We have come to the end of another year. I hope 2022 was a good year for everyone. One tradition I have had on this site is to post my favorite things of the year. Let’s get right to it.
Air Jordan 1 Low (Black/White/ Gray)
I absolutely love sneakers and picked up several pairs this year. Of everything I purchased, these are easily my favorites. I find that they go with almost any outfit due to the basic colorway. I think they look great and I find myself choosing these shoes all of the time when I am going out.
Bellroy Lite Sling
I picked up this bag on Black Friday at a pretty good discount. This is a perfect small sling that is extremely lightweight and is available in a very unique chalk color. I love bringing this bag with me with my iPad mini, Nintendo Switch or Analogue Pocket, sunglasses, keys, wallet, battery pack, & AirPods neatly tucked inside.
In a perfect world, this would have been on last year’s list. Despite ordering this over a year ago, I finally received it this December. This is my first Analogue product and I couldn’t be more impressed. It has tremendous build quality, can play any of my collection of Game Boy, Game Boy Color, & Game Boy Advance games out of the box, and after a few updates, supports emulation extremely well. Other than my Switch, this is my go-to handheld now.
I purchased this wallet early in the year and it has been perfect. I have always preferred thin minimal wallets and this one fits the bill quite nicely. It can hold 5 or 6 cards as well as cash, which is all that I need. I highly recommend this wallet if you are looking for a thin minimal style wallet. They are available in a variety of patterns and colors if you aren’t boring like me.
M1 iPad Pro 11″ w/ Magic Keyboard
I got an incredible deal on this iPad Pro this fall. I’m a big pawn shop guy, most of my tech is bought secondhand. I was able to get this iPad for only $300 and I got the Magic Keyboard for around $100. This iPad is absolutely my daily driver. It goes everywhere with me and it is so portable. When paired with the Magic Keyboard, it brings back memories of my beloved MacBook Air 11″ that I had years ago. Yes, I occasionally use my iMac, MacBook Pro and iPad mini, but this is the device I use 90% of the time.
The North Face Thermoball Mules
I saved the best item for last! I was in the market for some new slippers this year as I am very cold natured and my feet are always cold during the winter. I picked these slippers up and I am in love! I very much appreciate that they have backs on them so they don’t make a lot of noise when I am walking on my hardwood floors. The best part by far though is how toasty they keep my feet. I have never had any other slipper that has come close to how warm these are. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend these to anyone who doesn’t have very cold feet, as they would probably be too warm for most people. But for someone like me, they are truly perfect.
I picked up a pair of the second generation AirPods Pro recently and wanted to share my thoughts on them so far. For reference, I picked up the original AirPods Pro in December of 2019 and have used them almost every day since. Before that I used the regular AirPods daily.
So why did I upgrade from the original AirPods Pro? My originals still worked great. I love the noise cancelling, transparency mode, and how well they work when you are in the Apple ecosystem. There was really only one major reason I upgraded and that was battery life. As I mentioned in my intro, I have worn my original AirPods Pro pretty much every day since I got them and boy does the battery life on them bear this out. They are constantly needing to be recharged, both the AirPods themselves as well as the charging case that they go in. It is truly unfortunate as other than the battery life, they are perfectly functional. I wish there was a way to replace the batteries in them but as far as I know, there isn’t.
Truthfully, I have been putting up with the bad battery life for months now as I definitely didn’t want to buy another pair of the originals at full price. So I was thrilled when Apple announced the second generation model. I picked them up about a week ago and have been putting them through the paces.
So what is different about the second generation Pros? Let’s start with the case that they charge in. While it looks almost identical and has the same dimensions as the original case, it has gained quite a few new features. It now supports the Find My network and has a new speaker on the bottom to help you find them if you misplace them. While I haven’t had any trouble keeping track of my Pros, I’m sure this is a welcome addition to the millions of people who have misplaced theirs. The case also supports adding a lanyard to the side. I know many people bought cases for their original AirPod Pro just to do this so it was a smart move for Apple to build it in to the case. Also, the new case supports charging via MagSafe as well as with an Apple Watch charger, both features my originals lacked and both welcome additions.
As for the AirPods themselves, they have gained both improved transparency and improved noice cancellation modes. The transparency mode, which was already great on the originals, is outstanding now. It is so good that it is sounds like you don’t even have the AirPods in your ears anymore. It’s that good. Likewise the noice cancellation mode is also greatly improved. Apple claims up to 2x better noise cancellation which I can’t exactly prove but I did immediately notice a big difference upon trying them. Certain sounds that the original Pros did not fully block out are now fully cancelled out with the new Pros. Other than those improvements, you can now control the volume from the AirPods themselves by swiping up or down on the stems. This has worked great for me without any false positives in my testing. Lastly and most important of all to me is the improved battery life. Apple says that the second gen Pros will get up to 6 hrs. on a charge now which is an improvement of 1 hour compared to the first gen Pros. But for me with my nearly 3 years old first gen pros, I’m getting closer to double the battery life than I am used to. It is so nice not having to constantly recharge them and is by far my favorite thing about this new pair.
In conclusion, while I truly hope that Apple can figure out a way to keep older AirPods from being wasted with some kind of battery replacement program, I never really hesitated on buying a new pair. For me, my AirPods Pro are at or near the top of my most used tech items. I use them all day at work, at home when putting the kids to bed, on walks, and so many other situations. They are truly a magical device and I am very happy to have my new pair. Thanks for reading!
I was recently browsing the games tab in the iOS App Store and came across a game called Arcadia – Arcade Watch Games that piqued my interest. I had tried several Apple Watch games years ago when I first bought an Apple Watch but none of them had ever stuck with me. This game, or collection of games, had excellent reviews though. I ended up researching it a bit and decided to buy it for $1.99.
Arcadia is a collection of 21 arcade style games for the Apple Watch. I believe the games are also playable on the iPhone, iPad, & Apple TV, but they are designed to be played on the watch. Each one has clean and simple graphics & pretty intuitive controls for what they had to work with on the watch. These are the perfect style of games for the watch as well: simple, bite-sized experiences when you just need to kill a minute or two. Each game I have tried so far also has leaderboards so that you can try to beat your previous high score.
Some of the games I have tried and really liked were FastRun, an OutRun inspired arcade racer, RainBowling, CandyBall, a fun little pinball game, & Galaxy Invaders, a Galaga inspired shooter.
If you have ever had the desire to try playing games on your Apple Watch, I encourage you to give Arcadia a try. It is the best Apple Watch game that I have found so far. I have no relationship with the developer nor did I receive a code for this game. I bought it with my own money and just wanted to spread the word. If you have any Apple Watch games that you like, feel free to drop a comment below. Thanks for reading!
It’s been another year & I am back with another favorite things list. I hope everyone who reads this had a great 2021! On to the list.
686 Everywhere Pant (Slim)
On last year’s list I posted about my love for the Denali Travel Pant. I still love and wear these pants to this day. However, for my birthday this year, my wife bought me 2 pairs of the 686 Everywhere pants. While considerably more expensive than the travel pants I had worn up until this point, the Everywhere pants are a massive upgrade in every way. These are the most comfortable pants I have ever worn. I have been wearing them very regularly since getting them and even purchased a 3rd pair later in the year. I cannot recommend these pants enough.
Nike SB Zoom Blazer Low Pro GT Skate
I picked up my first pair of Blazers this year and I couldn’t be more happy with them. I have never been into the Air Force 1s or Dunks but the Blazers has always been appealing to me. I love how these look and also how they feel on foot. I have some similar shoes in the Vans Old Skools as well as the Adidas Sambas that are not close to these in comfort. Very happy with this pair of shoes.
Blundstone #585 in Rustic Brown
I purchased my first pair of boots in over 10 years this year. I picked up some Blundstones on a trip to Austin this year and have been very happy with them. These boots are tough, comfortable, and I love the way they look. I plan on having these around for the next 10 years.
Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Hip Pack
I purchased this fanny pack back in April and it has proven to be a very handy bag to take with me on the go. First off, it packs into it’s own front pocket and becomes very small, so you can easily bring it anywhere. It’s also made of a very durable ripstop material and is extremely lightweight. I hate carrying a bunch of items in my pocket when I am walking around the city and this little bag is perfect to put all of my small items in. I can carry my iPhone, wallet, keys, chapstick, sunglasses, and a spare battery pack all in this little pack. You can wear it around your waist like it’s the 80s again or, you can wear it crossbody which is what I prefer.
iPad mini 6
I have already wrote an entire post about my love for this little tablet. I still love it and use it everyday. It is extremely portable and is a pleasure to use. Long live the mini!
Nintendo Switch OLED Model
I am a huge fan of the Nintendo Switch and was very happy to upgrade to the new OLED model when it was released this fall. It is a very nice upgrade over the regular switch in several key ways. Obviously the new OLED screen is the star of the show, being both larger in size as well as much more vibrant. Throw in a massively improved kickstand, better speakers, and those sweet, sweet white Joy-Cons and you have yourself a pretty solid upgrade.
Apple Fitness +
I love Apple Fitness + but of course I would right? It seems like it was made for people just like me. I am very fitness oriented and, as a huge Apple fan, I have all of the required gear already. While not for everybody, I love that I can do classes from my iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV wherever I am and the Apple Watch integration is so, so good. I love working out outside more than anything but when the weather is not cooperating, I am pumped to open up Apple Fitness and close my rings for the day!
I purchased an iPad Pro 12.9″ (the big one) a few weeks ago and wanted to give my opinions on it now that I have had it for a while. I got the silver 128gb cellular iPad Pro. I also purchased the Smart Keyboard and the Apple Pencil (more on the accessories later). I was not sure how I was going to like it, at first it seems comically large, but after spending some time with it I absolutely love it. The Hardware – There’s no denying that the 12.9″ iPad Pro is huge. It is also pretty heavy when compared to the standard 9.7″, 1.57 pounds vs .96 pounds, but it is about as light as it can be given the size of the device. The Retina display is a joy to look at & I just love how big the display is. In fact, it has quite a bit more screen space then my laptop for the last several years, the 11″ MacBook Air. The speakers are a huge improvement over the previous iPads. There are now four speakers as opposed to two and they are on each corner of the iPad Pro. They get really loud if you crank them, so much so that I have not found the need to connect it to a bluetooth speaker. The battery life has been really good as well. I’m getting 12+ hours even when watching a ton of video. And the standby time has been great as well. I love that there is just zero battery anxiety with this device, if you have it fully charged in the morning you will not run it down in the course of a day.
The battery life on the iPad Pro is legit.
Another new hardware addition on the iPad Pro is the new smart connector on the bottom of the iPad when it is in landscape. This 3 pin connector allows it to attach to various 1st and 3rd party accessories wirelessly and with no power required from the accessory. This is a really cool new feature, one that I use nearly constantly with my Smart Keyboard.
The Smart Connector
Lastly, the A9x chip and 4gb of ram make the iPad Pro 12.9″ super fast. Everything just flies on this thing.
Test results from the Geekbench app on my iPad Pro 12.9″
Overall, I really like the hardware of the iPad Pro. However there are a few nitpicks that I have with the hardware:
Apple ships the iPad Pro with a dinky 12w charger that takes a very long time to charge the iPad. The 12.9″ iPad Pro supports fast charging via USB-C, but you have to pay about $75 for the necessary charger and cable. This is ridiculous on a device at this price point. They should ship it with the proper adaptor and cable.
The iPad Pro is really not a one handed device, unlike the mini or regular size iPad. It is pretty unwieldy in portrait orientation. If you want something to read books on or slip into your purse, this is probably not the right device for you.
The Software – The new multitasking features introduced in iOS9 for the iPad were just made for the 12.9″ iPad Pro. Multitasking truly feels at home on this big screen. It gives you almost 2 full size iPad apps side by side. Check out the multitasking view in the picture below.
Narwhal (Reddit client) on the left, Safari on the right, and a picture in picture baseball game on top.
I have found myself using the multitasking view so much more with the Pro than I did with my iPad Air 2. There are a few other new software features that the 12.9 Pro gets, namely a full size software keyboard with a number row & a two column today view. These are still the early days for the 12.9″ iPad so while I feel like things will get better on the software front, not everything is rosy right now. A few of my gripes are –
You can only have the same amount of icons on the home screen as all of the other iPads. There is so much wasted space!
Some of the apps are still not optimized for split screen (Pocket), picture in picture (YouTube), or even the new screen size 😡 (Facebook).
The multitasking app picker is just awful at trying to find the app you want. There needs to be a complete redesign as well as a search bar.
The Accessories – When Apple announced the iPad Pro, it also announced two brand new accessories that only work with the Pro – The Smart Keyboard & the Apple Pencil. I own both and would like to tell you my thoughts on each.
The smart keyboard is awesome, it has a full sized keyboard & doubles as a cover for the front of the iPad Pro.
The Smart Keyboard – Before I purchased my iPad Pro, I did a lot of research on various cases & keyboards. I narrowed my choices down to two options – the Smart Keyboard & the Logitech Create. Both keyboards have their pros & cons & both support the new smart connector on the iPad Pro. I decided on the Smart Keyboard due to it’s lighter weight, more minimal design, & the ability to pull it off as easily as a smart cover when I just want to use it as an iPad. That second part ended up not mattering much because I absolutely love the Smart Keyboard and would estimate it is connected to my iPad Pro 95% of the time that I use it. Some combination of it being a full size keyboard, it instantly responding to you pressing a key with no need to wait for a bluetooth connection, never needing to be charged, and all of the keyboard shortcuts available for the iPad in iOS 9, have just endeared me to this accessory in a way I had not imagined it would. I use it setting on a table, my desk, on my lap, as a stand for watching streaming content, etc. This is the accessory for the iPad Pro in my opinion. It also completely takes away one of my gripes with the 12.9″ Pro, namely it being a little hard to hold comfortably for extended periods. With the Smart Keyboard, my iPad simply rests on my desk or on my lap with no strain on my hands at all. Would it be better with backlit keys and a shortcut row of keys? Absolutely, and I hope that a future version does all of that but for what it is, I absolutely love it.
The Apple Pencil – Oh, the Apple pencil. It’s so beautiful and I love it so much, but I am not quite as bullish on it as I am on my Smart Keyboard. On one hand it is the best stylus I have ever used hands down. I’ve tried out a bunch of iPad styluses as well as the styluses for the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book, and the Apple Pencil is just better. It has the least amount of latency I have seen and it is a joy to use. It is really fun to use in an adult coloring book app called Pigment. It is also really cool to take handwritten notes in Notability and Apple Notes. It’s useful for editing photos as well. But the main thing it is awesome for is for artists. If you like to draw, this is the stylus for doing that with. Unfortunately, I am not even close to being an artist so using the Apple Pencil for drawing is not something I can really take advantage of. This leads to me not using it that often and for what it cost, it’s hard to justify recommending it if you are not an artist or a big handwritten notes taker. I got it solely because I was excited about trying it out and because it looks so beautiful. I am trying to figure out ways that I can use it but right now it is not used as much as my Smart Keyboard.
So those are my thoughts on the iPad Pro. I love it and use it every day. I go for days without turning on my Mac since I got it. The fact that I can have a 12.9″ Retina display with tons of storage & power, LTE connectivity, all day battery life, and the huge app selection of iOS in a device that weighs what the original iPad weighed is just mind blowing to me. At the same time, I know that the iPad Pro is not for everybody, especially the big one. It’s not a cheap device & some people are still more comfortable with a laptop or a desktop. That’s perfectly fine, use the device that is right for you but I firmly believe that the 12.9″ iPad Pro is the right device for me.
My local bank has just recently started supporting Apple Pay and I wanted to post my thoughts on it now that I have had it for a couple of weeks. It was a long time coming with me frequently checking this site here to see if my bank had added support for it.
First, let me talk about how Apple Pay works. Basically, you add either a supported credit card or in my case a bank debit card to the wallet app that is on your iPhone or Apple Watch. Once you have that loaded up you can use it at any place that accepts contactless payments.
If you see one of these logos, you should be good to go.
If you are using your iPhone you simply hold it near the credit card machine and it will prompt you to hold your finger on the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on your iPhone and it will let you know that it went through. If you are using your Apple Watch you simply double press the contacts button on the side and hold your watch near the contactless sensor. The Apple Watch will give you a tap on the wrist as well as give you a little chime that it went through. That’s it. I just works and I must say it is delightful!
Next I want to talk about how I’ve been using Apple Pay. I have used it multiple times with both my iPhone as well as my Apple Watch & I gotta say, while it is cool paying for stuff with my iPhone it brings a real dumb grin to my face to pay with my Apple Watch. I cannot imagine it ever getting old either. It almost always delights the salesperson when they see what you have done. There is something so futuristic about it. So far I have bought several meals, a soda from a Coke machine at an outlet mall, as well as a toy “figurine” from Toys R Us with my watch. I absolutely love it!
Lastly I want to talk about what the future holds for Apple Pay. Obviously, more and more banks will be adding support for it. They all love it because your information is stored in a secure chip on the iPhone itself and it uses one time verification codes with the merchant so it is much more secure than swiping your debit card in a machine or handing your card to someone. But the thing I’m most looking forward to is more retailers supporting it. The dream would be to be able to use Apple Pay exclusively and no longer have to carry a bunch of cards with you. We’re not there yet. I am anxiously waiting for Target as well as my local grocery store to add support for it. For now, I’m happy to use it wherever it is accepted.
As many of you know I got an iPhone 6 Plus about a month and a half ago. I have used it as my only phone every day since and think that I have had enough time with it to do a full review. The model I got is the AT&T 64gb Silver version. Let’s get right to it.
The iPhone 6 Plus (as well as the 6) are quite a bit different design wise than the previous 2 models of iPhone. While the iPhone 4, 4S, 5, & 5S all had flat edges and a chamfered cut, the iPhone 6 & 6 Plus have curved edges with an all aluminum back. It’s quite a different feel in the hand and has it’s plusses and minuses in my opinion. While it feels better in the hand to me and is very pleasing when swiping from the edge of the screen to the sides it is quite a bit more slippery in the hand than the older models. Also, while I still think it is a beautiful phone, it just doesn’t have that classic Leica look of the iPhone 4 & 5. To me, those phones just felt and looked so solid. This is all just a matter of taste of course but I would have loved to have seen a bigger iPhone done in the style of the iPhone 5S.
The iPhone 6 Plus is really thin. At just 7.1 mm thin it is the second thinnest iPhone ever. Only the iPhone 6 at 6.9mm is thinner. So while it is a lot bigger phone than any of my previous phones, it is by far the thinnest phone I have had. I really appreciate the thinness & at just 6.1 ounces it is really light for it’s size as well.
Another change that the 6 & 6 Plus have is the sleep/wake button has moved from the top of the phone to the right side. This is necessary due to the larger size of the phone which would make reaching the top of the phone much more difficult compared to the previous models. The volume buttons and mute toggle switch all feel fine to me.
The screen on the iPhone 6 Plus is a 5.5″ 1080p display (1920 x 1080) which is good for 401 ppi. I have no complaints about this screen at all. It has excellent color reproduction, great contrast, gets plenty bright enough, and is a great size in my opinion. It is quite a change going from the 4″ display of the iPhone 5S to this. You can see so much more information on this screen than you could on previous iPhones and it is just a pleasure to read on. I’ve found that I am much more likely to read on my phone now than I did in the past. It has definitely cut into the time I previously would have used my iPad mini.
The iPhone 6 & 6 Plus have a new “reachability” mode which you access by tapping the home button twice. Doing this brings the top half of the screen down to the bottom half so that you can reach the icons at the top while using the phone one handed. While this is a cool trick I don’t really find myself using it much at all. Instead I have just started holding my phone higher up than I used to and I can pretty much reach everywhere without doing this. If you have small hands, this would probably be more useful. Here’s a gif of how it works:
A few nitpicks about the design: One, the antenna lines on the back are kind of ugly. I appreciate the effort to go all aluminum on the back but to me, the glass on the top and bottom of the previous iPhone models looked better. Two, the back camera on both the 6 and 6 Plus sticks out just a little from the casing, causing the phone to wobble slightly if laid on a flat surface. I know most people (myself included) will use a case which will negate this but it still kind of sucks if you are one that likes to go without a case.
All that being said I do really love the design of the 6 Plus. It took a couple of weeks to get used to the size coming from an iPhone 5S but I have fully adjusted and have no desire to go back. I have picked up my wife’s iPhone 5 several times since getting the 6 Plus and I cannot get over how small it now feels to me. I know all of the Android fans are like “We’ve had giant phones for years” but it’s nice to have the bigger size in the iPhone. Better late than never in my opinion.
If there’s one thing about iPhones most people can agree on, it’s that the cameras they use are excellent. While both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are still sporting 8 megapixel cameras, I believe that they are the best smartphone cameras yet. I can’t go into near the detail that these guys go into but I can tell you that for everyday shooting the camera on the iPhone 6 Plus is great. It has incredibly fast autofocus and the built in optical image stabilization helps a lot in low light situations as well as when shooting video.
I still wouldn’t use it for taking vacation pictures or for something like my child growing up if I had one, that’s what my Sony NEX 6 is for, but for everyday photo taking for Facebook & Instagram it is more than sufficient.
It also takes some really nice panoramas, up to 43 megapixels. Here is one I shot downtown the other day:
As far as video is concerned it seems to do a really good job. I have had a lot of fun playing with the new 240fps Slo-Mo mode. There is an excellent video of some skateboarders shot with this feature that I will put below. This was shot handheld with an unsteady hand and it still came out really smooth.
The 6 Plus comes with a 1.4 GHz 64 bit A8 processor. Performance on the 6 Plus is very good. I haven’t noticed any slowdown when using it. If I could change one thing it would be for Apple to give us 2gb of ram as opposed to the 1gb it has. This would seriously cut down on your safari tabs and apps in the background having to reload so often. Apple did give the new iPad Air 2gb of ram so I am hopeful that future iPhone models will as well. I have attached a screenshot of my Geekbench score below:
This right here is probably the strongest part of the iPhone 6 Plus to me. This phone is an absolute beast in regards to battery life. I cannot kill it in a single day no matter how hard I try.
On weekends when I’m not using it much I can easily go 2 days without a charge. A normal work day of me getting up at 7:00 AM, using it hard throughout the day and night and plugging in in around 10:30 or 11:00 PM will have it at 40-50%. My iPhone 5S could barely make it through a work day at all. I would normally charge it in the afternoon so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it dying that night.
I cannot stress how nice it is to not have to worry about the battery on my phone at all anymore. It’s one less thing for me to worry about everyday and that’s a very good thing.
After a month and a half, Touch ID is still working great for me. Touch ID is so convenient and it would be very hard to go back to a phone that doesn’t have it. I wish I had it on my iPad and my MacBook. It just works.
I unfortunately have not had the chance to try out Apple Pay yet as my bank still doesn’t support it. I have emailed their support and they have responded saying they will probably be offering it sometime this year. If they do, I will be sure to come back and update this section with my thoughts on how well it works. Reports of people who have used it have been generally positive. This video does a decent job of showing how it works:
I have bought a couple of cases for my new iPhone. As much as I would like to go without a case the phone is just too slippery for me to trust it. I am very careful with my phone though so I wanted something very minimal. I ended up buying the official Apple leather case a well as the Griffin Reveal. Both cases are very thin while providing much improved grip as well as negating the back camera bulge. The Apple case specifically gives the phone a really solid grip. The Griffin case has decent grip with the rubber bumper on the sides while having a clear back so you can still see the design of the phone. I really love both cases and switch between them constantly.
So there you have it. Is the iPhone 6 Plus a good phone? Absolutely! Is it the right phone for everyone? Absolutely not! For some it will be just too big. Luckily Apple makes the iPhone 6 as well. But if you have been waiting for a big phone that runs iOS I would wholeheartedly recommend the iPhone 6 Plus. I am very satisfied with it and can’t imagine going back. Thanks for reading.
I love reading and watching tech reviews (big surprise). I have read and watched probably over 100 reviews of the iPhone 6 Plus. My absolute favorite one is by my absolute favorite youtuber MKBHD. Do yourself a favor and check out his video review if you are interested in this phone.
I got an iPhone 6 Plus over the weekend and wanted to give my first impressions of it. I got the AT&T silver 64gb model. I will hopefully have a more in-depth review after I have had it for a month or two.
The iPhone 6 Plus is really big, especially coming from the 4″ iPhone 5S. It is fairly hard to use one-handed even though I have fairly large hands. That kinda bums me out but I love how much easier it is to type on it and the screen is just gorgeous. For me the positives of it being big outweigh the negatives but this is definitely not a phone for everyone.
The battery life is really great. I used it heavily today at work. I listened to several podcasts, made a ton of phone calls, browsed the internet during lunch, & used bluetooth all day. It hasn’t been charged at all since 7:00 am. It is now 9:00pm and it is at 38% battery. This is much better than my 5S which struggled to get through a full day of even light use without needing to be recharged.
The built in speaker is really loud. Yes, it’s still on the bottom of the phone and yes it is still mono but it is much better than the speaker on the 5S. I still want something like HTC BoomSound on the iPhone though!
I thought I would have a hard time adjusting to the sleep/wake button being on the right side instead of on the top but I haven’t at all. It really does make more sense for it to be there than to have to reach all the way to the top.
Touch ID seems to be even better. It was already working extremely well on my 5S but it has been perfect with the 6 Plus even right after washing my hands, which is when it usually fails for me. I don’t know if there is actually a better Touch ID sensor in this phone or if it is just because I had to retrain my fingerprints but it has been a pleasant surprise.
The apps that I have that are not optimized for the new screen size do look pretty janky. Hopefully they will get updated soon.
Overall I really like the iPhone 6 Plus. It is definitely different but I really think I made the right choice for me. I highly suggest that you spend some time with one in the store before buying though. The iPhone 6 may be the better choice for you.
Things I haven’t got to try yet and hope to soon are how much better are the new cameras, the new 240fps slo-mo video, how well the M8 processor tracks stairs climbed, & lastly, Apple Pay. Sadly my local bank doesn’t support it yet so I will just have to dream of what it would be like to pay for McDonalds with my phone.
I bought a Wifi only 32gb iPad Air a couple of months ago and would like to share my impressions on it. For the last year I have been using a Verizon 16GB iPad mini which I loved for many reasons and hated for a few. Before that I had a Wifi only 32GB 3rd generation iPad. So what made me go back to the big iPad? The number one reason I upgraded was that I needed more space. 16GB just doesn’t cut it for me anymore on an iPad. I am fine with a 16GB iPhone but with the amount of magazines, comics, & blueprints (work related) that I have on my iPad, I need at least 32GB. I found myself constantly having to manage the storage on my mini. I also recently got tethering enabled on my iPhone so having a cellular iPad was no longer necessary. If I need data on the go I can easily get it from my phone now. Another reason why I upgraded is that I read a lot on my iPad and the non-retina screen on the iPad mini was really starting to bother me, especially for comics and blueprints. All that being said why not just upgrade to the new iPad mini with Retina display? It was a very tough decision to be honest. The iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retina display are both incredibly good tablets. They both have the same A7 processor, cameras, retina display, battery life, etc. They have never been more similar. It really comes down to just two things.
Screen Size – The iPad Air has a 9.7″ display where the iPad mini has a 7.9″ display.
Price – The iPad Air being $100 more than the comparable iPad mini.
There were advantages to both iPads for me and I will list them below.
The iPad Air is incredibly thin and light with an all new design. It weighs just 1 pound. It is unbelievable how much lighter it is compared to previous full-sized iPads.
The 9.7″ Retina display on the iPad Air is ideal for comics and magazines of which I consume a lot of.
The larger iPads are much better for typing in my experience. The iPad mini is just not very comfortable to type on for long periods of time.
The iPad Air’s battery seems to last much longer in standby than my iPad mini did.
The iPad mini is extremely portable. For example, when I had my mini, I would take it to a lot more places as it would fit in my back pocket where now that I have the Air I end up just using my iPhone more.
The iPad mini is much better for one handed use. While the iPad Air has lost a significant amount of weight, it is still a two-handed device.
The iPad mini is $100 cheaper than the iPad Air. You can basically get twice the storage for the same price by going with the mini.
Lastly, I want to talk about accessories. I picked up a blue smart cover for my iPad Air. I like it quite a bit better than the same smart cover that I had on my iPad mini. It doesn’t collapse near as easily. I also picked up a Belkin Shield back cover. I like it fine though it is a tad loose. That is all I have bought for my new iPad but I have been using my Cocoon Gramercy bag with it that I loved using so much with my 3rd Gen iPad. It is still the best bag for an iPad, a few accessories and a phone in my opinion. When it is not in the Cocoon, it is in my bigger but still small bag, the Tom Bihn Ristretto 11″ which I really need to write a blog post on.
In conclusion I am very happy with my iPad Air. I am enjoying the large retina screen, the reduced weight, & the bigger storage capacity very much. I would hesitate to recommend it completely to everyone else though. If you are looking to buy a new iPad consider both the Air and the mini and buy the one that best fits how you would like to use it.
I just wanted to share a little story on one of the many reasons why I love Apple. I recently purchased a 2013 11″ MacBook Air which I absolutely love. It is the perfect laptop for me. It has great battery life, is very light, and is very fast. I did have one small problem though. When my MacBook Air was on a flat surface it was just a little bit wobbly. I mean just a tiny bit, truly a first world problem. I figured I would put up with it until I was able to take it to an Apple store to get it looked at. I unfortunately don’t have an Apple store in the town I live in. A while back I tagged along with my wife to a photography convention in Dallas, TX and I set up an appointment at the Apple store in Fort Worth, TX. I wasn’t sure if they could do anything about it but I figured it was worth a shot. When I got there and was called to the Genius Bar the guy asked me what the problem was and took my MacBook to the back to take a look at it. A few minutes later, he returned to the Genius Bar with the store manager. The store manager politely introduced himself and said that It was indeed wobbly and that they were just going to give me a new MacBook. There was no paperwork to be done, no “we need to send it off for repairs”, no questions asked, just yeah we will replace it for you free of charge. They did not need my old MacBook’s box, charger, or anything. This is really no different than any of my previous experiences with Apple’s customer service. They have always went above and beyond what was required of them. They truly are the gold standard of customer service. This kind of care for their customers is just one of the many reasons why I love Apple and will be a lifelong customer of theirs.