Consensus: Apple’s AirTag Is A Hit

Do you keep losing your wallet and wish you could track it with your iPhone? Do you work on a film set, where you have to bring a laptop you are afraid of being stolen? Do you want to track your dog? (Oh, wait, Apple doesn’t want you to do that.)

Apple’s long-awaited AirTag appears to be hitting all the right notes by being relatively inexpensive and helping people save money and curb the frustration of losing something. You can buy a single AirTag for $29 or a pack of four for $99. CNN says the price is worth it.

“Overall, the tags’ integration within Apple’s Find My network delivers a wide coverage map, and their location accuracy is impressive. Combined with turn-by-turn directions to lost items, this makes them highly valuable for Apple users who misplace their belongings.”

The article adds that one should invest in an accessory or two since you can’t attach the AirTag to any item (or pet) out of the box. Macworld says the AirTag is a classic Apple product.

“The AirTag is an excellent entry to the Bluetooth tracker market, with simple set-up, easy tracking, and good privacy—but it could be even better,” says author Michael Simon, who adds that it is also slightly flawed since you can’t track it with the Apple Watch and it doesn’t include something to hold the tag.

As CNET explains, the AirTag can be tracked through Apple’s Find My network.

Click to play in YouTube.

As expected, there have been some privacy concerns with the new AirTag. As the Washington Post explains, Apple can find your device with accuracy that’s “frightening.” If someone wants to stalk you, all they have to do is slip an AirTag into your bag. It’s true that Apple has implemented what it calls “unwanted tracking” to warn potential victims with audible alarms and messages regarding suspicious AirTags popping up on iPhones. However, many say that this isn’t a complete privacy solution.

The AirTag doesn't come with a key chain.

Just as this article was about to be published, Apple announced they are refining privacy improvements. According to 9to5Mac, the firmware update will have the AirTag now play a sound after it has been separated from its owner at a random time within an interval of 8 and 24 hours. This is different from the three days it took for the AirTag to play a sound prior to the upgrade.

Apple also announced that an Android app will be coming sometime this year. Android users can currently use the AirTag with a separate page popping up with location information. It sounds like no matter what phone you use, the AirTag will prove to be a very capable device.

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IPad Pro 2021 (12.9-Inch) Is A Frustrating Masterpiece

I’ve been working with the new 12.9-inch version of the iPad Pro for the past two days with the Logitech Combo Touch keyboard. I’ve experienced so much frustration because I really considered selling my 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro and replacing it with this new iPad. But I don’t think I could. Unfortunately, I don’t think anybody could.

First, let’s talk about the good things: The new 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the best tablet I’ve ever used. I thought using a 12.9-inch tablet would be uncomfortable, but it’s not. It’s certainly heavier than the 11-inch version but not enough to make it unportable. Oh, and that screen: It’s almost as vivid and full of contrast as Samsung’s OLED devices as well as Apple’s OLED iPhones.

There have been reports of “blooming,” which occurs when light leaks around high contrast areas. This especially happens when reading white text on a black screen. I can confirm that this blooming does exist, but I only notice it in very rare situations. I noticed it when I was in a completely dark hotel room late at night as well as when I was in my car at 9 p.m. In other words, it’s not a big deal. And the screen isn’t defective since this type of blooming is pretty normal for a Mini-LED screen.

The iPad Pro 12.9 *looks* like the perfect laptop replacement.

Then, there’s the four-speaker audio that sounds lively and crisp. It was already good enough on the 11-inch version, but the 12.9-inch version brings audio quality to a new level. Listening to dance music on Spotify fills a small room with stereo sound and thumping bass. The only problem is that the audio gets somewhat distorted when volume is turned all the way up.

The iPad Pro 12.9 looks especially classy when you attach the Logitech Combo keyboard. Then, poof…your iPad is now a laptop. The Logitech keyboard makes it feel like your using Apple’s version of the Surface Pro. However, the hardware is superior to any Surface Pro in existence. Unfortunately, as much as you try and get around things, the software just isn’t up to par.

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro looks beautiful but causes some frustration.

I tried for three days to use my iPad Pro as my only device, and my excitement for the device turned into frustration. I’m glad that Adobe has released software titles such as Photoshop and Illustrator for the iPad, but they are subpar when compared to desktop versions. Even Microsoft Office on the iPad feels less than complete. Perhaps iPadOS 15 will change things, but the larger iPad still feels like a tablet — and that’s not always a bad thing.

Using the iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil while it sits on my lap is really enjoyable. Surfing the web with the smooth 120Hz screen is even more enjoyable. Then, there are the multimedia capabilities: You’ll like watching a video with the tablet close to your face as much as watching a television with a large screen. And despite being 1.5 pounds, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro really doesn’t feel that heavy.

In the end, however, I think I am going to eventually purchase the 11-inch version. Let’s face it — the 12.9′s screen isn’t that much better in most situations. And the more rectangular aspect ratio minimizes the black bar space, even if the blacks are a little gray. The 11-inch still has the same processor inside and the same great camera on the outside. In the end, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is a powerful workhorse that can’t be fully utilized by iOS software — at least for now.

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The New iPad Pro 11 Is A Better Deal Than The iPad Pro 12.9

iPad Pro 11 (2021)

I received the new iPad Pro 11 to review, and I was a little upset. I was so much looking forward to reviewing the new 12.9-inch version with the Mini-LED screen. After all, I’ve been reading how it’s the best screen that has ever appeared on a tablet. And that’s not a lie.

I headed over to the Apple Store to take a look at the new 12.9-inch iPad, and I saw with my own eyes how crisp a Mini-LED screen actually is. It was especially contrasty when looking at HDR photos and videos. I then took the screen on the 11-inch iPad for a ride since it was displayed right next to it. I realized the Mini LED screen looked better — but not that much better.

The iPad Pro 12.9 (2021)

There are people who normally get the 11-inch iPad Pro who are spending $300 more for the new 12.9-inch Pro just because of the screen. Never mind that it is not nearly as easy to carry around. Never mind that it has more of a square aspect ratio that puts larger black bars on top and below of video content. There’s also the fact that one is paying $1,099 for a tablet that has the power of a high-end laptop but can’t be used like one due to the limitations of iPadOS.

It’s like driving a new Mercedes on the 101 Freeway in Los Angeles at 9 a.m. Who cares if you have a beautiful car when you can’t go anywhere! The 11-inch Pro may also be frustrating with the same  iPadOS limitations, but at least you’re not paying the same price you would for a MacBook Pro. Of course, the price rises once you add accessories.

The 2021 11-inch Pro doesn’t look much different than last year’s model, but you’ll notice the difference once you use apps such as Adobe Photoshop, which now renders changes to photos almost instantly. If you transfer 3GB worth of files from your MacBook Pro, you’ll be shocked how fast your files transfer — it only takes seconds!

The iPad Pro 11 is excellent for taking and viewing pictures.

The rear cameras take excellent pictures with 12MP (wide) and 10MP (ultra-wide) lenses. They aren’t as good as pictures taken with the new iPhone 12 Pro, but you won’t notice the difference in most situations. The front camera takes decent pictures as well, though it shows reflections more. The 4K video clips taken with the iPad Pro look fantastic. It would be even better if Apple brought Final Cut to the Pro, which has the capabilities to instantly render videos.

Then, there’s the battery life. One test with constant streaming from Netflix (with brightness set at 50 percent) showed 10 hours, which is great for a device this thin and powerful. Speaking of Netflix, the 11-inch iPad Pro displays colors really well, and the contrast ratio is excellent. Yes, the 12.9 inch Pro has an even better contrast ratio, but you need to play HDR content to fully utilize it.

Perhaps I’m jealous that I didn’t get the 12.9-inch Pro to review. However, I am very satisfied with the 11-inch tablet, and most consumers will be as well.

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Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 Doesn’t Impress

Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360

The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 laptop was announced with a lot of fanfare a few weeks back, and a lot or the excitement was for the 15-inch version. A thin laptop with a Super AMOLED screen and an Intel Core i7 processor sounds like a dream to laptop enthusiasts and looks really good on paper. Then, when you see it in person, reality strikes.

1080p Screen

10 years ago, a 1080p screen on a laptop was considered high-end. In 2021, it’s out-0f-date — especially on a 15-inch laptop. No matter how vibrant the screen is, the fonts look chopped, and it’s difficult to see details on high resolution photos.

It’s obvious Samsung did this to save battery life (and most reports have the battery life lasting 10-11 hours), but I think it’s too much of a sacrifice. While 4K on a laptop is certainly overkill, a 2K 15-inch laptop screen would have been ideal.

16:9 Aspect Ratio

It’s a surprise to see that a company like Samsung doesn’t realize that 16:9 screens are outdated. They may be perfect for watching movies, but the screen is too wide for most other tasks. It’s especially surprising Samsung wants you to use the 360 Pro as a tablet, which feels awkward.

Companies such as HP and Dell have heard from consumers and offer less rectangular screens for their latest devices. For example, HP’s 13.5-inch Spectre x360 now has a 3:2 aspect ratio, while Dell’s latest XPS 13 shifts to a 16:10 ratio. You can still watch movies on these devices, although there will be small black bars above and below the screen. Most people are okay with the compromise.

The Galaxy Book Pro 360 is incredibly thin, but the quality of the keyboard is compromised.


Samsung had to make some sacrifices in making such an impressively thin laptop that’s almost as think as their smartphones. Unfortunately, that means the keys have less travel than normal. While it feels better than Apple’s failed Butterfly keyboard, it still feels compromised.


Samsung is known for putting excellent speaker technology in their smartphones and tablets, but they somehow skipped their new laptop. The stereo separation may be good, but the sound is just too tinny. If you get this laptop, you will definitely want to pair it with a Bluetooth speaker.


The Galaxy Book Pro begs to be used as a tablet. The main obstacle is Windows 10, an operating system that has become more tablet-friendly but still aimed primarily for desktop use. The inking is as good as it gets for a Windows 10 device, but the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ and the iPad Pro offer a much better tablet experience.


The Galaxy Book Pro 360 was Samsung’s chance to make a dent in the PC market. Instead, it barely makes a scratch. Perhaps the next generation of Samsung’s new laptop/tablet hybrid will be better.

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The Galaxy Tab S7+ May Be A Better Deal Than The New 12.9-Inch iPad Pro

The Galaxy Tab S7+ has an incredibly crisp screen.

There is a lot of hype for the new 12.9 inch iPad Pro, especially because it has a Mini-LED screen. Tech Radar explains this rather new screen technology.

“As the name suggests, Mini LED shrinks the LED modules that provide backlighting to LCD screens. LCD pixels can’t illuminate themselves – like OLED can – so they need a light-source behind them to shine through, creating the necessary brightness and color. Because of this extra layer of backlighting, too, the pixels in an LCD display can never be turned all the way off.”

The article summarizes Mini-LED as, basically, a more efficient way of backlighting an LCD screen. The improved contrast and brightness makes it comparable to OLED screens, but they are not as expensive to produce. Still, they are new and it’s the reason the iPad Pro 12.9 will go up in price this year.

There is much hype for the new iPad Pro series, especially the 12.9-inch version.

The cheapest 12.9-inch iPad Pro you can buy is the 128GB Wi-Fi version, which costs $1099. This may be a deal for those who want a tablet that can match the power of a laptop. (It includes the amazing new M1 chip Apple includes with their latest laptops.) However, the iPadOS software still doesn’t quite match the power of Apple’s desktop software, macOS.

By the time you add in the keyboard and Apple Pencil, you will be close to $1500, a price way too high for those who just want to use their tablet primarily as a media consumption device. There is another tablet that is slightly smaller (12.4-inches), has a Super AMOLED screen, and includes a stylus. It does almost everything the iPad Pro can do, and you can get it for $800 in some places.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab S7+ is still the consumption tablet to beat.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is perfect in almost every way. Unfortunately, it runs Android, which still hasn’t provided many robust tablet apps. For example, there is only a watered-down version of Photoshop. And good luck finding powerful video editing apps. Then again, that’s what makes this tablet perfect for those who would use their laptop for heavy photo and video editing in the first place.

If you want to take notes, the included S Pen is excellent. If you want to surf the Internet, the screen has a 120Hz refresh rate for scrolling. And the battery life is fine for a tablet of this caliber (almost 8 hours of back-to-back streaming Netflix with brightness set at 50 percent). If you use the AirPods Pro or AirPods Pro Max, switching between your iOS and Android tablet is very easy.

I’m sure the reviews for the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be stellar. Many will say that Apple has re-invented the tablet. However, most people will find that the device is overkill and overpriced. The Galaxy Tab S7+ is still the consumption tablet to beat, and it costs much less.


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Bowers & Wilkins New PI7 Wireless Earbuds Offer A Groundbreaking Feature

The Bowers & Wilkins PI7 wireless earbuds cost $400.

Bowers & Wilkins have always been late to the game when it comes to audio products, but what they bring to the game is always good. This is especially true when it comes to their wireless earphones. It looks like they have transferred some of that magic to the new PI7 wireless earbuds. One catch: They cost $400.

Still, the reviews are quite good.

“Sonically, Bowers & Wilkins’ PI7 earphones get just about everything right out of the box, though for the price we’d like to see adjustable EQ,” says Tim Gideon of PC World, adding that the $400 price tag is more tolerable since the buds offer excellent sound, high-quality noise cancellation, and a useful analog-to-Bluetooth cable.

That cable, by the way, connects from any 3.5mm audio source to the charger, which streams the audio to the earbuds. This is useful for products that don’t have Bluetooth streaming capabilities, such as airplane entertainment systems, the Nintendo Switch, some television sets, etc. It’s shocking that this has never been offered before. It’s not just a gimmick.

CNET has also given the PI7 earbuds a thumbs up. They praise the design, stellar sound quality, the transceiver capabilities, and the fact they support several different audio codecs. As with other reviews, the $400 price tag is controversial.

T3 enthusiastically gives the PI7 five stars.

“Despite being so much more expensive than even the best true wireless earbuds, these not only justify their price, they feel like a damn good deal,” claims writer Matthew Bolton, who adds that the size of the earbuds may be too big for some people’s ears.

There have been some complaints about the size of the PI7s.

For those who don’t want to pay $400 for the PI7 buds, Bowers & Wilkins have also released the $250 PI5 earbuds. However, these have less drivers than their big brother’s, and there is no special input on the case for audio transmission  They also only have two microphones on each side for noise-cancelling.

It’s very hard to find the new Bowers & Wilkins wireless earbuds in stores, but that should hopefully change soon. For now, you can purchase them at the Bowers & Wilkins website and have them delivered within three business days. Your wallet will take a hit, but you’ll have what are perhaps the best wireless earbuds on the market at your finger and ear tips.

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Sonos Roam Is Better With A Stereo Pair

The Roam is now available but hard to find.

I’ve finally been able to test out the new Sonos Roam portable Wi-Fi/Bluetooth speaker, and I have to admit to not being really excited at first. Perhaps my expectations after using the Sonos Move this summer were way too high.

Just like the Move, the Roam is portable. However, the Roam weighs less than a pound — approximately one-sixth of the Move’s weight. It stands at 6.61 inches tall and supports AirPlay 2, Alexa, and Google Assistant. It connects through Wi-Fi, which provides better sound, or Bluetooth. Unfortunately, you can’t do a stereo pair with the latter connection.

Connecting with the Sonos app was pretty simple, but I initially had trouble doing a stereo pair with both speakers when using my iPhone’s hotspot connection. After I got it to work once, it has been rather easy to work on a continuous basis. Once again, I’m mentioning a stereo pair since it’s absolutely essential to really appreciate Sonos’s new product.

On its own, the Roam offers distinguished mono sound with bass that’s impressive for the size of the speaker but not great overall. The sound is very clear though, and one could easily tell it’s a Sonos product with their eyes closed. However, you’ll constantly  be wanting more.

Then, when you pair it with another Roam, you’ll realize why these speakers were meant to be used in a pair. You’ll be spending a total of $340 before taxes. This is cheaper than buying one mono Sonos Move for $399. I think it’s a better buy.

The Sonos Roam comes in a very small box.

Played together, the speakers offer strong bass (but not overbearing) with crystal clear highs. And the stereo separation is very good, even when the speakers are close together. You have to listen to a song like Animals by Martin Garrix to appreciate what the speakers can do when paired together. The speakers are especially good for playing ambient electronic music.

No matter what kind of music you play, you’ll want to have a charger nearby. In my one test, both speakers lasted about 10 hours, which is right in line with the initial claim by Sonos in their advertisements. That’s not a lot. It’s true that the speakers are small, but I expected more juice. It’s really more of an annoyance than a deal killer.

If you are invested in the Sonos ecosystem, buying a the Roam is a no-brainer. It connects easily with other speakers, and the sound is good for a very small room. But if you want a full audiophile experience, you need to buy two Roams. Your wallet may become depressed, but your ears will be thankful.

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Nostalgic Case For iPhone Is Fun With Some Limits

Nostalgic Case for iPhone 12 Series

Did you grow up in the 1980s? Are you a classic gamer? Do you have an iPhone 12, 12 Pro, or even a 12 Pro Max?  If so,  you may want to take a look at the Nostalgic Case, which looks like a Game Boy that (mostly) protects your iPhone.

The version I have makes the iPhone 12 Pro a little bit heavier than your average case, but it provides endless entertainment when I need to make time go by. Yes, the 2-inch LCD screen is low quality, and the case is made of cheap plastic. But for $25, you will likely think you’ve got your money’s worth.

The controls work, well, like they did on the Game Boy. But maybe that’s the point. They definitely work. However, the fact that the red A button is the main jump button may make some people question what the engineers of this device were thinking.

There are 40 classic games included with this package, and these aren’t the actual arcade versions; they’re the NES versions that are close enough. There’s Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong (without the Pie Factory level), Tetris, Galaga, Arkanoid, Ice Climber, Pac Man, 1942, Star Force, and a lot more.

The Nostalgia Case offers 40 different games.

The battery allows for two-and-a-half hours of continuous use on a full charge, but it’s easy to mistakenly hit the Power button while putting the iPhone in your pocket, on your car’s dashboard, etc. Unfortunately, it charges with a micro USB cord, which is completely outdated in 2021. Luckily, you get a cord in the package (but don’t expect a plug).

There is also a speaker that sounds pretty bad. However, the sound of these games is also crummy, so the quality of the speaker really doesn’t matter that much. There is an option to turn the sound off, and that might be the best for you or others around.

Super Mario Bros. works well on the Nostalgia Case.

All in all, the Nostalgic Case works, but it isn’t much more than a novelty item. However it’s a good novelty. Those expecting to turn their iPhones into a completely capable NES gaming device might be a little disappointed.

You should definitely get a Nintendo Switch Lite if you really want a handheld that can be instantly stowed away in your coat pocket. However, those who are iPhone fanatics will find that the Nostalgic case makes an already exciting smartphone even more useful.

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Microsoft Introduces The Surface Laptop 4

The Surface Laptop 4 is now available.

The Surface Laptop has been a favorite of critics since Microsoft first introduced the product in 2017. The one thing people have been complaining about, besides the lower-than-average resolution screen, is the battery life.

However, it appears that Microsoft has fixed the issue with their updated Surface Laptop 4 notebooks on both the 13-inch and 15-inch versions. For one thing, they both offer AMD processor variants. Although some consider the AMD chip somewhat outdated, it does offer a lot of battery life when compared to an Intel chip.

It appears that average battery life on the AMD versions easily outdoes the batter life on the Intel MacBook Pros (people have been reporting 11 hours on the 15-inch version and almost 13 on the 13-inch laptop.

The 15-inch unit, in particular, has received great reviews. Laptop Mag has given it four stars.

“Microsoft’s 15-inch Surface Laptop 4 with AMD is among the best laptops you can buy, bringing the performance and battery life missing from the previous model.”

Reviewer Phillip Tracy adds that the only downsides to the Laptop 4 are the fact that it only contains one USB-C port (non-Thunderbolt) and has relatively large bezels when compared to most of today’s laptops.

Click to play in YouTube.

CNN‘s Michael Andronico claims the Surface Laptop 4 is one of the best-looking and feeling notebooks you can buy.

“The Surface Laptop 4 is more of a good thing. Like the Surface Laptop 3 before it, Microsoft’s latest flagship laptop looks great, has a vibrant and uniquely tall screen, and delivers one of the best typing experiences in the business.”

However, he also criticizes the battery life (despite others universally praising it), speakers, and 720p webcam. Overall, he believes the Surface Laptop 4 offers some advantages over the Dell XPS 13 or MacBook Pro 13.

PC World’s claims that the AMD Ryzen chip supports Microsoft’s claim that this 4th generation laptop is twice is fast as the 3rd generation version. However, most won’t notice the difference when doing everyday activities.

The one aspect of the Surface Laptop 4 that critics haven’t discussed much is the screen. It’s sharp, but lacks some pixels when compared with the Surface Pro 4 or even the MacBook Pro series. The 13-inch version has a 2256 x 1504 resolution (201 PPI) , and the 15-inch version has a 2496 x 1664 (201 PPI) resolution.

To be fair, any screen resolution above regular HD offers crisp enough text and images for most people. When looking at previous Surface Laptop devices, the resolution wasn’t a huge issue. Microsoft seems to have hit the hot spot with the new Surface Laptop 4, and we’ll have a first-impressions review very soon.

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You Should Definitely Be Excited About The Nintendo Switch Pro

An advanced version of the Nintendo Switch is likely coming in 2021.

The Nintendo Switch came out in early 2017, and I still think it is the best thing that happened to gaming. It’s also been a huge success, and sales aren’t slowing down, despite other companies releasing new systems. While the graphics aren’t as amazing as they are on the PS5, it excels at what a gaming system is supposed to do — provide fun. It also provides the most fun out of any gaming system in a portable package, also allowing you to connect it to a television set or monitor.

There have been different versions of the Nintendo Switch released, including the Nintendo Switch Lite. Though Nintendo doesn’t plan to release a next generation gaming system for a while (at least according to Nintendo President of America President Doug Bowser), it looks like we will get the next best thing — the Nintendo Switch Pro.

According to International Business Times, leaked rumors point to a 720p OLED screen, 4K external display support, a Nvidia Ada Lovelace GPU, and games that are capable of better performance. In fact, there might be some games exclusive to the Nintendo Switch Pro that can’t be played on the regular Switch or the Switch Lite.

You may soon be playing 4K Mario games.

An OLED screen would not only be fantastic visually, but it will also consume less battery life than the current screen. Even though the latest version of the Nintendo Switch has improved battery life, it’s far less than ideal. That’s why you see so many people carrying battery packs with their Switches.

Of course, there are also those who say that there isn’t much of a difference between 4K and 1080p. If you’re looking at a 13-inch computer screen or 26-inch television screen, they may be right. But looking at 4K content on a 40-inch or taller television screen shows a night-and-day difference between 4K and 1080p. Can you just imagine playing a Mario game in 4K? The thought of it gets me far more excited than it should at my age.

The Nintendo Switch Pro (if that’s what it’s called) will likely be released in the 4th quarter of 2021. There are no more details now, but you can expect to hear a lot more in the coming months. Even though this isn’t a completely new gaming system for Nintendo, you can expect long lines the first day of its release.

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