Review: ePillow for iPad

March 2, 2012 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad, Reviews

Add a little comfort in your use of the iPad (or other tablets) with an ePillow. It’s exactly what it’s name sounds like. It’s a pillow stand for your iPad (or other electronic device). It has a simple design that brings comfort, keeping your hands free from holding the tablet device.

Basically it’s a soft pillow (made of suede, synthetic leather, or cotton depending on the color) that has a little holder in front to hold your device. Lay the pillow on your lap and slide in the iPad (or tablet). And then use it as you would normally do. It puts your device at a nice angle so you’re both comfortable and not straining from holding the device. Adjust the angle of the pillow to what best suits you. You can slip the device into the holder in either portrait or landscape mode.

If you’re a traveler, the ePillow is very convenient to take with you also! On the back of the pillow is a long strap. Simply slide this strap into the handle of your suitcase, and don’t worry about it falling anywhere. Use the ePillow on the plane or the car to read your books, play games, watch a movie, or even sleep on when you get tired (unless you’re the driver)!

On the front top right of the ePillow is a small pocket that’s big enough to hold your charging cable. You can store it in there when moving around.

The ePillow works with various devices, including iPad 1 and 2, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Motorola Xoom, Acer Iconia A500 Tab, LG Optimus Pad, HP Touchpad, Android Toughbook Tab, Sony Tab S, Asus Transformer Prime, ePad and even books!

When putting the iPad (or tablet) into the slot, a portion of the bottom part of the iPad is covered. All your frequently used apps in your dock (most likely email, Safari, etc) will be covered up when using the ePillow. But this isn’t a problem at all if you’re viewing video or movie. If you are changing apps constantly, this may be a little bit cumbersome if you’re using the apps in your dock.

Choose from a variety of materials (and colors) including suede, synthetic leather, and cotton. Currently available colors Brown, Black, Red/Grey, Aqua/Grey, Pink/Black, Black/Pink, Red/Black.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars · ePillow.net · $29.95

Disclosure: This product was sent by ePillow for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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Review: Hub Innovations Rev 360 Smart for iPad 2

March 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad, Reviews

If you find yourself walking around a lot to show screens and apps on your iPad, you may want to consider getting the Hub Innovations Rev 360 Smart Case for the iPad 2. It’s an iPad 2 case that not only fits snuggly on the iPad, but also in your hand!

Made of a soft silicone material, the case fits the iPad 2 perfectly, leaving openings for all the buttons and ports, including a side to slip your Apple Smart Cover into. To use, simply press the case in along all the sides.

What makes this case extra special is the mechanism on the back of the case. There’s a circular piece with a strap that allows you to put your hand in. Once your hand is in, spin, turn, or hold the iPad to the position that best helps you display the screen. And when you’re done displaying the screen, you can put it down on a table and the circular back becomes a stand. Turn it to be in either portrait or landscape mode. It’s about a 30 degree angle, which is perfect for typing.

If you would like higher angle, that’s where your Apple Smart cover comes into play. Place it on the iPad and turn the cover into a stand. Now it’s perfect for movie viewing.

Overall, it’s a wonderful case, especially if you enjoy holding your iPad in one hand. Being able to use the case as a stand too is a bonus. The Hub Innovations Rev 360 Smart Case is available in assortment of over 20 beautiful colors and patterns. Variations of this case is also available for iPad 1 users ($49.95), as well as iPad 2 users who do not have Apple Smart covers ($59.95). The only difference between the regular Rev 360 for iPad 2 and the Rev 360 Smart for iPad 2 is the opening for the to place the Apple Smart cover.

Rating: 4.5 our of 5 stars · $69.95 · hubinnovations.com

Disclosure: This product was sent by Hub Innovations for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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Review: Atari Arcade Duo Powered

February 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad, Reviews

Blast to the past with the Atari Arcade by Discovery Bay Games! It’s a retro Atari game controller for the iPad, and just the perfect gift for fans of the Atari 2600 video game console. It’s such a fun way to bring back those childhood memories!

The Atari game controller is an extension to the iPad. It’s a one-piece device with a joy stick and 4 buttons on it, as you would expect on an old arcade machine to have. On the top of the controller is a place for you to slide your iPad in. This part is a little tricky because the slot is only as big as the iPad’s charging port. Once you slide it in, click on the two locks on both sides. These locks keep the iPad in place so it doesn’t fall out while playing.

The next thing you need to do is download the Atari Greatest Hits iPad app. It’s a free iPad app with in-app purchases. The app comes with one free game. You may remember the old favorite, Missile Command. Of course you can play the game without the controller, but it’s much more fun with it!

Be sure to mount the iPad onto the the controller before launching the Atari Greatest Hits app. If you happen to launch the app first, you may need to close the app or restart the iPad. Once mounted, select a game to play and go to “Controls.” Make sure the “Atari Arcade powered by Duo” is selected. Then hit “Play.”

The joystick and buttons feels so much like the old arcade games. They even make the same clicky sounds! They could sound a little loud, but that’s what makes them great!

Play some of the old arcade favorites like Asteroids, Centipede, and Missile Command. You can purchase packages of 5+ games for just 99 cents, or purchase all 99 games for just $9.99.

One downside is that it only works with the Atari Greatest Hits iPad app. You can’t use the joystick with other games. I’d love to see this working for Pac-man one day.

Overall, the controller and the games in the apps are a lot of fun if you like the retro pixel games. They sure bring back a lot of great childhood arcade memories!

Note: The Atari Arcade controller is compatible with both the iPad and iPad 2.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars · DiscoveryBayGames.com · $59.99

Disclosure: This product was sent by Discovery Bay Games for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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Review: Woodees iPic Stylus

February 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

There’s now an iPad / tablet stylus made with musicians in mind. It’s both stylish and functional, and may I add, quite adorable. It’s Woodees’ new iPic Stylus. It works with all touchscreen devices, and resembles a guitar pic, but with a stylus nub on the end.

The iPic offers a very natural feel for musicians, especially if they’re playing the guitar, bass, or other musical string instruments on the iPad or iPhone. You can hold it between your thumb and index finger for that natural “pick” feel. Or even hold it to “poke” at the screen to type. You can even turn the iPic to the side and strum it like a real guitar pick on your device.

For fun with musical instruments, download the free iPad app, Miso Music: Plectrum for iPad to test iPic with.

One thing I would change about the iPic is the surface of the pick. It’s a little bit slippery to hold at times. If the surface of it had some texture, it may work better even for the sweatiest fingers.

Overall, the iPic is a fun little stylus, especially for the musician at heart. It’s available in both black and white. Normally $19.99, it’s currently on sale for $14.99.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars · Woodees.com · $14.99

Disclosure: This product was sent by Woodees for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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Review: Macally Ecostand2 for iPad 2

February 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

Is Macally Ecostand2 a case or is it a stand? It’s a little bit of both actually, and best of all, it’s eco-friendly too! This case and stand combo contains two parts — a plastic back case that fits nicely on the iPad 2 and the flexible bamboo stand.

The Case. The case is simple to put on. Simply snap the case on back of the iPad 2, and securely work your way around the edges to make sure it’s all in. It’s made of a hard plastic that’s dark gray in color. There’s cutouts for all the ports and buttons, including the back camera. The case only slightly covers the front edges. On the middle of the case is a large circular magnet. This part is used to attach to the bamboo stand.

The Bamboo Stand. The stand looks like a small cutting board but with flexible and bendable pieces in the center. To put the stand into a vertical stand, bend the bottom part down and back, and the top part at the angle you wish the iPad 2 to be in. The center piece should be at a 90 degree angle.

The stand does take a little bit of muscle power to move and position, but that’s a good thing because it means it’s sturdy when you use it as a stand. Not to mention, it looks very nice too, especially if you love bamboo.

To put the stand in a typing position, simple push the top part of the stand all the way down.

Using both the case and stand. Both the stand and case have magnetic pieces on them. To use them together, simple put the iPad 2 (with the case) onto the circular area of the stand. Be sure to use both hands when doing this. Once it’s in place, you can turn the iPad at any angle you wish. It’s one of the view stands that allow a full 360 degree rotation for various viewing angles and positions.

This stand and case combo is excellent for game playing or video viewing. And when you just want to use the iPad by itself, simple detach the iPad from the stand with a light pull.

One improvement I would make on this product is the case. The cutouts have some sharp edges that would be nicer if smooth, especially when the iPad is used without the stand. Overall, the Ecostand2 is beautiful to have and display in your home.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 starts · MacAlly.com · $39.99 · Amazon ($37.50)

Disclosure: This product was sent by Macally for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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Review: GumDrop Drop Tech Series Military Edition Case for iPad 2

September 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

Need a super sturdy iPad 2 case? The GrumpDrop Drop Tech Series: Military Edition iPad 2 case is one designed for civilians but inspired by the military. This little gem contains not just one or two, but four layers of protection! And it does that without adding too much bulk. This rugged case features multiple barriers of shock absorption, a built-in polycarbonate screen protector, and microfilm dust filters.

Layers of Protection. The first layer is the polycarbonate front. This is an interior layer that protects the front edges of the iPad 2. It completely covers the front edges, leaving only cutouts for the Home button, front camera, dock port, and headphone jack. The cutout for the front camera has a thin film on it to protect it from any scratches. Before putting this layer on, you need to slide in the second layer, the screen protector frame.

The screen protector frame is nice because you don’t have to deal with any sticky situations. No adhesives to worry about, just simply place it in the first layer and put these two layers on top of the iPad screen. It protects your screen without any of the mess!

The third layer is the Polycarbonate back. This pieces is placed onto the back of the iPad and snaps into the front layer. This piece covers the entire back of the iPad 2 with cutouts for the headphone jack, mic, back camera, rotation button, volume buttons, and dock port. There are also some narrow holes in the back to add in some design. The speaker area has a cutout, but has a thin mess around it to keep dibris from getting into the speaker. The camera has a clear protective film so it doesn’t get scratched.

Finally, the last layer is the military green silicone skin. This piece completes the whole look of the iPad case. When you have all of the other layers snapped in place, put this silicone skin cover around it and push in the edges in place. The soft texture and grooves in this skin makes it easy and nice to hold. This layer covers up the Home button, dock, and headphone jack so no dust or dibris will get in.

Overall. With all the layers together, you have yourself a highly protective case. It protects both the front and back, and all edges and ports. The best part is that it doesn’t feel as clunky as some folio cases and other ones that have this much protection. And because theres a protective film layer, you won’t see as many smudges and fingerprints on your iPad.

There are two minor downfalls with this case. One is that a little difficult to remove once you get it in. It will take a little bit of work to take it apart. You probably won’t need to do this often though, unless you want to put your iPad in a certain stand. The other thing I noticed is that if you need to tap something on the edge of the iPad screen, it may not respond as quickly. You will have to press a little harder since that’s where the film and the interior case meet. There may be a small gap. Again, just a minor issue.

Overall, it’s an excellent accessory choice for your iPad 2, especially if work (or play) in a rough environment. The Military Edition is available in an army green color for $69.95. The Drop Tech Series iPad 2 cases are also available in other colors such as black, black/red finishings, white, and pink for $59.95.

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 · GumDropCases.com · $59.95 – 69.95 · Amazon

Disclosure: This product was sent by GrumDrop Cases for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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iPad Stand Review: Just Mobile Slide

September 14, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

The Just Mobile Slide iPad stand is one or the more interesting iPad stands available today. It’s made of two pieces — a holder that matches the back of the iPad exactly, and a mini rolling pin that fits right in the holder (when not in use).

To use the Slide, slide your iPad into the holder and put the rolling pin behind the iPad. Set the rolling pin at the angle you would like your iPad to stand.

When in use, the Slide has a very nice elegant look. The iPad can stand in both portrait or landscape mode. However, in portrait mode, the stand does cover part of the Home button. Although still accessible, it is still partially covered.

If you constantly remove your iPad from the stand, you may find that this stand may not be the one for you. The moment you take the iPad out, the rolling pin rolls down, and you have to adjust it again to the right angle before putting it in. I find this a little frustrating since I change the direction of my iPad all the time because some apps only work in landscape or portrait mode. Besides this one point, it does look very nice and is small enough to pack away in a suitcase or bag if you travel a lot.

Although it’s marketed for the iPad and iPad 2, this stand also works with other tablets and eReaders on the market.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars · Xstand.net · $34.95 · Amazon ($32.49)

Disclosure: This product was sent by Just Mobile for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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Review: Moshi Concerti for iPad 2

September 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

If you have an on-the-go lifestyle, the Moshi Concerti may be just the iPad 2 case for you. Not only is it stylish, but it also provides complete protection for your precious device. In addition, there are many ways to use it, making your iPad 2 experience quite enjoyable.

The Concerti is a folio-style case made of a beautiful microfiber material from the inside and out. On the inside of the case is a silicone enclosure that securely holds the iPad in place. This soft silicone interior case covers the edges of the iPad, keeping it safe from everyday wear and tear. It has cutouts for the dock, speakers, on/off button, camera, headset jack, and mic. The volume buttons are not cut out, but the material is soft enough that you can easily press on the side.

This case offers many different functional positions. After you put your iPad in, you’ll notice that it’s on the left side, unlike most iPad 2 cases. This allows it to open up in a way where you can use the camera without needing a camera hole in the microfiber part of the case. If you’re holding it in portrait position, open and fold the cover to the left to expose the camera.

Another way to use the case is to turn it into a stand. The case allows three different stand positions in landscape mode. All great for web surfing, gaming, and video viewing. To use, open the case and have the iPad in landscape position (Home button will be on the left). Select a position to stand it in — there are three set of bumps on the interior of the case that will hold the iPad in the position you wish it to be.

Also, if you enjoy carrying your iPad around in your hand — like to take roll in a class or notes while you’re walking, there’s a built-in hand pocket to help alleviate wrist stress in the case.

To keep the case closed, there’s a convenient elastic strap that holds the front cover in place. Simply lift up the strap and wrap it around the case.

Overall, this a great case to dress up your iPad 2 in. It’s stylish, functional, and quite versatile. Not only does it fully protects the iPad 2, but it feels so soft in your hands as well. The Concerti is available in three colors — Tyrian Purple, Sahara Beige, and Falcon Gray. You can purchase it for $55.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars · MoshiMonde.com · $55.00 · Amazon ($54.95)

Disclosure: This product was sent by Moshi for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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iPad Stand Review: Bracketron iTilt

September 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

Are you always on the go? Need an iPad stand that can keep up with you? The iTilt by Bracketron is probably the thinnest tablet stand on the market. You can tuck it away in your suitcase without taking much valuable space!

This ultra slim iPad stand can hold your device in both portrait and landscape mode in eight convient viewing angles. The non-slip feet at the bottom of the stand holds your iPad securely on your desk.

With this stand, there’s just one thing you have to be careful of. When lifting your iPad out of the stand, you may pull onto the back of it and then unhook the stand’s back support. This doesn’t matter too much if you were taking the iPad out of the stand. But if you were just moving the stand onto another position on your desk, the back support could make the whole stand fall down.

Overall, the iTilt iPad stand is highly portable, functional, and quite affordable. It’s also compatible with both the iPad 1 and iPad 2., as well as most other tablets and eReaders on the market.

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 · Bracketron.com · $19.95 · Amazon ($9.46)

Disclosure: This product was sent by Bracketron for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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Hands-on Review of the HP TouchPad

September 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

The HP TouchPad came and left without a warning. But for those lucky few who got their hands on one, congratulations! For $99, this device is worth every penny.

Read my complete review of the HP TouchPad on GeekBeat.TV

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Review: Incipio iPad 2 Smart Feather Ultralight Hard Shell Case

September 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

If you own an Apple smart cover for your iPad, I bet you love it. It flips, folds, stands, protects the front screen and makes your iPad more useful. But sometimes, you may find that the smart cover falls off too easily. For example, when you’re reading in bed and you slightly shift the iPad’s position, the cover just pops off. Although the magnet is strong, oftentimes, it will remove itself from the iPad when you prefer it not to.

That’s where the Incipio iPad 2 Smart Feather Ultralight Hard Shell Case comes in! It’s a light back cover for the iPad 2 that works seamlessly with your Apple Smart cover. It’s form fitting, looks great, and you’ll hardly notice it’s there. It protects the back side of your iPad 2 very well, but what makes this back cover stand out is the side hinge holder (custom molded feather, as they call it) that holds your iPad 2 smart cover in place. Yes, that means no falling off when you don’t want it to. You can have the Apple Smart cover open and hold onto that, and it won’t shake off.

The Smart Feather also has cut outs so all your buttons and ports are available. In addition, the Smart Feather also comes with the Incipio® Vanity Kit, which is one clear screen protector, applicator card, and cleaning cloth.

The Incipio iPad 2 Smart Feather Ultralight Hard Shell Case comes in an array of colors that compliments the Apple Smart Covers — black, gray, blue, green, orange, pink, red, cream, tan, navy, and frost (lovely if you want to see the Apple logo through it).

Rating: 4.5 starts out of 5 · MyIncipio.com · $34.99 · Amazon ($24.86)

Disclosure: This product was sent by Incipio for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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Review: Toddy Smart Cloth

August 30, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

I love all my gadgets and devices, especially the iPhone and iPad. I use them everyday, and constantly throughout the day. The one thing that really annoys me is all the fingerprints and smudges that appear on the screens from the heavy use. Lucky for me, there are Toddy Smart Cloths!

Toddy are microfiber smart-clothes that make cleaning your device simple, easy, and at the same time, is quite stylish! Without the need of any liquids, these clothes come in many beautiful colors and patterns.

Each cloth is 5″x7″ inches, small enough to carry around, yet big enough to clean with about two swipes. One side has a beautiful pattern on silk microfiber. The other side is made of a soft microfiber in a color that matches the pattern.

To use, simply wipe the screen of your iPhone, iPad, laptop, smartphone, or tablet screen on this microfiber side. This cleans the screen of dirt, smudges, etc. It may take 2 or 3 swipes before all the fingerprints and smudges are removed. Next, polish the screen up using the silk pattern side.

Although there are many brilliant patterns and colors to choose from, you also have the option of branding the cloth with your own design and logo! To find out more, see the branding part of their website.

Here is more information the company would like you to know about the Toddy smart cloth:

  • Made of 100% premium microfiber for effective removal of dirt, smudges and grime from your iPad or any touchscreen device without the need of any liquid
  • Perfect for Toddying smaller surfaces such as iPods, iPhones, Blackberry and Android devices
  • Double-Sided screen cleaner: plush to clean and buff – silk to polish
  • Environmentally friendly – machine washable, cold, tumble dry low
  • Treated with AEGIS Microbe Shield® to protect it from germs, mold and mildew making it the perfect antibacterial touch screen cleaner

Overall, I think the Toddy smart cloth would make a great companion for any gadget lover. It’s both beautiful and functional! And note, a lot of us geeks also wear eyeglasses — they’re great at cleaning those too!

ToddyGear.com · $9.99 · Amazon ($9.99)

Disclosure: This product was sent by ToddyGear for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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Bargain iPhone and iPad Apps: Fragger, Hello Kitty, Weezer, and more!

August 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Freebies, Games, iPad, Reviews


Looking for new apps for your iPhone and iPad? Here’s my weekly round-up on the latest bargain apps! This blog post was recently featured on BlogHer.com!

Fragger – Remember the old Worms game where you had to fire at the other team? Fragger is similar, but you throw grenades at the enemy instead. Bounce off walls, knock down the enemy, or just blast them away! Highly addictive and currently free for both iPhone and iPad!
iPhone / iPod Touch Version (Free) | iPad Verion (Free)

Hello Kitty Skins and Shelves – If you’re addicted to Hello Kitty and her friends, try adding some Hello Kitty pizzazz to your device! This app is loaded with many wallpapers and even ones that have shelves to hold your icons. Find the ones you want and download. Change your wallpaper in the settings and you got yourself a pretty wallpaper and home screen!
iPhone / iPod Touch Version (Free)

Weezer – one of my favorite bands have released a new app so you can keep track of their tour dates. Post your pics and videos or use weezerxfest in your Tweets or Facebook status to get included in the content time-line. What a great way of getting Weezer fans together! More featured content to be added soon! iPhone / iPod Touch Version (Free)

Michaels Stores – Are you a crafter? You’re in luck! Michaels finally has a new iPhone app out. Browse through ads, search for projects to do, but most importantly, get those coupons conveniently on your phone! You can also search for the nearest Michaels store, but if you’re a crafter, you probably already frequent your nearest store. ;) iPhone / iPod Touch Version (Free)

GetGlue isn’t new, but it’s definitely an app you need to get! If you enjoy watching shows, listening to music, reading a book, and more… you can check in and see who else is doing the same, and earn real stickers and badges along the way! Many shows, music, books, etc. have exclusive stickers you can earn. Once you earn 20 stickers or more, you can request for the real ones through mail! It’s a fun new social network.
iPhone / iPod Touch Version (Free) | iPad Version (Free)

Breast Cancer: Beyond The Shock – I’m sure you may know at least one person affected by breast cancer, whether it be a mother, sister, grandmother, or friend. This app helps to educate us of what a person goes through when dealing with breast cancer. View videos, ask questions, and find support. Universal App (Free)

Pix’n Love Rush – So retro and so much fun, this game will take you back to the time of pixels and short attention spans! Help the little critter make it through the levels by moving, jumping, and shooting. Collect yellow pieces and avoid or shoot purple ones. Rush through all the short levels quickly and safely. The iPad Version was $3.99, but is on sale this week for just 99 cents. iPhone / iPod Touch Version (99 cents) | iPad Version ($1.99)

Zulily – Are you a mom (or mom-to-be) who loves to shop? Check out Zulily, a daily deals place for moms, babies, and kids! Lots of huge markdowns on the cutest outfits and many other things. This app will keep you on top of all the deals. Set the type of notifiations you want and never miss a cool deal! iPhone / iPod Touch Version (Free)

PopSugar – If you’re a fan of PopSugar, you’ll absolutely love their apps! Flip through visual stimulating photos of celebrities, as well as browse all their other editorial branches. My favorite is GeekSugar! Beautiful, sleek, and easy-to-use user interface.
iPhone / iPod Touch Version (Free) | iPad version (Free)

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iPad Stand Review: Just Mobile Encore

August 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad, Reviews

Just Mobile is known for their simple and elegant designs and their latest iPad Stand, the Encore, is just that. It’s light, portable, and highly functional.

The Encore iPad stand has a beautiful circular base with a silver finishing that matches the back of the iPad perfectly. This makes it look seamless, as if it was part of the Apple iPad suite.

Attached to the back of this circular base is a hinged arm that holds the iPad in place. This hinged support is easy to move up or down so you can place the iPad in your preferred viewing angle.

On the front of the base is a 2 inch rubber stopper that follows the circular pattern of the stand. This soft base holds the iPad in place, and at the same time, prevents any scratches to your device.

To use the stand, simply place your iPad in the middle — between the front stopper and the hinged back. Move the hinge to the angle you want and you’re ready to play your game, read a book, or just surf.

The iPad can stand in either landscape or portrait mode in the Encore. What’s nice about this stand is that even though you may put it in portrait mode, you still have access to the Home button. The front stopper is low enough to not cover the button.

This iPad stand is recommended for the frequent traveler since it’s portable, or if you enjoy playing games, or reading a book at your desk. Although it does fold down into a typing mode, the angle is still steeper than what you may be use to. I don’t recommend using this stand if you plan on typing long documents on-screen.

Overall, the Encore is quite a beauty, and would make any iPad own really happy. In addition to just holding iPads, this stand will also hold other tablets and eReaders (even the small 6″ Nook). The Encore is more than just a tablet stand, it’s a work of art, adding beauty and elegance to any desk.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars · JustMobile.com · $59.95 · Amazon ($49.99)

Video demo of Just Mobile Encore

Disclosure: This product was sent by Just Mobile for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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Bargain iPhone, iPad, and Mac Apps: Zombie Restaurant, Cut the Rope, iBlast Moki, and more!

August 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Freebies, Games, iPad, Reviews

Get through the rest of summer with some sizzling new apps! Below are a few bargain must-have apps for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Enjoy!

Zombie Restaurant – The city around you is surrounded by brain-eating zombies! Luckily, you’re a restaurant owner and you figured out how to keep the zombies at bay. As long as you feed them gruesome brain and guts dishes, they’ll stay away from you! Build and expand your restaurant in this hilarious game. Universal Version (Free)

Cut the Rope: Experiments – Little Om Nom has been dropped off at a scientist’s house and he’s trying all sorts of candy experiments on Om Nom! Help Om Nom get the candy in these whacky new levels. Highly addictive and recommended for lovers of puzzle games and problem solvers. Never played Cut the Rope before? Try out the full universal version of the Holiday Gift edition, or the original game. The games are just 99 cents, which is such a treat!
iPhone/iPod Touch Version (99 cents) | iPad Version ($1.99)

iBlast Moki – Send the Mokis to safety by bombing their way through the mysterious lands! This is similar to Rolando, but there’s definitely more bombs and a whole lotta blasting of things in this game. It’s a game of physics where you have to place bombs in certain places and have them go off at different times. The object is to have the blast bounce the Moki’s into the portal holes. iPhone/iPod Touch Version (Free) | iPad Version (99 cents)

Glowfish HD – Oh no! Your lady friend, Coralline, has been captured by the evil Dr. Urchin. Bring her to safety with the help of your powerful Glow Chums friends! Navigate through gorgeous water sceneries. With over 50 levels of beautiful graphics in stored, it’s hard to put down! It’s very similar to a game like Spore, but instead of eating smaller species, you collect powerful Glow Chums to help you through each level.
iPhone/iPod Touch Version (99 cents) | iPad Version (Free)

Pucca’s Restaurant – If you love Pucca, or just restaurant games in general, here’s a fun one. Cook and serve moon cakes, as well as a big variety of Asian dishes to your customers! Have Pucca run all around the restaurant managing the cooking, menu, and serving customers. Cute and fun music while you play. Plus the app is optimized to use on both iPhone and iPad. Find your friends via Plus+ gaming network. Universal App (Free)

Google+ – is the shiny new social network by Google. It’s fun and addictive once you have all all your friends join. Add friends by adding them to “Circles” and you can share your updates with the Public, all of your Circles, or just specific ones. You can leave comments and +1 (saying you ‘liked’ something) on your friends’ updates. There’s also a feature called Huddle, which is like group texting, for specific Circles or groups of people. You also get notified of various updates on your Google+ profile. Definitely worth the download if you use Google+ a lot.
iPhone Version (Free)

BabyCenter Birth Class – if you’re pregnant, or planning to have a family soon, this is a wonderful app to have on your iPad. It takes you through 3 hours of a birth class, explaining signs of labor, as well as various stages of labor. There’s also great tips and guidance from doctors, midwives, and birth educators, and much, much more. This app use to be $40, but was recently reduced to being free. iPad Version (Free)

Photovine – Created by Google, this is my new favorite photography social network! Start off with a picture (a seed) and watch it grow! Basically, you upload a photo and categorize it. Watch your ‘vine’ grow as more people add photos to your category. You can add photos to ther people’s categories as well. It’s an interesting and new way of displaying your photos. Plus, I’m sure you have lots of unsorted photos on your phone that you can definitely categorize and have fun with this app! iPhone App / iPod Touch 3rd gen (Free)

Google Catalogs – Get ready to do some windowshopping! Recently released by Google, this app lets you flip through many rich and beautiful catalogs. Watch videos and save your favorite products (requires Google account) in a scrapbook. You can even create photo collages of your favorite items and share them. And there’s about a catalog for everyone’s taste! From Apparel & fashion for men, women, and children; to beauty; jewelry; home goods; gifts! More will be coming soon. iPad Version (Free)

Amazon Student – The Fall college school year is just around the corner! So it’s best to arm yourself with this new app. It lets you instantly check prices on textbooks and more. Just scan a barcode to check a price, or use one-click access to scan items you want to buy or sell back. Amazon also has a convenient trade-in program that can turn your books, games, movies, and electronics into Amazon Gift Cards. Plus, join Amazon Student to get FREE Two-Day Shipping for six months with Amazon Prime shipping benefits! Best of all, this app is absolutely free! Amazon account is required for trade-in, and only certain items are allowed to be traded. iPhone / iPod Touch version (Free)

Wunderlist – is a beautiful, yet simple way to keep track of your tasks or to-do list. With a very intuitive UI, you’ll find yourself using this pretty quickly. Sign up for a free Wunderlist account and you can sync your list on every device, including iPhone, Android, Windows, iPad, and Mac desktop iPhone / iPod Touch Version (Free) | iPad Version (Free) | Mac App (Free)

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iPad 2 Case Review: Speck Fitfolio

June 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

With protection from front to back, the Speck Fitfolio can keep your new iPad 2 safe and sound. This form-fitting case is easy to use and can be set in many functional positions.

To put you iPad 2 in the case, you’ll need to first align all the ports to hard cover interior. Then just snap it in place. It’s as simple as that.

There are cutouts for all the ports. The cutouts also make it easy to get to all of the buttons without much trouble.

Folio. The Speck FitFolio, as the name suggests, can be nicely used as a folio for your iPad 2. It covers both the front and back of your new device and looks highly elegant and professional.

There’s also a handy bungee cord that holds the front cover in place when it’s closed, or secures it to the back of the case when it’s open. This works very nicely for both landscape and portrait mode. Again, the multiple use for this case is very nice.

Upright positions. The Fitfolio is also a stand for the iPad 2. On the soft interior cover, there are four different indentations that you can place the iPad in, ranging from position angles between 45 to 75. This makes it really handy to watch movies and videos from your iPad 2, or even games.

Typing position. Flip the case around and you got yourself a nice typing stand for your iPad. Talk about universal! To get the case into this position, hold the iPad 2 in landscape mode with the front cover pointing down. Now take the front cover and pull it backwards. Pull the front cover so it meets the back cover and pull the rest of the cover around. This will form a nice pedestal for your iPad in landscape typing mode. This makes it very convenient to type when the iPad is in your lap or on a table.

Overall, the Speck Fitfolio iPad 2 case is slim, form-fitting, and stylish. As an added bonus, it has multiple uses which makes it a nice all-in-one case. Best of all, the Fitfolio protects both the front and back of the iPad and costs just under $40; that’s the cost of just an Apple Magic cover that only protects half of the device.

The Speck FitFolio is available in red, black, and grey.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars · SpeckProducts.com · $39.95

Disclosure: This product was sent by Speck for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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Review: HyperShield Back Cover for iPad 2

May 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

Do you love your iPad 2 and it’s special magical cover by Apple? But do you also feel something is missing? Like the back cover? How do you keep that precious Apple logo and back side from being scratched? Not to worry, HyperMac has you covered!

The new HyperShield is a back cover for the iPad 2. The HyperShield is made of a durable TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) which is a gel-like material that not only protects your device from scratches but also has shock absorbing properties for any bumps along the way.

Putting the HyperShield back cover on is quite easy. Simply pop in the cover by matching the ports and cutouts. Press around the iPad 2 to snap on the cover and you’re done. You’ll notice that the back cover has all the cutouts for your ports, speakers, buttons, and camera. To finish it off, add the Apple iPad 2 cover and you got yourself beautiful matching ‘case’ for your iPad 2.

The HyperShield has many desirable qualities any iPad 2 user would love. First, it comes in an array of colors — all matching any of the Apple iPad 2 covers you may have already purchased. Second, for those of you who love the new slim look of the iPad 2, you don’t have to worry about this back cover adding any extra bulk. It’s slim, yet protective. Third, it’s completely compatible with the Apple iPad 2 front cover. There’s a side cutout that allows the hinge on the Apple cover to attach nicely. Lastly, it’s quite stylish as well. It covers the iPad 2 where protection is needed, and also add a beautiful bevel around the edge of the iPad to bring the colors together.

The only drawback is that the cutout on the left side for the hinge is wider than the hinge itself, so part of the aluminum back of the iPad 2 is exposed. The reason it’s there is so the hinge of the Apple iPad 2 cover would have a place to fold back on. It’s about the size of a pinky finger, so not too wide, but this may be a concern for some people.

The HyperShield for iPad 2 is available in a big range of colors, including all the matching Apple covers and clear — gray, blue, green, orange, pink, cream, tan, black navy, and clear.

Overall, I think the HyperShield makes the iPad 2 feel more complete, especially with an Apple iPad 2 cover. It’s also reasonably priced at $19.95.

Rating: 4.5 out 5 · HyperShield.com · $19.95

Disclosure: This product was sent by HyperMac for review purposes. This is part of Beatweek Magazine’s coverage of iPad products. Opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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Use an iPad to Add Some Light to Your Photos

April 17, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

How to use an iPad for great photo lighting!

I was having dinner with my friend, Mark, at Daliah Lounge in Seattle last week. The restaurant looked lovely, and so did the food! You know how I love taking photos of food, especially for Foodspotting. The restaurant was a little bit dark though. I was going to use my regular camera (with a flash) until I saw Mark pull out his iPad and raised it over his food. Then he took out his camera and snapped a photo. I thought it was funny at first, but then I found myself doing the same. It was quite a clever idea. ;)

Albert snapped this photo of me putting just the perfect amount of light on my food. :)

And here are the photos I took of my dinner and desserts with iPad lighting. Yes, it’s another awesome use for the iPad. :)

How to use an iPad as a light source for photos

  1. On your iPad, go to Settings -> Tap on Brightness -> Move the scrollbar to the max
  2. Hold the light at the right angle on your subject.
  3. Snap a photo on your other device in the other hand.

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Roundup of iPad 2 Cases, Covers, and more!

April 5, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

Looking for a new iPad 2 accessories? Here is a roundup of iPad 2 cases, covers, and accessories that you should keep an eye out for. Of course, this is only a partial list. Most are available for pre-order. More in-depth reviews to come once they’re available!

Apple Smart Cover · $39.99 (Polyurethane) / $69.99 (Leather) · Apple.com
This Smart Cover is actually quite magical. So slim, yet so strong. It comes in an array of 10 beautiful bright colors. 5 of the colors are made with polyurethane, and the other 5 are aniline-dyed Italian leather. There’s a strong magnet on them to securely hold onto your iPad. The side with the hinge makes the cover feel like it’s seamlessly part of the iPad. It also doubles up as a stand — for viewing and typing positions.

Belkin Folio for iPad 2 · $TBD · Belkin.com
This fashionable case hugs your iPad 2 in place. It’s a folio-style case that also converts into a viewing stand. Turn it around and it’s set in typing position, perfect for email, writing, or chatting. The pocket in front gives you space to store your cord and other gear. Will be available in black and black/gray woven. Coming soon.

Belkin also has three other iPad 2 cases, which will also be available soon.

Booq Booqpad iPad Agenda · $99.95 · Booqbags.com
The Booqpad Agenda combines an iPad 2 case and notepad into one. It keeps all the business things you need organized, whether it’s a pen or stylus, business cards, cash, tickets, or notebook paper. Each Booqpad ships with a blank, 50-sheet A5 notepad made from at least 30% post-consumer materials and printed with soy ink. This is a surface perfect for sketching, writing, note-taking, or laying out the next app, printed piece, product, story, or website. It comes in a variety of colors. Next shipment estimated to be 04/12/2011.

Casecrown Denim iPad 2 Pocket Case · $38.95 · CaseCrown.com
Impress your gal pals with this unique Denim case! Made by Casecrown, this case has four exterior pockets, just like your jeans! The interior is made of shock absorbing foam to protect your new investment. Carry it in your hand, or use the adjustable strap to carry it like a messenger bag. Made of real denim, this case is stylish for a tech girl on the go. Currently on sale and available for order.

Casecrown iPad 2 Royal Standby Horizontal Case · $35.95 · Casecrown.com
The exterior of the CaseCrown Royal Standby case is made of synthetic leather, while the interior is lined with felt to protect the front glass. Inside of the case is an open pocket where you can easily slide in your iPad 2 and it will hold it in place. The cover is designed to flip back and turn the case into a viewing stand. All ports of the iPad 2 are accessible, even with the case on. It comes in three colors — red, brown, and black. Black is currently out of stock, but the other two are available for order.

Dodocase for iPad 2 · $59.95 · Dodocase.com
This case is handmade and constructed using traditional book binding techniques. The cover of the DODOcase Classic for the iPad 2 is designed to fold back to be used as a stand. The case perfectly matches the curvature of your iPad2 while providing access to all buttons and ports. The case can be in positions appropriate for both typing, video viewing, and camera views. There is a 2-3 week expected ship date for iPad 2 cases.

Enki Genius Case · $29.99 · EnkiGear.com
The Apple Smart Cover is great, but what about the delicate back side of your iPad 2? Not to worry, Enki has you covered! They made a new Genius Case that’s compatible with the Apple Smart Cover. Available in clear, smoke, blue and pink. Each order comes with a screen protector. And a lifetime warranty. Pre-orders start April 15th and shipping by the end of April.

Gear4 Angry Birds iPad 2 Case · $49.99 · Gear4.com
Are you a big Angry Birds fan? Show off your love for the game with this a super slim hard plastic Angry Birds case. It clips onto your iPad 2 and has openings around all the ports for easy access. There will be three different designs to choose from. You will have your choice of: Pig King vs. Red Bird, Red Bird, or Angry Birds Family. The three designs will surely put a smile on anyone’s face. These cases are not yet available for pre-order, but will be soon.

Griffin Technology Elan Folio Slim · $39.99 · GriffinTechnology
With the new slim design of the iPad, we’re all looking for protection without the bulk, and that’s where Griffin Tech delivers! The Eland Folio Slim is a new design that’s made of a textured black polyurethane on the outside cover and a soft microsuede lining inside. All access ports for controls, headphone jack, speaker, and rear-facing camera are all accessible. The case also folds into both landscape typing position as well as a viewing stand. Available for pre-order.

iLuv Smart Back Cover · $TBD · i-Luv.com
Already have an Apple Smart Cover? Why not get a matching back cover for it? iLuv has come up slim back covers to complete your magical device. Price and shipping date for this accessory is unknown. Back covers come in 10 colors, each matching the corresponding Smart Cover by Apple.

In addition, iLuv has many more iPad 2 accessories to choose from, including a bluetooth keyboard case.

InnoPocket Elite Folio for iPad 2 · $199.99 · Innopocket.com
For the trendy executives and race car enthusiasts comes this special new iPad 2 case called the Elite Folio. Made of two real carbon fiber shell, this case also has a Patent swivel hinge that rotates 360 degrees on a stainless steel hinge pin. This allows the top panel to fold completely underneath the bottom panel, keeping the clean design. It’s also made by hand which explains the expensive price point. They are available for pre-order and will begin shipping at the end of April.

Marware Microshell Folio · $69.99 · Marware.com
Here’s Marware’s take on the new iPad 2 design. It’s ultra sleek! The MicroShell Folio wraps the iPad 2 in a smooth rubberized shell for the back and a protective lid for the front. Opening the front flap wakes up your iPad and closing it puts it back to sleep. The front flap also doubles up and can be folded into a stand.

A version without the front flap called the Microshell iPad 2 Case ($39.99) is also available, as well as other Marware iPad 2 cases and accessories.

Miniot Cover · $70.34 · Miniot.com
Here’s a unique take on the iPad 2 cover. Not only is it a cover, but it’s also a 3-in-one stand. And it’s made of wood! This sleek and stylish cover has a microfiber lining to prevent any scratches on your iPad 2. Roll the Miniot cover to put the iPad 2 in a viewing landscape stand, a portrait camera stand, or a typing position. These cases are made in Holland from a single piece of the finest wood. All wood is obtained from well-managed forests and certified supply. Free engraving of your logo, art, etc, for a limited time. So order yours soon!

SFBags iPad Travel Express · $69 · SFBags.com
The Travel Express is made for the gadget lover on the go. It can store and protect your iPad or iPad 2 along with its many accessories. Stash your wireless keyboard, cables, power brick and accessories in and off you go. There are plenty of soft and scratch-free pockets to prevent bumps from any of the items. This case is small enough for you to toss it into another bag, or you can carry it with you over your shoulders with the optional D-rings and straps.

This case comes in six earthy colors. The case is $69. The additional D-Rings are $5, and optional straps are $12 or $22 (depending on size). Items are currently sold out, but you can pre-order for the April 7th shipment.

Speck PixelSkin HD Wrap for iPad 2 · $49.95 · SpeckProducts.com
Love the Apple iPad 2 Smart Cover but worried about the back of your iPad? This PixelSkin Wrap has your covered! There’s a protective cover on the back, and a front that wraps the screen. The front cover also folds into two types of stands, perfect for viewing shows, or typing. The PixelSkin HD Wrap will come in three colors — pink, colbalt, and black. They are not yet available for pre-order, but will be soon. Add your email to their mailing list to be notified when they’re available. Speck Fitfolio is also another interesting case for your iPad 2.

Speck iGuy · $39.95 · SpeckProducts.com
Who can resist this cute iGuy case? This whimsical case will put a smile on your face, whether you’re a kid or not. It doubles up as both a case and a stand, with a whole-lotta personality! Best of all, it fits both the iPad and iPad 2. Gotta have it? It will be available for $39.95 in three fun colors — green, aqua, and yellow.

STM Skinny for iPad 2 · $39.99 · STMbags.com
Does this case make your iPad 2 look skinny? Yes it does! It’s sleek and protective without the bulk. Both the back and front flap are made of a hard shell, making it durable for and easy to clean. The front flap also has the power to walk and put your iPad 2 to sleep. The inside flap is lined with a soft micro suede, protecting the glass. And lastly, this case is also a stand. Fold the front flap back and slide it in a back loop. Currently available in three colors – black, mushroom, & sage. Available for pre-order. In stock 4/5/2011. Also see STMbags for more iPad 2 accessories.

Targus Versavuâ„¢ 360° Rotating Stand & Case · $59.99 · Targus
Here’s a sophisticated case that has a unique cover that frames the beautiful Apple logo and allows your iPad 2 to rotate both vertically and horizontally while in the case. It could be used in three viewing positions.

You may also see this case already in stores like Best Buy as Targus 360° Rotating Stand & Case for iPad® 2. A version without the 360o capability is also available. It’s called the Targus Vuscapeâ„¢ Cover & Stand for iPad® 2 ($39.99).

TwelveSouth BookBook for iPad/iPad 2 · $69.99 · TwelveSouth.com
Love technology, but miss the feeling of holding a good book in your hand? You can have the best of both worlds with the BookBook iPad Case! This handmade leather case also doubles up as a fully adjustable stand. The hardback cover and spine provide impact protection from drops. And the hard protective interior offers crush protection. This unique design also disguises the iPad from any potential thefts. Fitting both iPad 1 and 2, this one-of-a-kind case is available in two colors — dark brown cover with black spine or vibrant brown cover with red spine. Available now.

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Finally Got my iPad 2!

April 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Gadgets and Accessories, iPad

I had plan on getting my iPad 2 on launched day (March 11, 2011), but so many things were going on that day that I didn’t aggressively try that hard to get one. For some reason, I didn’t think it would be in such a high demand so I was just going to stop by my nearest Apple store to pick one up after work. Boy was I wrong.. My nearest Apple Store (still about 45 minutes away from me) already had 500 people in line before I even left work.

So plan B was to go to my local Best Buy. At 5:30pm, they only had two iPads left — both were the 64GB+3G on Verizon. I decided to stop by a few Walmarts and Targets after that. Of course, they’re all gone. I did surveyed them so I know what to expect with the iPad 3 comes out.

Target had about 5 iPads. One Walmart only had 2. Another had 5. Best Buy had 150 but sold out within an hour (or less). Yes, I was all over California that night!

The next day, I went to Best Buy and reserved my iPad. There’s a $100 deposit, but they gave me a $100 gift card in exchange. I waited about a week before calling back to check on my status. They said the iPads didn’t come in yet. So I waited another week, and they told me the model I wanted isn’t in.

Well, I couldn’t wait anymore. Any longer, I might as well wait for the iPad 3 to come out. So when I saw
Macmall’s Tweet about getting a shipment in, I hopped to the opportunity. I called them the next morning (3/26/2011) and they said they had plenty in stock! The nearest MacMall from me was about 75+ miles, but well, it was worth it. Torrance has plenty of great food so I had a yummy lunch and got to do some grocery shopping as well, and plus, I got my new iPad 2!

They only had the 32 and 64 GB wifi black ones available, so I settled for the 32GB. I desperately need the space anyhow. My current iPad barely has space for another email to download.

The funny thing is, Macmall didn’t even get a shipment of iPads on launch day. The customer service was great. If I miss launch day for iPad 3, I know where to go next time. ;)

I’ve only had my iPad 2 for a few days but I’m already testing and abusing it. New reviews for iPad 2 cases will be coming soon, so be sure to come back for those. You can also read my iPad 2 Review here as well as my list of Top 50 Essential iPad Apps.

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