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148Apps 2013 Holiday Shopping Guide for Power Users

Posted by Rob Rich on December 13th, 2013

This is it - the end of our strange and wonderful shopping journey for the year. We know it can be tough to know what to get for someone for the holidays - anyone, really, regardless of how well you know them. We'd like to think that these shopping guides have been of some help. Even if you didn't go after anything on these lists there's the chance that something sparked an idea, which resulted in a successful gift. At least that's what we'd like to think.

Other 148Apps Holiday Gift Guides: for the [Heath Nuts] [Socializers] [Creative Types] [Gamers]

Today’s guide is for the intense “power users” you may know. Business folks, diehard Apple fans - anyone who tends to push their device’s battery to the limits every day, mostly. If you’re looking for something to make their trips easier, help out at the office, or even just keep their iPad running for a few more hours, check out our list below for some ideas.

iKit NuCharge Battery Case for iPhone 5

The iKit NuCharge Battery Case ($89 - iPhone) is a compact, lightweight case that allows users to charge their phone on-the-go. It's pretty much perfect for commuters, travelers, and anyone who spends large chunks of time away from their charger, really. It's a great way to keep a phone working so no important calls are missed, or even allowing for enough time to watch Home Alone while waiting at the airport. [Our Review]

The NuCharge case is a great all-around piece of hardware to have, but it pairs particularly well with essential work-related apps like Triage ($0.99 - iPhone), Appoint ($3.99 - iPhone), and Reeder 2 ($4.99 - Universal). You won't have to worry about running out of juice while answering important emails, last-minute changes to an itinerary, and keeping up on feeds.

ZaggKeys Cover for iPad Mini

If you've got an iPad Mini and plan to use it for anything other than basic web browsing, email reading, and gaming, then you'll probably want to check out the ZaggKeys Cover for iPad Mini ($99 - iPad Mini). It's well-built, has a sturdy hinge, is slim enough to be conveniently portable, allows users to place their iPad in backwards (i.e. they can use the iPad without awkwardly leaving the keyboard open or separating it entirely), and the keys are backlit. Kind of a no-brainer for any iPad Mini owner, really. [Our Review]

With a fancy iPad Mini keyboard like this, why not consider a writing app or two? Write for iPad ($1.99 - iPad) is a good coice for someone looking to write just about anything on the go, while Infinite PDF ($9.99 - iPad) offers up an extensive suite of PDF managing tools. It's a combination that's handy for presentations, setting up book layouts, and so on.

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover

The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover ($99 - iPad) is one iPad keyboard that I'm particularly fond of. It offers some decent screen protection, pops on and off easily but is also strong enough not to accidentally fall off on its own, and makes for an incredibly sturdy stand. This is another one that's idea for anyone who does a lot of writing for any reason, as well as for those who like to give presentations with their iPad [Our Review]

With those two factors in mind (presentations and writing), why not think about OmniPlan 2 for iPad ($59.99 - iPad) or Air Display 2 ($9.99 - iPad) as a digital pack-in with your gift? OmniPlan is ideal for organizing large projects and managing teams down to their smallest details. Air Display, on the other hand, would go incredibly well with the Ultrathin's functionality as a stand and allow the user to turn their iPad into a second computer monitor.

Dodocase Folio for iPad

Let's take a step back from all the super-intense stuff for a moment and appreciate the Dodocase Folio for iPad ($124 - iPad). It's a very sturdy, functional, and elegant case that would look great on any professional's iPad. It includes large pockets on the inside flap for notes and such, a little spot along the fold for a pen or stylus, and has this marvelous "old book" appearance when closed. It makes the iPad a bit more bulky, but it's still ideal for anyone who prefers to stay organized (and look good while doing it!). [Our Review]

SanDisk Wireless Media Drives

The SanDisk Wireless Media Drives ($50 to $100 - iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch) serve as an ideal alternative to cloud storage. They vary in price and available storage space, but any of them can be useful in a variety of situations. Loading up a bunch of movies to stream to an iOS device later (thus sparing the device's own storage space) is only one example. The drives also allow users to upload their own media files from their device - so tons of photos from a family trip, video from an on-location film shoot, and more can all be transferred with little effort or fuss. [Our Review]

You might want to consider including It's Playing Pro ($4.99 - Universal) with one of those drives, as according to our own Jeff Scott it's actually a much better app to use for streaming video playback than the suggested official SanDisk app. Say&Go ($0.99 - iPhone) is another good fit, since users would be able to record all the voice memos and notes they could stand without worrying about using up their device's storage. Photo apps such as FancyCam ($1.99 - iPhone) are also a great fit due to the photo/storage combo.

NeatConnect Cloud Scanner

Whether working from home in a personal office or on a trip with a portable one, the NeatConnect Cloud Scanner ($499 - iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch) is definitely something to consider. This wireless document scanner doesn't require the use of a computer of any kind. Instead, it can scan and upload documents (saved as PDF, JPG, and more) directly to cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive. This means it would be a snap for someone to scan a few receipts to load onto their iPhone for expense tracking, or important paperwork that they'd be able to transfer to their iPad and fiddle with. Greyscale, color, black and white, or two-sided - it makes no difference to this scanner. [Our Review]

So why not include something like Polaris Office ($0.99 - Universal) with it? This mini office-on-the-go app even supports Dropbox file transfers, so it'd be a snap to upload documents with the NeatConnect and then download them straight to Polaris Office. PDF Expert 5 ($9.99 - iPad) is another great fit, what with it being newly redesigned for iOS 7 and receiving a sizable amount of new features - namely the Review mode that allows users to edit and make notes on PDF files.

Dropcam Pro

Dropcam Pro ($199 - iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch) isn't about productivity, but about peace of mind. The camera connects to a home network and can be accessed through an iOD device in order to watch the house while on a trip, keep an eye on the kids or pets from work, and plenty of other scenarios. Setup is easy, video streams can be kept private or shared with specific individuals (or made entirely public if one so chooses), and the app even knows to turn the camera off once the user comes home. Of course you'll also want to grab the free official Dropcam app to go with it. [Our Review]

Feel free to peruse our Editor’s Choice selections for more top-rated office/travel/business-friendly app ideas.

148Apps 2013 Holiday Shopping Guide for Gamers

Posted by Rob Rich on December 12th, 2013

The week is almost over, and the holidays are that much closer, but those gifts won't find/buy/wrap/give themselves now will they? Thankfully there are people like us putting together handy-dandy holiday shopping guides for you! Whether you’re looking for new hardware and accessories, or just something a bit less impersonal than an iTunes gift card, we’ve got you covered.

Other 148Apps Holiday Gift Guides: for [Heath Nuts] [Socializers] [Creative Types] [Power Users]

Today’s guide centers around iOS gamers. These are the folks who love their portable games and spend most of their morning commute matching pieces of candy or fighting immortal titans. If you’d like to make the gamer(s) in your life have an overall more pleasant and convenient gaming experience, or simply get them some really cool stuff to play, check out our list below for some ideas.

MOGA Ace Power Gamepad

The MOGA Ace Power Gamepad ($99 - iPhone/iPod Touch) has several distinct advantages over the other controllers in this list: it’s collapsible so it’s easy to carry while still acting as an extension of the iOS device, it’s the first official MFi gamepad for iOS devices, it uses dual analog sticks in addition to buttons and a D-pad, and it comes with its own battery that will help to extend the amount of time iOS gamers can play things while away from home - or at least a charger. The noticeable downsides are that it’s rather heavy thanks to the internal battery, and it doesn’t support portrait orientation. [Our Review]

While you're considering the MOGA Ace Power Gamepad, you should probably also think about software to go with it. I'd recommend Oceanhorn ($8.99 - Universal), Dead Trigger 2 (Free - Universal), and Silverfish ($1.99 - iPhone) since all three are not only good games in their own right but also confirmed to be compatible. I'm sure there are plenty of other games out there that will work with it as well, but if you're trying to put some sort of package together it would probably be best to stick with what you know will work.


There’s also the option to mix things up and use and iOS device as the controller for something else, rather than attaching a physical controller to it - hence the MOTO TC Rally ($99 - iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch). This is more than just a RC car with an iOS controller: the free app used to control it adds quite a few gaming elements to the physical racing. Users can race their friends and cause virtual damage -that actually affects performance- through special impact sensors, use power-ups, customize their car’s performance and more.

LEGO Mindstorms EV3

The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 kit ($349 - iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch) is another great option for those looking to venture a little off the beaten path. I mean it lets users basically build whatever the want, then control it with their iPhone or iPad. How cool is that? It's got the universal LEGO appeal, the remote control angle, and taps into those creative juices for potentially limitless amounts of fun. [Our Review]

iKit NuCharge Battery Case for iPhone 5

The iKit NuCharge Battery Case ($89 - iPhone) is certainly something to consider for the iPhone 5 or 5s gamers in your life. The lightweight case doesn't block any ports, and it allows users to recharge their phone on the go. Perfect for lengthy trips or holiday visits with relatives where someone (not naming any names here) inevitably forgets to bring their charging cable. [Our Review]

What games go best with a phone-charging battery case? Battery hogs. There are a fair number of them out there and they can usually be picked out by their super-pretty graphics. A couple of great-looking (and just plain great) games you might want to consider are Warhammer Quest ($4.99 - Universal) and, of course, Infinity Blade III ($6.99 - Universal). However, XCOM: Enemy Unknown ($19.99 - Universal) is by far the biggest battery-muncher and would definitely benefit from something like the iKit NuCharge case.

Mophie Juice Pack Pro

The Mophie Juice Pack Pro ($129 - iPhone) may not be the most elegant-looking case, but what it lacks in style it makes up for in functionality. This is one very durable charging case that will keep batteries going longer and protect the phone from minor splash, dust, and more serious impact hazards. It's a good fit for camping trips or gamers who are particularly brutal with their devices. [Our Review]

The Mophie Juice Pack is another charging case, sure, but it's also quite durable. So it should be able to stand up to a little punishment when you toss your phone across the room after a particularly rough game of Tilt to Live 2 ($2.99 - Universal) or Pivvot ($2.99 - Universal), and will let World War II turn-based airplane strategy buffs like our own Andrew Stevens keep playing Ace Patrol: Pacific Skies ($4.99 - Universal) through just about any harsh weather conditions.

Ultimate Ears Mini Boom

Doubtless we all know at least one audiophile, and the Ultimate Ears Mini Boom speaker ($99 - iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch) is definitely something to consider for them. It's easy to connect to any device via bluetooth, is durable, a good size for travel, and produces some impressive sounds even by itself. It's a great way to enhance anyone's iOS gaming experience. [Our Review]

Of course if you're looking to get some nice speakers, you may want a game or two to go with it that put the enhanced sound to good use. I'd recommend The Last Door - Chapter 2: Memories ($1.99 - iPad) for those who love a good scare as it's a ridiculously creepy game without any audio enhancement whatsoever, so you can imagine what some high-quality speakers will do to it. Home ($2.99 - Universal) is another excellent choice for the same reason. LEGO Lord of the Rings ($4.99 - Universal) is another good option because, come on, who doesn't want to hear that epic score and the official movie dialogue on something more substantial than their iPhone/iPad speaker?

Feel free to peruse our Editor’s Choice selections for more top-rated game ideas.

148Apps 2013 Holiday Shopping Guide for Socializers

Posted by Rob Rich on December 10th, 2013

Welcome to Day Two of our 2013 shopping extravaganza! Having trouble figuring out what to get for a distant relative, new neighbor, or estranged second cousin? Thankfully there are people like us putting together handy-dandy holiday shopping guides for you! Whether you’re looking for new hardware and accessories, or just something a bit less impersonal than an iTunes gift card, we’ve got you covered.

Other 148Apps Holiday Gift Guides: for [Heath Nuts] [Creative Types] [Gamers] [Power Users]

Today’s guide centers around highly social iOS users. I’m talking about the people who practically live on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and all that. It can be tough to come up with something for such diehard (virtual) social butterflies, and even more tricky to surprise them, but we’re certainly going to give it a shot! Check out our list below for some hopefully useful ideas.

iKit NuCharge Battery Case for iPhone 5

When people check Twitter, Facebook, and so on all the time, it stands to reason that they might need something to supplement their battery usage. Enter the iKit NuCharge Battery Case ($89 - iPhone). It's light, slim, and great for on-the-go charging. Which in itself is great for people who use their phone once every ten seconds to update their status or share photos of their lunch. [Our Review]

Feed reading is a big part of most social media users' day-to-day habits, which is why including an app like Ziner ($4.99 - iPad) and Reeder 2 ($4.99 - Universal). With so much news and information just a few taps away, having an extended battery would be very important indeed. And if the need arises to settle an argument about any number of topics at a get-together, massive cross-referencing search engine Phlo ($1.99 - Universal) is also available.

Poddities Netsuke

The Netsuke from Poddities (~$20 - iPhone/iPod Touch) is another worthwhie consideration. It's such a simple little piece of hardware: just a metal loop that screws into the bottom of the iPhone. And yet it can be quite handy for someone who's constantly checking their screen. Installation is easy and it allows users to attach their own lanyard or other form of loop so that their phone is always within easy reach withouth the danger of falling out of a pocket. Once attached they'll be able to wear their iPhone or iPod Touch around like a necklace or strap it to their wrist for easy Tweeting - or really any other sort of rope/nylon-based attachement they can think of. [Our Review]

The most significant purpose of the Netsuke is the way in which it makes one's iPhone or iPod Touch so easy to have on-hand. For this reason, it's ideal for messaging apps such as the new Tweetbot 3 ($2.99 - iPhone) and IM+ Pro7 ($4.99 - Universal), as well as for camera apps like PureShot ($1.99 - Universal). If a random thought occurs that must be shared, friends must immediately be informed of a change of plans, or something really cool is happening and photographic evidence is needed, your Netsuke recipient will be covered.

Sonos Wireless Music Systems

Another thing social folks like to do is share their music with others. Either by mentioning what they're listening to in a post, linking YouTube videos, quoting lyrics, or flat-out playing their music for anyone within range to hear. It's for the latter reason that we recommend the Sonos Play:1 ($199 - iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch), Sonos Play:3 ($299 - iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch), and Sonos Play:5 ($399 - iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch). These are some seriously high-quality speakers that work incredibly well solo or grouped together. They even feature humidity protection, so you can place them in the bathroom without having to worry about damage from the steam. Even if someone on your list already has a Sonos speaker, they could easily add another one to their system for even more expansive sound. [Our Sonos Play:1 Review]

If the person you're getting a Sonos speaker for also happens to enjoy amateur videography, you might want to consider gifting them a copy of Vidstitch Pro ($0.99 - Universal). It's a great way for them to combine multiple videos and still images into a sort of moving collage, and could certainly benefit from the addition of some high-quality sound. Conversely, if they prefer to listen rather than create there's always Pocket Casts ($3.99 - Universal). This unassuming little app is a fantastic tool for downloading, managing, and listening to one's favorite podcasts regardless of whether or not they're available on iTunes.

Feel free to peruse our Editor’s Choice selections for more top-rated social app ideas.

iKit NuCharge Battery Case for iPhone 5 Review

By Rob LeFebvre on March 22nd, 2013
This NuCharge battery system hits the spot for a slim, light extra battery charge for the iPhone 5.
Read The Full Review »