In between launching a range of outlandish pink products and affordable accessories so far this year, Razer made the surprising move of abandoning its online game store and mobile team. The latter, in particular, is an awkward move after two generati...
While you probably use your iPad every day for web browsing and media consumption, are you really using it to its full potential?
Five years after the first iPad went on sale on April 3, 2010, we have five suggestions for ways to get the most out of your Apple tablet.
Having a second monitor setup extends your screen real estate and can make you more productive. There are a number of apps out there that let you use your iPad as a second screen fairly simply and reasonably affordably
Avatron's AirDisplay solution will wirelessly connect your iPad to your Mac or Windows PC. The Splashtop Extended Wireless Display 2 will convert your iPad into a Wi-Fi-connected second monitor. If you're looking for a wired solution, Duet Display, from a team of ex-Apple engineers, can help Read more...
More about Mobile, Apple, Features, Tech, and Ipad
When Steve Jobs announced the iPad on Jan. 27, 2010 at an Apple press conference in San Francisco, no one could have foreseen the tablet's many varied uses over the next five years
Marking the anniversary of the iPad going on sale on April 3, 2010, we're taking a look at some of the more surprising ways people have used the device since it launched.
Have a read through our selection below. Do you have an example of an unexpected use of the Apple iPad? Share it with us in the comments.
1. By a famous concert pianist
In 2010, Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang delighted the audience at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco by using an iPad in his performance. Returning to the stage after calls for an encore, Lang Lang produced the iPad, loaded up the "Magic Piano" app and broke into a rendition of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee. Read more...
More about Mobile, Gadgets, Apple, Features, and Tech
We're in the midst of winter in the Northern Hemisphere right now, but that doesn't mean that you can't start making plans for summer fun in the great outdoors. Today I'm reviewing two products that will keep your gizmos going. The first is designed to let you charge up anywhere, as long as the sun's out: the RAVPower 15W Dual-Port Solar Charger (List price US$99.99, available for $56.99). The second is targeted more for day-to-day use: the RAVPower RP-PB18 Savior External Battery Pack ($99.99, available for $49.99).
RAVPower 15W Dual-Port Solar Charger
I'm a fan of photovoltaic solar energy, so much so that my house here in sunny Colorado has a 9 kilowatt array on the roof. The RAVPower 15W Dual-Port Solar Charger is a lot smaller, both in size and capacity, but you don't need all that much power to charge your devices.
The design is wonderful. You have a 24 ounce fabric folio covered with polyester canvas on the exterior that folds out revealing three separate panels. Located at four locations around the folio are metal-line eyeholes; these are used with carabiners (four are included) to attach the array to your backpack or a tent, or hang it from tree branches.
There are two USB ports available, one with a 2A output, the other with a 1A output. Both, of course, send out that current at the USB standard 5 volts. RAVPower uses what they call "iSmart Technology" to match the maximum charging current with the device so that it is charged in the least amount of time.
Last April, TUAW reviews a very unique iPad Air case - the Booq Booqpad - that melded a magnetically-attached agenda case with a paper notepad. At the time it garnered a 4-star rating thanks to its flexibility and that paper notepad. Today I'm looking at the BooqPad for iPad Air 2 (US$60.00) and we'll see if that changed.
Exterior dimensions: 7 x 9.5 x 0.9 inches (178 x 242 x 24 mm)
Weight: 0.88 lbs (0.4 kg)
Compatible with: iPad Air 2 only
Color: Gray only
Comes with removable/replaceable 50-sheet paper notepad
Like the previous iteration of the Booqpad, the new version consists of a slim folio that, when opened, features a paper notepad on the left side and a magnetically-attached tray for the iPad on the right side. A slender magnetic catch keeps the cover closed while you're in transit. Around the outside of the paper notepad side are slots for business cards, and you can get refills for your notepad in blank, lined, or graph paper formats ($10 for 3 pads).
With the arrival of the iPad Air 2 last fall, many case manufacturers went back to the drawing board to produce new products that would accommodate the slightly thinner tablet. One of the favorite keyboard cases for those of us here at TUAW has always been the ClamCase Pro (US$169.00), and that case has recently been updated for the latest member of the iPad family.
Dimensions: 9.74 x 7.30 x 0.74 inches (247.4 x 185.4 x 18.8 mm)
Weight: 1.2 lbs (.544 kg)
Battery life: 100 hours uninterrupted use time, 6 months standby time, recharges in 120 minutes
Another day, another great product from Limefuel. Yesterday we took a look at the company's big-capacity Blast L240X Pro external battery pack, and today we're looking at something that's quite a bit smaller, yet still packs a lot of power - the Dual Port USB 4.8A Wall Charger (US$16.99).
The idea behind this little powerhouse is to give you not one, but two 2.4A USB ports in one easily transportable little box. Instead of filling up your house or hotel room with multiple single port Apple power cubes, all with their nasty pointy prongs sticking out, you can hook two of your favorite Apple toys up per wall outlet. When you're done, the prongs fold away to avoid scratching your other electronic gear.
With 24W of power and 2.4A of current per port, your devices will charge quickly. You can use your existing charging cables with the device, which measures just 2 x 2 x 1.1 inches (50.8 x 50.8 x 27.9 mm) and weighs a featherweight 2.7 ounces (76.
The transformation of the iPad Air into the iPad Air 2 forced case manufacturers to go back to the drawing board, but that's not always a bad thing. With each iteration of case, the product usually gets better. That's the situation with Belkin's Qode Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2 (US$149.99), which has emerged from a redesign truly deserving of the name "Ultimate Pro". Let's take a look, then enter for an opportunity to win a Qode Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case for your iPad Air 2.
Dimensions: 9.72 x 7.09 x .71 inches(24.7 x 18 x 1.8 cm)
Weight: 17.28 ounces (490 grams)
Bluetooth Pairing: Bluetooth Smart pairing with up to 2 devices
Battery Life: Up to one year
The Qode Ultimate Pro looks like a pretty standard iPad keyboard case until you examine it closely. The iPad Air 2 is encased in a polycarbonate shell (white or black) for protection, and that shell can be removed from the keyboard by simply pulling the iPad away - magnets hold the two together. Bring the iPad Air 2 back in the vicinity of the "hinge" and they stick together, either in landscape or portrait orientation. The magnets that are built into the iPad Air 2 are used to keep the tablet in one of several positions.
The keyboard/screen protector is made of aluminum, and there are rubber "feet" that keep the keys from touching the iPad screen. Inside the case is a battery that's designed to give you almost a year between charges in normal usage.
One thing that I was happy to see is that there is no power switch on the keyboard as it's designed to turn on and off automatically. This seems to be a feature that is becoming common with the better keyboard cases on the market.
The keyboard has all of the keys in the traditional locations, but does not use a separate row for the iPad function keys - instead, those keys share space with the number key row. The caps lock and tab keys are rather small and may be an issue for some users. The keyboard is backlit, with three possible brightness settings.
I found the feel of the keyboard to be acceptable, but a bit more "springy" than other keyboards with less of a positive feedback. As with all keyboards, you may wish to try out the Qode Ultimate Pro for yourself prior to purchase since everyone has their own take on what the "perfect" keyboard feels like.
Unfortunately, I don't have an iPad Air 2 nor is my employer going to purchase one for me, so I had to do all of my testing with an ancient, fat and heavy iPad Air. The Qode Ultimate Pro Case can be used as a standalone Bluetooth keyboard simply by removing the device, then folding the "hinge" flap under the keyboard. That made it quite easy to try out the keyboard with my original iPad Air.
One thing I find interesting is that if you decide you don't need to use the keyboard and you happen to have an Apple Smart Cover, you can pull the keyboard off and replace it with the Smart Cover.
I like the fact that the case can be used in either portrait or landscape orientation. I've often thought that writing in apps like Pages or Microsoft Word for iPad in portrait mode would be much more "natural looking".
The Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case is a bit heavier than other keyboard cases for the iPad Air, so if carrying a few more ounces is an issue for you, it might be a good idea to look into some of our other keyboard case reviews to find a lighter model.
The dual pairing feature is definitely a nifty idea - I found it fun to switch between iPad Air and iPhone 6 Plus with the push of the function key and one of two Bluetooth keys.
The Belkin Qode Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2 provides amazing battery life, dual device Bluetooth pairing, the ability to type in either landscape or portrait orientation, and backlit keys. It's a bit heavy, though, so those who are concerned about carrying extra ounces might want to peruse other keyboard cases before buying. Small caps lock and tab keys may also be an issue for some users.
Rating: 3 stars out of 4 stars possible
Have a nice new iPad Air 2 that you'd like to pair up with a Belkin Qode Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case? TUAW and Belkin want you to have one. Here are the rules for the giveaway:
Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
The entry must be made before December 12, 2014 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time.
You may enter only once.
One winner will be selected in a random drawing and will receive a Belkin Qode Ultimate Pro Keyboard Case valued at $149.99
A little over a year ago I did a review of the XVIDA Boomerang, an iPad stand/mount project that graduated from Kickstarter and went into full production. Now the company that spawned the Boomerang has an entire family of accessories, all of which use strong magnets to mount your iPhone, iPad or just about anything else in your life wherever you need them. Today I'm looking at three of the XVIDA accessories: the iPad Air/iPad Air 2 version of the Boomerang (US$79.99, currently on sale for $59.99), the iPhone 5/5s version of the StickyCase ($24.99), and the accessory Air Vent Mount ($19.99).
Boomerang for iPad Air/iPad Air 2
While the Boomerang kit I tested for this review was designed for the iPad Air, XVIDA now includes a small converter that makes it fully compatible with the iPad Air 2. Note that the converter is not included in our giveaway prize kit.
Like the original Boomerang, the new model is an X-shaped device that can be used to prop your iPad up at a 22°, 45° or 66° inclination. Lay that X-shape out flat and snap the two free ends around the corners of your iPad Air, and you'll notice a metal plate in the center - right over the Apple logo on the back of your device.
That metal plate attaches magnetically to the included Multi-Mount. The Multi-Mount itself can be mounted on metallic surfaces via magnetism, things like refrigerators and many whiteboards. It can also be attached to walls, glass, or ceramic with the included 3M VHB adhesive sticker. Or if you're looking for a more permanent installation, just use a screw to attach the Multi-Mount to a wall stud or furniture.
That same plate also works with the other available mounting accessories, including the Air Vent Mount, a Suction Cup Mount, a Headrest Mount, and even the iMac-like Desk Stand.
Installing the Boomerang is fast and easy. The iPad Air slides into a set of clips that is marked with a "1" sticker. To use the Boomerang with the magnetic mounts, you put the other corners of the iPad AIr into the two other clips marked "2". To use the Boomerang as a standalone stand, you pop the "2" corners out and then flip the free legs out to the pre-set angles.
Use the Boomerang with the Air Vent or Suction Cup mounts, and you have a way of using an iPad Air as a really big navigation aid. I'm not sure I'd recommend putting a full-sized iPad into the windshield area of a car, though - that's an awfully large space to block in your field of view.
The Boomerang for iPad Air/iPad Air 2 looks good, is incredibly thin, very lightweight, and installs/removes quickly. It's easily adjustable, works with a number of mounts, and has a fairly decent price point (especially when on sale). On the negative side, the Boomerang doesn't offer any protection for your iPad.
Rating: 3-1/2 stars out of 4 stars possible
StickyCase for iPhone 5/5s
The StickyCase for iPhone 5/5s ($24.99) is what brings your iPhone into the XVIDA ecosystem.
Before I go any further, please note that you can pre-order this case for the iPhone 6 for delivery next month. However, there's no word about one for the iPhone 6 Plus. That's really not an issue, since if you already have a case for your Plus, all you need to do is buy a $17.99 StickyPad for Smartphones and you're ready to rock and roll.
This case really isn't all that special in terms of looks. It's a matte black (or white) case with one very special feature - a covered metal plate in the back that serves to stick it to any of the magnetic mounts. If you have a Multi-Mount, the windshield-mounted Suction Mount for Smartphones ($19.99), or that ever-popular Air Vent mount I'll review next, you just slap the encased iPhone 5 or 5s up against the magnet and it sticks.
The StickyCase for iPhone 5/5s gets bonus points for mounting flexibility, but it's really kind of drab. If you already have a more colorful or more protective case that you've installed on your iPhone, just get one of those StickyPads and stick it to the back of the case. That way you get the best of both worlds.
Rating: 2-1/2 stars out of 4 stars possible
Air Vent Mount
I've talked about this accessory several times already. For $20, you're getting a mount that installs into an air vent in your car, has a pivoting head, and features the XVIDA magnetic mount. Take any of the cases or stands - the StickyCase, the Boomerang, or even a regular case with a StickyPad on the back - and you have a way of mounting your iPhone or iPad so that it's clearly visible from the front seat of the car (don't look at it while driving!).
The Air Vent Mount features a spring-loaded arm that goes through one of the vents and has a metal hook that grabs the back of the vent slat. On the front is a rounded piece that fits into a slot on the back of a piece that includes the mount, a lockable ball joint, and a few stabilizer arms. It's quite easy to install and feels sturdy.
Of course, when you want to use either a StickyCase or a Boomerang with it, you just take their built-in metal plate and bring it near the mag mount, and magnetism takes care of the rest.
The Air Vent Mount holds even a full-sized iPad Air in place with very little movement, and it works really well with an iPhone.
For mounting an iOS device in your car, the Air Vent Mount is an adjustable and versatile piece of equipment. The price is right, and it feels like it will last.
Rating: 3 stars out of 4 stars possible
We at TUAW love our giveaways, which give our readers a chance to get some really great gear at no cost. Here are the rules for the giveaway: Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older. To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button. The entry must be made before November 24, 2014 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time. You may enter only once. One winner will be selected in a random drawing and will receive a kit containing a Boomerang for iPad Air, a StickyCase for iPhone 5/5s, and an Air Vent Mount, valued altogether at $124.97 Click Here for complete Official Rules.
Back in late 2013, one of our former UK bloggers (Richard Gaywood) wrote a review of an iPhone case from The Nodus Collection. At that time, the Access Case was part of a Kickstarter campaign; now the company is selling the cases through its website. Recently I received both an iPhone 6 Plus Access Case (pre-order for £49.99, price includes international shipping) and an iPad Air Access Case (£99.99, price includes international shipping) for review, so I thought it was a perfect time to take a look at these thin, light and stylish cases again. Check out the review, and then take a chance at winning one of these cases for yourself.
As Richard pointed out in his earlier review, the Access Case uses micro-suction technology to both attach the device to the case and to keep the cover closed. The material used holds onto your iPhone or iPad tightly, but releases with a sharp pull if you need to take the case off.
Both cases are made of a nicely-finished leather in either ebony (black) or chestnut (brown). The two samples we received were both chestnut and really looked good with very fine stitching around the edges. As with most folio/wallet cases of this type, the Access Case can be used as a stand to hold your device in landscape orientation, as a wallet (it has a full-length pocket for cards or bills), and of course as a protective cover for your device.
The top, bottom, and right side of the iPhone and iPad are left open, making it easy to plug the devices in for recharging. There's also the requisite opening for the iPhone camera and flash on the iPhone case, and the smaller hole for the iPad camera on that case.
The cases look great, but do they do their job? From my limited testing, the answer is an unqualified "yes". Both cases hold their respective devices in place firmly with the micro-suction material. Both protect the screen and back of the iPhone or iPad. Both work well as wallets. All in all, they do what they're supposed to do.
Removing the devices from the micro-suction material was easy, and the material is easily cleanable if it collects dust or other debris.
The Access Cases for iPad Air and iPhone 6 Plus look good, although they're rather plain. If you want a nice leather case without frills, this is probably going to make you happy. However, both cases come with a price tag that seems unreasonably high considering that there are similar micro-suction leather cases for much less that the £49.99 (US$79.35 at current exchange rates) price for the iPhone 6 Plus case or the £99.99 ($158.71) iPad Air case. A good example is the recently-reviewed Twelve South SurfacePad, which sells for $49.99 for the iPhone 6 Plus version and $79.99 for the iPad Air edition.
Rating: 3 stars out of 4 stars possible
If the price tag on the Nodus Access Cases depresses you, cheer up -- you might win one in our giveaway. Here are the rules for the giveaway: Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older. To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button. The entry must be made before November 11, 2014 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time. You may enter only once. Two winners will be selected in a random drawing. One will receive a Nodus Access Case for iPad Air valued at US$158.71, while another winner will take home a Nodus Access Case for iPhone 6 Plus valued at US$79.35. Click Here for complete Official Rules.
Until now, shooting photos with your gigantic iPad was considered taboo. Not to mention, it looks ridiculous
But now that Apple has armed its latest iPads with powerful cameras, many will begin to rely on the tablet to capture life's most memorable moments. So, how do you whip out your bulky tablet to take photos without being a jerk?
Apple's done it again
The mammoth tech company unveiled the new iPad Air 2 on Oct. 16. At just 6.1 millimeters, or 0.24 of an inch, it's the thinnest tablet yet.
Want to put that size in perspective? In Apple's demonstration, they laser-cut a pencil in half lengthways to illustrate iPad's insanely small dimensions
We decided to kick that up a notch and see just how thin the new device is when compared to everyday objects. From slices of Kraft cheese to slender magazines to Big Mac burger patties, we sized up Apple's tiny tablet
Out with the old, in with the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3.
Apple unveiled its shiny new iPads on Thursday, and for many people, that means it's time to get rid of the old models. Whether you're looking to trade in your old iPad or sell it, there are several options available to help you find the best deal for your device
With Amazon's trade-in program, you can turn your iPad into an Amazon gift card. Simply answer a few questions about your tablet, get instant quotes and ship it off for free with a pre-paid UPS shipping label Read more...
More about Iphone, Apple, Features, Ipad, and Trade Ins
I've reviewed a lot of iPad keyboard cases over the years, finding some that are amazing (the four-star rated US$169 ClamCase Pro for iPad Air, for example), and some that aren't that great. The new Logitech Type+ for iPad Air (US$99.99) is a billed as a protective case with an integrated keyboard. Surprisingly, I found the Type+ to actually be as good as the ClamCase Pro, with a few bonus features that may throw it into my top spot for iPad Air keyboard cases.
Dimensions: 10.1 x 7.2 x .71 inches (255.9 x 183.4 x 18.1 mm)
Weight: 14.29 ounces (405 grams)
Colors: black and red
The Type+ reminds me of some of Logitech's older keyboard designs, but the company has taken feedback on the earlier keyboards to heart and resolved issues that those models seemed to have.
The iPad Air is held into place by two polycarbonate clips that hold the right side of the device. It's easy to slide the iPad in and out of the case when you need to, but otherwise it is held very securely.
The Type+ is a bifold design with the device on one side and the keyboard on the other. When you open the case, the device turns on; closing the case shuts the iPad off. There is a strong magnet that holds the iPad into an upright position for typing, and the keyboard can also be folded back out of the way for comfortable non-keyboard usage.
On the outside of the case is a water-resistant material that should help the Type+ shake off the occasional spill. The Type+ comes in either basic black or a vibrant and attractive red.
The keyboard itself is very standard, with all of the keys right where you'd expect to find them on a desktop or laptop keyboard. Rather than the function keys you'd find on an Apple Wireless Keyboard, there's the now-standard set of iOS function keys. Those keys are separate from the number keys, so there's no need to push a Fn key prior to accessing one of those functions.
The keys are black, the letters white, and the combo looks good.
As I've noted in other iPad keyboard case reviews, things that I really look for are the typing feel, how well the device turns on and off by itself (if it's designed to do so), and how well the function keys do what they're supposed to do. I also try the keyboard case out on a table, on a lap, and (if it's possible) folded into a "tablet-only" mode.
The typing feel of the Type+ is incredibly good. It has a light touch, yet I found the spacing of the keys to be such that I wasn't accidentally typing characters. If your hands get tired after a lot of typing, you're going to like the fact that your fingers aren't going to have to press down extra hard to finish a keystroke.
As for turning on and off, this is about the most simple design I've seen for a keyboard. There's no on/off switch at all. When you open the Type+, the iPad turns on. Place the left side of the iPad onto the magnetic bar to put the device into a typing position, and the single LED turns green to indicate that the keyboard has power, then blue to indicate the Bluetooth connection. The keyboard quickly turns off when the iPad is moved out of the propped-up typing position.
That method of turning the Type+ on and off also keeps the iPad from turning on in transit, something I had seen with other keyboards that turned on when the case was slightly ajar.
The function keys work very well, with a fast response that's lacking on some other keyboard cases. From left to right, there's a Home button key, a "double-tap" key that brings up the list of running apps and (on iOS 8) your Favorites and Recents. Next, there's a dedicated Siri key, followed by a Spotlight key.
The next two keys let you switch virtual keyboards (i.e., regular and Emoji) and actually bring the virtual keyboard up onto the screen. I've found this useful sometimes when login screens don't want to take input from a real keyboard.
I really came to like the dedicated screenshot key, which performs the task of holding down the Home and sleep/wake buttons simultaneously. There are three keys for music or video playback (rewind, play/pause, fast forward) and then three sound keys (mute, lower volume, raise volume). Last but not least is the lock button, located right under the LED.
On a desktop or table, the Type+ holds the iPad Air screen at an angle that's perfect for typing. You can't change that angle, which is probably about the only negative with the Type+. I found that the Type+ also worked well as a "laptop", with the magnetic bar holding the iPad firmly in place as I typed. Once again, the inability to change the angle of the screen may be a downfall to some users.
When folded into the "tablet only" position, the keyboard turns itself off and holding the iPad in the case is quite comfortable. With the ClamCase Pro, I always need to remember to turn off the keyboard when using the iPad in a "tablet only" mode or my fingers end up typing nonsense...
A couple more comparisons with my current favorite keyboard, the ClamCase Pro. It weighs 19.2 ounces, while the Type+ is a light 14.3 ounces by comparison. The Type+ is slightly wider by .36 inches, which allows some keys (delete, backslash, tilde) to be slightly larger and easier to hit with your pinkies. That extra width also provides drop protection by creating a quarter-inch gap between the edge of the case and the iPad itself. While the ClamCase may be constructed of polycarbonate and aluminum, I think the design of the Type+ could provide some really good drop protection for the iPad with less weight.
A final comparison - the battery life of the Type+ is calculated as three months based on two hours of use per day. That calculates out to about 180 hours of use. The ClamCase Pro for iPad Air provides about 100 hours of use time.
With a low price tag, a solid automatic keyboard on/off mechanism, a great typing feel, good looks, and better battery life and less weight than the leading competitor, the Logitech Type+ for iPad Air moves into a tie for the top keyboard case for Apple's flagship tablet with the ClamCase Pro for iPad Air. The one negative - an inability to swivel the iPad to a variety of angles - is countered by all of the other positive aspects of this keyboard case.
Rating: 4 stars out of 4 stars possible
Are you still chasing the "paperless" dream? If you are anything like the millions of us who dream of a clear inbox with simplified capture and filing system, today is your lucky day. Today Fujitsu introduces the ScanSnap iX100, the 2nd generation of its world-renowned mobile scanning solutions.
The dream of going paperless has been sold to us neat freaks and organization nuts for decades now. The idea has always been very enticing; however, the practical execution of getting all the paper we collect throughout the day into your computer has always felt somehow daunting and incomplete. This is never more evident than a bag-dump post trade-show, business trip or networking mixer. Fujitsu and its award-winning ScanSnap line have been making strides in the paperless movement for years now and aim to slingshot that movement with the brand-new ScanSnap iX100.
Key Features of the iX100
Compact Portable Lightweight at 14.1 oz.
Battery operated via Integrated Lithium Battery
Scan Anywhere via 2 Wireless Scanning Modes
Simple Home/Office WiFi Setup with WPS configuration
Direct Connect Access mode when WiFi access not available
Fast 5.2 Seconds Per Letter Page
Scan to Mac, PC, iOS, Android or Kindle Fire
Dual Scan Mode
Automatic Image Stitching
Custom GI Processor
Upon receiving the ScanSnap iX100 I immediately tore into the box and was pleasantly surprised by the extremely compact size of the device. Measuring in at a svelte 10.74 x 1.87 x 1.42 inches and weighing just a hair over 14 ounces, this scanner is small. Construction seemed pretty sturdy and up to par with previous Fujitsu ScanSnap products. In the box was the scanner, a USB cable, Setup DVD and documentation.
Setup for Mobile Scanning
I wanted the test the "no PC needed" mode of the iX100 and decided to do a mobile only setup first. Getting the scanner to work with my iPhone and iPad were amazingly easy. Initially I installed the ScanSnap Connect Application and launched it.
To power on the iX100, the paper feed door is opened; to activate the Direct Connect mode there is a small WiFi toggle switch on the back of the scanner. Within a few seconds the scanner was ready to go and was emitting a private WiFi SSID that my iPhone and iPad were able to connect to via the standard iOS WiFi settings menu. Login information for this private WiFi network is found on the bottom of the scanner.
Returning to the ScanSnap Connect Application, I saw that the scanner was discovered, connected and ready to scan. Having recently returned from a business training trip, I had a pretty nice stack of business cards, flyers and receipts I wanted to capture. With a quick press of the scan button on the app, the scanner woke up and started to purr.
Dual Scan Mode
The Dual Scan mode of the iX100 meant I was able to feed business cards into the scanner one after another without pause and from any position on the paper feed -- even without waiting for the previous card to completely exit the flat path. The continuous document feed (CDF} saves time by allowing the user to keep feeding documents to the scanner, letting the Auto Deskew, Auto Orientation, Auto Color and Auto Paper Size Detection features do the work.
The Secret Sauce
Fujitsu's custom GI Processor is amazingly fast at intelligently making all the adjustments and corrections that have plagued scanners up until now. Gone are the days of trash and rescans and manual image manipulation after scanning a pile of documents.
The small footprint of the iX100 means it is a simplex scanner, but don't let that sway you if you're used to duplex scanners. This scanner is so fast with its continuous document feed mode that you can scan a page, flip it over, scan the second side and auto-process the documents faster than most competing duplex scanners. Another amazing feature of the iX100 is the Automatic Image Stitching. If some sales person hands you a letter sized folded brochure with an image that crosses the centerfold, simply fold the pages backwards and scan both sides -- the iX100 automatically stitches the pages back together.
The iX100 battery lasts surprisingly long when you consider the speed, power and compact footprint of the scanner. I was able to tote the scanner around in my bag for about a week on a single charge doing causal scanning of business cards and handouts at meetings (watching jaws drop on clients was secretly pleasurable). According to Fujitsu, the iX100 can continuously scan about 260 sheets on a single charge and about 140-160 per charge for normal casual operation. My favorite part about this mobile scanner is that it can be charged by a standard USB to 6micro-USB cable. No special adaptors or power supplies are needed. This is very convenient, as most users already carry such a cable in their go bags.
Back at the Desk
This superstar mobile scanner, believe it or not, is full of even more surprises once it meets the home or office WiFi network. Once back at my desk, I installed the ScanSnap Manager software on my Mac and fired off the ScanSnap Wireless Setup Tool which made setup a piece of cake via the WPS button on the scanner.
Typical of Fujitsu, the ScanSnap iX100 comes with some pretty powerful yet easy to use bundled software.
The iX100 ships with:
ScanSnap Organizer - search, view, edit, organize scans
CardMinder - captures and OCR business cards, merges duplex cards
ScanSnap Receipt - scans and extracts pertinent information off of receipts
Abby FineReader for ScanSnap - OCR package that allows direct scanning and conversion to Microsoft Office apps like Word, Excel and PowerPoint
ScanSnap Manager - Profile manager that allows one button scanning to folder(s), email, PDF, Dropbox, Evernote, Google Docs, Salesforce and more
Continuing to process the expense reports from my trip, I fed the iX100 about 15 receipts. ScanSnap Receipt quickly processed all the stubs and through some wicked voodoo plucked data off of the receipt and filled a ledger with information including Vendor, Amounts, Payment Type, Card suffix and more. Thanks to the iX100, tax season this year may be tolerable.
Scanning items directly to my favorite cloud apps was a huge time saver from the old AppleScript processing I have doing for years. Again, the iX100 GI processor made the process fast and seamless.
I found ScanSnap Organizer very powerful and easy to use; however, in the end it was not for me as my workflow is to scan directly to Evernote. In the frenzy of overzealous button pressing, I inadvertently scanned a few receipts into the organizer while testing. Just before I expunged the mistakes ready to start all over, I tried to drag and drop the mistakes from ScanSnap Organizer to ScanSnap Receipts. Amazingly this action worked -- the misfiled items were imported into the appropriate place and were auto-processed as if they had been scanned correctly.
The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100 does exactly what it says, delivering high quality scans quickly regardless of whether you are at the office or on the road. Up until now, CIS Scanners (contact image scanners) were mostly low quality, cheap scanners designed as a stopgap for road warriors wanting to capture data on the move. The iX100 seems to have ironed out all of the kinks in mobile scanning. It is light, easy to carry, fun to use and is feature packed. I can honestly say that I don't know how I managed to work thus far without an iX100.
There are a lot of ways to prop your iPad up without holding it in your hands. For example, just the other day we looked at the Ten One Design Magnus Air. Our iPad stand du jour is the Desktop Chair v2 (US$59.99), a design that was funded through Japan's Campfire crowdfunding site. It's now available for sale in the US from BiteMyApple.co, and they sent one along to TUAW for review and a giveaway.
While the Magnus Air was tiny and unobtrusive, the Desktop Chair is designed to be a gorgeous piece of furniture. It's crafted of thin wood sheets that are bonded together perpendicularly for strength with a hydraulic press, then hand-sanded to a silky finish. The Desktop Chair can sit in one of two positions, each holding your iPad in either landscape or portrait orientation. The BiteMyApple.co web store even shows the Desktop Chair being used as a vertical prop for a MacBook Pro, so there are many uses for this accessory.
I found that the Desktop Chair worked well with either a full-sized iPad or iPad mini, and it would probably make a good investment regardless of what type of tablet you may use in the future. It's rock-solid on a desk or table, surprisingly so considering that it weighs only 4.3 ounces (122 grams). Design-wise, the Desktop Chair looks like a piece of modern sculpture, which says a lot for the designers at Moku Woodware in Japan.
It may be a bit too early to start thinking about holiday gifts for friends and family, but the Desktop Chair is such a unique and beautiful iPad stand that you may want to consider it for a gift.
Organic in form and materials, the Desktop Chair v2 is a useful and attractive addition to any desktop. In a market filled with many mass-produced product that just don't work that well, the Desktop Chair brings a touch of class to iPad stands.
Rating: 4 stars out of 4 stars possible.
Our review Desktop Chair can be yours, but only if you enter our giveaway and happen to win. Here are the rules for the giveaway:
Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
The entry must be made before August 23, 2014 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time.
You may enter only once.
One winner will be selected in a random drawing and will receive a Desktop Chair valued at $59.99
Despite Steve Jobs' dislike of styluses as pointing and writing devices for smartphones and tablets, a lot of people find the pointy sticks to be a necessity for accuracy. But there are still some issues with styluses -- they're usually more expensive than they need to be, and it's hard to find one that will make everyone happy in terms of how it feels in the hand. The Felix StretchWrite bands (US$9.99 for two) adds stylus functionality to any pen or pencil, meaning you can transform your favorite writing tool into a stylus.
To get an idea of how the StretchWrite works, think of taking a big rubber band and stretching it over the point and eraser on a pencil. Now, give that rubber band a capacitive nub on one end and a hole on the other (for the pencil or pen tip), add some grippy bumps to the surface, and you have a StretchWrite. They come in packs of two -- either red and gray or pink and blue -- so you can have two styluses for about half the price of a single inexpensive stylus from other vendors.
Testing the StretchWrites, I grabbed a pile of pens and a sharpened pencil, and tried a StretchWrite on each of 'em. Cheap throwaway pen I picked up at a Macworld booth? Worked fine. A Sharpie? Worked well with the cap still on, although the "tip" end was a bit squishy. Same with a large, comfy pen that I got from a vendor. What I found is that StretchWrite works best on the really cheap stick-type pens -- think BIC pens -- and on pencils.
At $10 for two, you won't have to worry about losing one (or both) of these. You'll also have immediate access to either a pen or pencil by flipping your "stylus", which is pretty handy as well. Toss 'em into a backpack pocket along with pens and pencils, and you have the perfect spur-of-the-moment lightweight stylus.
While StretchWrite doesn't provide the same feel or accuracy as a "professional" stylus, it's perfect for students and ought to be a back-to-school necessity for iPad-toting students.
Rating: 3 stars out of 4 stars possible
When an accessory PR rep says she's going to send me an iPad Air stand, I usually expect to receive a heavy package in the mail a few days later. That's why the new Ten One Design Magnus Air (US$39.95) surprised me so much when it showed up in a small padded envelope. Ten One Design touts the Magnus Air as a low-profile designer stand, but how does something with this little weight prop up an iPad Air? Read on to find out the secret to the Magnus Air.
DImensions: Approximately 5.75" wide x 2.75" deep x 1" tall (146 x 69.85 x 35.4 mm)
Viewing angle: 22 degrees
Weight: 1.8 ounces (51 grams)
OK, the secret to the Magnus Air is magnets. Really powerful magnets. You just place the Magnus Air near the left side of the iPad Air and it sticks to it like glue. Now you can flop the iPad Air onto its side and it is held in landscape orientation at a very comfortable viewing angle.
By building those powerful magnets into the Magnus Air, sticking the stand onto an iPad Air is like gluing a leg onto it. The stand isn't going to move, and if you need something to prop up your iPad Air that adds just a hint of weight, the Magnus Air is for you. The bottom of the stand is covered with a non-slip material, so the iPad Air and stand are going to stay put on a table, too.
Ten One Design's Magnus Air is designed to do one thing -- hold an iPad Air at a comfortable viewing angle in landscape orientation -- and it does that task perfectly. The Magnus Air is minimalism at its finest, adding functionality without being ostentatious or weighting down your backpack or briefcase.
I found the stand to be extremely useful in the kitchen. The 22° angle is perfect for viewing recipes while cooking, and the non-slip base ensured that I was going to be able to tap and swipe the iPad Air without having to chase it around my countertops.
One added touch to the Magnus Air over earlier versions of the Magnus stand is that you can also easily flip your iPad Air over to have it propped up in a very comfortable typing position. This horizontal option is great for people who like to use the virtual keyboard of the iPad Air.
Any gripes about the Magnus Air? Sure, I wish it was less expensive so more people would be tempted to pick one up. You can order 'em on the Ten One Design website, and they'll be in your local Apple Store soon.
Ten One Design's Magnus Air is a handy little accessory for anyone who owns an iPad Air and would like to be able to use it hands-free. It adds a ton of functionality to your favorite tablet without weighing you down.
Rating: 4 stars out of 4 stars possible