Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hardware Review: Wave Cradle

While many of us personalize our phones with stylish cases and decals, we leave these works of art simply lying on a desk or bedside table ignoring the balance of form and function they provide.

Fortunately WaveCradle saves us from iPhone mediocrity. The primary purpose of WaveCradle is to enhance and amplify the audio output of your iPhone without the use of speakers or other extra hardware. The WaveCradle uses natural acoustics to direct the sound to the listener via its curved design. When listening to music or a phone call, the audio output is noticeably louder without being distorted. This won’t replace a traditional speaker but for casual desktop use it works great.
Just like your iPhone, WaveCradle isn’t just functional but a dream to look at. It comes it two styles, classic and low profile, as well as three different colors (I opted for traditional black). The sloped bottom makes it look like your iPhone is lounging in the lap of luxury rather than carelessly laying down on a table top. Your iPhone stands at attention ready for action, but at a slight recline just to let you know it likes to let its hair down on occasion.
My only complaint with the WaveCradle is that there is no pass-through for charging. To charge the iPhone while its in the cradle, you have to garishly cover the front with your charging cable. Ruins the illusion of perfection!
You’ve got to put your iPhone down sometime, so you might as well add some functionality.
Pros: Stylish way of storing your iPhone and amplifying sound.
Cons: No charging pass through
Four out of Five Dogcows

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hardware Review: Prizm Stand

Apple’s iOS devices are simple, elegant and just work. However, one flaw of their design is they lack an integrated stand: they simply can’t stand up on their own. Enter the Prizm Stand: the logical choice for displaying your iOS device. Although these stands are not specifically designed for the iPhone and iPad, I can’t imagine a better pairing of two products.
The stand is comprised of two pieces of aluminum in a variety of attractive colors that provide a stand to hold your tablet or phone. The brushed metal design matches the iPad and iPhone perfectly (but doesn’t come in white!). The stand comes together by simply crossing the metal pieces into a scored slot. The lightweight aluminum make the stand lightweight and portable and the phone stand actually fits on your key chain.
When devices are held in the Prizm stand all ports are accessible, including the bottom dock and the device can be held in a portrait or landscape orientation. In addition, I had no problem using the Prizm with a variety of iPhone and iPad cases: even my thicker “extreme” cases The cradling is secure and reliable, but unfortunately is not adjustable: one position is all you get.
The attractive colors frame the iPhone and iPad extremely well and instantly draw the eye. This is the type of stand that impresses people and if you want a conversation piece on your desk or to draw people to your Macworld booth this is the way to go. I can also see this stand working well for using your iPad as a picture frame. Personally I’ve used both the tablet and the phone stand for travel: works great to prop your iPad at the coffee shop or on the plane to do some hands free reading.
The best feature is the price: $24.95 for the phone stand and $29.95 for the tablet stand. This price makes it easy to buy the stands in a variety of colors depending upon your mood. My favorite was the green, but it comes in a total of 11 colors.
Pros: Attractive, simple design that frames and supports your iPhone and iPad
Cons: Not adjustable

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Hardware Review: NuScribe Stylus

While Steve Jobs hated the stylus and worked hard to make the iPhone completely usable without one, in some circumstances you simply need a more traditional way to interact with the iPhone. Typically I like using a stylus in cold weather when taking off my gloves would just be too cold, or sometimes my hands are dirty or wet and I don’t want to touch the screen. In my day job, I often take credit cards via Square and customers feel more comfortable signing with a traditional writing device rather then their finger. My female friends tell me a stylus is indispensable when you’ve got long nails because the touchscreen isn’t always friendly for those with long or manicured nails.
The NuScribe stylus is a great writing instrument in and of itself. Sleek and simple, it has the right amount of weight to hold it comfortably in your hand. As a stylus, it just feels natural. The NuScribe feels just like a pen and because it’s a pen and a stylus, I use it everywhere. I’ve got a pen when I need to write and a stylus when I need to use my iPhone. Since the ball point is on the opposite end of the stylus nib, it’s unlikely you’ll accidentally use the pen portion on your iPhone screen. I remember my Palm stylus had pen marks for when I pressed the wrong button on my stylus/pen combo.
The stylus nib is always exposed, so in a purse or pocket you have to be careful it doesn’t get damaged. Ideally it would have some protection, but that protection would probably detract from its ease of use.
The price of the stylus is inexpensive enough that if you lose your pen (or it walks off your desk), it won’t set you back too far. And, yes, it works great with Draw Something!
A great multifunction stylus that lets bridges your digital and analog world at a price that won’t need a carrier subsidy.
Pros: Works great as a pen and basic stylus
Cons: Need to be careful with the stylus nib
Five out of Five Dogcows