music and charge your phone at the same time. You could go further by getting one that has a higher quality digital to analog converter (DAC) and amplifier, to really make your music sound incredible. With such a setup, you’d actually be better off than if Apple provided a headphone jack in the phone. An external DAC and amplifier that can also charge your phone? Perfect. And that’s just what Advanced Sound promised with their Accessport. Unfortunately, they didn’t come close to delivering on that promise. In fact, it actually sounds far worse than the sound from my iPhone (I still have a headphone jack equipped iPhone 6s… for now).
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Vortex Race 3 Mechanical Keyboard Review

I love a good keyboard. I’m a software developer, and, if you’re reading this, you’ve surely figured it out by now, I’m a writer as well. I spend a lot of time typing. I own two different mechanical keyboards, and have a third one at work, each one completely different, and each one worth the admittedly higher price of a mechanical keyboard, by far. If you’re a professional, you use the best equipment. You won’t see a professional race car driver daily driving a 1999 Honda Odysey minivan. You won’t find a DJ spinning tracks with a Zune and some cheap included earbuds. A calligrapher isn’t going to be caught dead with a cheap plastic Bic. A world renown sushi cheff won’t waste their time with plastic butter knives. If you spend any time on a keyboard, you shouldn’t let yourself get caught dead with some lousy membrane or chicklet style keyboard. You’ve got to grace your fingers with a sweet, comfortable, repetitive stress injury-dodging, clicky, glorious mechanical keyboard. This is how the gods wanted you to type. I type this from my latest keyboard purchase (not counting the sweet translucent DSA keycaps I just bought for a future build) is the Vortex Race 3 mechanical keyboard. It’s a 75% keyboard, which means it doesn’t have a number pad, and condenses the Home, Page Up, Page Down, End, and arrow keys into the standard alphanumeric keys, modifiers, and F keys that you’ve become accustom to. It’s a great way to get the standard keyboard experience in a more compact package, leaving you more space on your desk and requiring you to move your hand less to reach your mouse or trackpad. You can get it in a variety of switches, all Cherry MX. Vortex has the Blues, Reds, Browns, Silvers, Blacks, and even Clears (the one I got) available for this keyboard. If none of that made sense to you, check out Lifehacker’s writeup of some of the most popular key switches from Cherry. Basically put, each key switch has a different sound and feel. and this keyboard has some of the most popular options.

The Vortex Race 3 is my favorite keyboard, yet it’s not without an extremely long list of flaws. It’s a conflicted board, to be sure, but why that is, you’ll have to read below.

 

Pros Cons
Gorgeous keyboard with old-school charm No macOS firmware updater, but macOS support and keys
Amazing typing feel Strange size for Escape and Delete keys, making customization tricky
Solid construction Key caps tight on the switches, hard to swap out key caps
Fantastic key caps Hard to find documentation and instructions

Read MUCH more about this intriguing keyboard below!

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New Nintendo 2DS XL Review

I’ve got a bit of a long commute. Usually it’s an hour long, but I’ve had days where it’s bettween one and a half hours to two hours. Once, it took me three hours to get to the office. I would have been better off working from home. I live in New York, and I, like every other New Yorker, am a victim of the MTA, cursed to spend hours in tunnels without cell service. I’d read news articles I saved with Pocket, play games that I’ve played 100 times, but I wanted something different. I wanted to play the sort of Nintendo games I grew up with: Mario Kart, Super Mario Bros, Legend of Zelda, Super Smash Bros. Most of all, I wanted to play the Metroid 2 remake coming out next month. Metroid: Samus Returns. The only reason I buy Nintendo hardware is if they release a Metroid game for it. That’s why I didn’t get a Wii U.

With all of that in mind, it seemed a good idea to buy the New Nintendo 3DS XL. But I didn’t want to pay $200 for the 3D feature I’d never use (I like not having headaches, thank you very much), and the 2DS looked like it would be uncomfortable to use and carry around. Plus, it didn’t have the C stick or second L/R buttons. Nintendo had the answer for me though, in the New Nintendo 2DS XL. It’s been keeping me company on long train rides, though the longest I was stuck in a tunnel recently, it was out of battery. How do I like it when I can actually play it? Quite a bit!

Pros Cons
Fun! Small stylus
Backwards compatible with DS games 2D in a 3D world means some games are more difficult
Great big screens Only one color option
Large catalog of great games Feels built for small hands, despite size
Shorter than expected battery life in sleep mode

 

Rating and more info below!
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