A cheap iPad Pro case that’s good

I’ve spent ages testing the Amazon cheap iPad cases over the years and finally found one that I can recommend.

This is the MoKo with integrated Smart Cover and shell back.

I was looking for something to protect my iPad after going through a few over the last few months or so. I wanted something that offered some protection to the back for when I put it in my bag. This one doesn’t add a lot of bulk and removes the need for carrying around my Smart Cover.

The only downside that I’ve encountered is that the Smart Cover is fixed so if you want to use your keyboard cover it’ll have to come off first. I’m going to look at getting one without the cover attached so that I can carry it with the keyboard.

An added advantage of the rear shell is I have somewhere to put my stickers so that I don’t lose them if the iPad needs to go in for servicing at any point.

So, a quick write up but there’s not really much more to say on this case. It’s cheap at £10.99 and offers you protection from everyday carry and knocks.

Totallee iPhone XS case review

I’ve had a love hate relationship with cases for years and always end up using the iPhone naked but I might have found my perfect case (not quite, see my update at the end of this post). I’ve been aware of thin cases for a while and used the cheaper ones on Amazon on and off but always felt they lacked quality control or were slippery. I’ve also been aware of Totallee but they weren’t easily available in the UK. Well now they are on Amazon UK and I picked one up straight away.

I’d always loved my iPhone 5C and have been after something that gave me that look and feel. This case gets me 80% of the way there. It’s thin, adds hardly any bulk and apart from the metal buttons looks like it’s part of the iPhone. It feels in hand just like my 5C did, that’s if you go for the jet white or black finish.

All ports and switches are easily accessed and I haven’t experienced any issues with wireless charging.

I’m not brave enough to drop test my iPhone XS but looking at the protection prospects it should be ok from low level drops and will definitely protect it from scratches.

I love the feel of the iPhone without a case but it’s so slippery with the glass back. Sometimes it’ll even come off the wireless charger overnight or fall of a sofa. This adds a nice texture for both holding and keeping it put where you leave it.

UPDATE (15th Jan 2019)

It’s broken so I’ve done an Amazon return, another thin case problem as with the cheaper cases out there. Can’t recommend unless you NEVER take the case off.

UPDATE (4th Feb 2019)

I used the Totallee 2 year warranty to make a claim and got a new one posted out to me, great customer service.

Amazon link.

Juggling Apple Cases

Over the holidays I’m juggling the XS with no case, the Otterbox and the Apple Leather case. After using the Otterbox constantly then going back to no case and back to leather I think the leather one offers me the best grip and size compromises of using a case.

Two things that are downside of the Otterbox, slippery back so it spins around on tables, buttons are stiff and the lower part of the case restricts the up swipe for multitasking.

The leather case offers a smaller footprint, is grippy and no restrictions on the bottom of the case.

Otterbox Symmetry (Star Wars edition) for iPhone XS review

I’ve never been a fan of big cases and to be honest never really looked at an Otterbox but when I saw the Star Wars edition whilst searching on Amazon I was intrigued. I read up, watched a few videos and decided to give one a go. They looked to be more minimal than their usual heavy duty cases so as a day to day case looked doable for me.

The presentation is good and all materials appear to be recyclable, which is great to see.

The case itself has a large outer shell with a impact protected inner one that is a softer rubber. The case is quite stiff when you first use it but once I’d taken it on and off a few times seemed easier. Oh quick word of warning, if you’re looking for an included screen protector then it doesn’t have one. This isn’t a knock on the case but just be aware.

The design I went for was R2 and Leia but there are other designs available including Vader and BB-8.

Although a bit thicker than the Apple silicone case it’s not too bad for a protective case. I find the Apple silicone case texture to be horrible to hold after a while, no such problems here. It’s a softer material so won’t get that sticky feeling I hate so much. It also doesn’t collected lint and slips easily into your pocket. There’s enough grip to let is sit on sofa cushions etc. This is one of the reasons I’m not using my XS ‘naked’ it feels great in the hand but not for sitting down places.

All the buttons are easily pressed and have a satisfying click to them.

Ports are all accessible and wireless charging is fine.

Value for money wise it’s around £35, which is on the expensive side but a lot better value than the official Apple ones. I noticed though that the Star Wars ones are more expensive so if that’s not your bag just pick up a standard Symmetry one. They do them in loads of different colours.

So overall I didn’t think I’d like a more heavy duty case but otterbox have really done a great job of balancing protection with a more minimal design and come up with a good compromise.

Amazon Link. (All associate revenue goes towards the purchase of stuff to review for the site).

Elago Slim Fit for iPhone XS review

I used to test a lot cases on my blog but fallen off the wagon with settling on Apple cases. I thought it was about time I picked up some third party cases and let you know what I thought.

First up is the Elago Slim Fit.

This case is a plastic shell that snaps onto the back of your iPhone. It has coverage on all of the buttons and leaves them with the pretty much the same nice click as before.

It’s very minimal and doesn’t add a lot of bulk.

The main downside for me is the slippery finish they have used. It’s a light matte finish but leaves it hard to hang onto. This kind of defeats the object of having a case in the first place.

This is a case to avoid.

The best screen protector for the iPhone XS

I’ve been testing a number of screen protectors for the iPhone XS over the last couple of weeks and have come to the decision on which is best.

I picked a number of cheapish tempered glass ones on Amazon through to the Belkin gorilla glass version available at Apple stores.

First off I found tempered glass ones such as the ESR brand on Amazon to be generally terrible. They fit poorly and have a negative affect on the touch sensitivity of your screen. If you can live with this pick any of the tempered ones, they are all the same.

The best one I’ve tested and therefore my recommendation is the Belkin Invisiglass Ultra. I’ve included my Amazon link (any kick back I get goes into product reviews or paying for hosting costs) but I actually got it at the Apple Store. I paid my £29.95 and the staff fitted it for me. I’d recommend this, it’s at no extra cost and comes out perfectly. The touch sensitivity isn’t any different and the glass feels like glass, not slippery like the cheap Amazon ones.

I’ll update on long term durability over the coming months.

Apple Watch Series 4 review

I’ve been using the series 4 since launch so feel I’ve had enough time to write up some thoughts on using it compared to the series 2 it replaces. I went for the 44mm in silver, it’s the aluminium non cellular version.

Luckily all my 42mm bands fit fine so I’m good on that front. So coming from an existing watch you’ll be ok band wise.

I also picked up Apple Care + because I smashed my series 0 and it came in handy back then saving me a load of cash to buy a new one. Quick note on this, I had to call Apple to sort mine out as there was a bug for some people that bought the series 4 + Apple Care on day one. Mine showed that I hadn’t purchased it even though I had the order receipt. A quick call to Apple sorted this out.

I almost got stainless steel this time around but couldn’t stomach the extra money, especially when I had no intention of using cellular. With the creep up in Apple prices over the last few years I wanted to spend as little as I could to upgrade.

Size

Coming from a 42mm I naturally went for the 44mm. This is because I wanted the biggest screen available and also to make sure my bands fitted. On my wrist I feel it’s looks fine, in use it doesn’t feel any different to the 42mm.

The screen is just stunning on the series 4. The extra real estate makes tapping so much easier. I didn’t feel the series 2 was cramped until I tried this new one and couldn’t go back. I actually find myself using apps on my watch more than I ever have in the past. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I could play a game or view images but in day to day use it’s a lot easier on my (ageing) eyes!

As with most reviewers I’d love to see an always on low power display mode to show me the time.

Watch faces

There are a couple more watch faces to choose from, both provide a good amount of complications but I find myself still wanting more. Already spoke about at length on various blogs including this one by Marco Arment they are actually quite hard to read. I’ve found myself settling on modular so I can see the time quickly. I really do feel that it’s time to open up the ecosystem to third party watch faces.

The one above in particular looks amazing but when you use it day to day it’s hard to quickly see the time and it blows your eye balls out when you check the time in the middle of the night, make sure you use the black options for the dials.

Performance

Wow, it’s how the Apple Watch should have been all along. Technology has caught up with expectations. No more lag when tapping to start a workout or switching watch faces. It just does everything when you want it to. I’ve experienced no lag in anything I’m doing. I can’t vouch for series 3 but coming from a series 2 it’s such a big leap for me.

As with the screen it makes the Series 4 a joy to use and I find myself using more apps.

Should you upgrade?

You rarely have to update every year, especially a watch but for the series 4 I’m making an exception. If you have some spare cash or can sell your existing watch it’s a no brainier to update to a series 4. The screen and performance improvements alone makes the Apple Watch experience more enjoyable, therefore a must buy for fans of the watchOS.

Tip: if you’re looking to get one for Christmas, order now. They are always pushed to back end of November.