Category Archives: Hardware

Top 3 MacBook Pro Retina Accessories

Today I spilled some coffee over my fairly new MacBook Pro (MBP). The liquid rolled over the corner of my trackpad, over the arrow keys and shift key, over 1/3 of the speaker, and by then, a friend had picked up the MBP and forced the coffee to roll over the right edge, successfully avoiding it from running into the SD and HDMI port.

Thank God he was there to react while I was still grasping the situation.

That said, luckily I also had a keyboard cover over my keys, which means those were all protected. That little accessory is what prompted this post.

1. Moshi ClearGuard MB / $24.95

This very thin keyboard cover fits perfectly over the MBP Retina. While it takes some time getting used to in terms of typing on it, mostly because the keys are now softer, it’s definitely worth the while if something spills over your keyboard. In addition, it keeps your keys protected from every day use.

2. RadTech ScreenSavrz / $17.95

This cloth lays on top of your keyboard. It’s useful because often your keyboard is dirty and when you close the lid, that dirt transfers on to the screen. In addition, if you get the ClearGuard mentioned above, that rubber could potentially leave some scuff marks on the screen as well. While it’s not super convenient to constantly place the cloth on the keyboard, you get used to it. Lastly, if you ever need to wipe the screen, you always have a cloth ready.

3. Logitech Portable Lapdesk N315 / $29.99

I’ve had my fair share of portable trays for laptops, but this one takes the cake. The sad part is that Logitech doesn’t officially sell it anymore, but you can still find it online at places like Staples.

What’s awesome about is that the surface is rubberized, which means the MBP doesn’t slip. It also has a slide-out mouse tray, which you can use for anything, really. In addition, I don’t like the cooling trays, because they often require power, and that’s not very convenient at all. Since the MBP blows out heat on the sides, the bottom doesn’t get hot, so you don’t need a fan. Lastly, because it’s so thin and portable, you can take it anywhere. I use it all the time, whether it sits on the table or my lap.

That’s it. If there’s something I’m missing or you have questions, feel free to leave it in the comments.

Bluetooth Headset: Plantronics Discovery 975

The first Bluetooth headset I’ve owned was the Motorola H550. The reason I picked it was primarily because of the ear hook. It just made sense that this would be the best way to mount it securely on your ear — or so thought. The headset was actually a gift I picked last minute, so it wasn’t as well researched as it would have been normally.

After using it for about a year, I decided to research other options. After looking at the top-rated devices at that time, I concluded that the best Bluetooth headset was going to be the Plantronics Discovery 975.

The only concern I had was that it was an in-the-ear Bluetooth. I always assumed that those couldn’t be very stable and would easily fall out, but surprisingly, they don’t. That device has never fallen out, not even when I was running with it. It also doesn’t hurt your ear as the over-the-ear device, the Motorola H550, did after wearing it for a few hours.

Why I chose it

  • It’s very small and light
  • Looks modern
  • Said that it lasts 5 hours for talking and 1 week on stand-by
  • Charges via micro USB, which is universal
  • Comes with a charging case
  • Received an average of 4/5 stars online

What I like about it

  • The charging case is awesome; protects the device and keeps it fully charged
  • Against all odds, the device fits snug and doesn’t fall out
  • Battery life is very reasonable and has never died unexpectedly
  • I can hear people clearly and they can hear me clearly in the car, inside and outside
  • Never had an issue with background noise, although I’m considerate e.g. turn down the stereo when I get a call

What I don’t like about it

  • I can honestly say that I have no complaints about it

What I learned after I got it

  • It comes with three different in-the-ear piece sizes
  • When in the case, there are two battery status indicators: one for the ear piece and one for the case

Conclusion

I really love this Bluetooth headset and I’d buy it again. If you have any questions about this product to which you can’t find the answer to, feel free to ask in the comments.

Official Product Website | View on Amazon

Navigation System: Garmin Nuvi 3490LMT

My first navigation system was a HP iPAQ rx1950 with Destinator PN installed and a USGlobalSat BT-821 GPS receiver. I still have that bundle and it’s fully functional, but the maps are now obsolete.

Up until just a few months ago, I got around town using the Telenav Navigator on my HTC Hero and then later my Samsung Galaxy SII Android phone. While this is convenient because you always have your phone with you, it’s also inconvenient because it drains your battery life and you’re unable to easily take phone calls.

If you perform a Google search for “navigation systems” today, you’ll undoubtedly see millions of results. While you’ll find hundreds of devices and thousands of reviews, let me just save you all the trouble.

After diligently reviewing all the best options, I’ve crowned my personal winner: the Garmin Nuvi 3490LMT.

Why I chose it

  • Uses some of the latest technology available
  • Includes lifetime traffic and map updates
  • Comes with voice recognition
  • Tells you what lane you need to be in prior to switching
  • Works in landscape and portrait mode
  • Received an average of 4/5 stars online

What I like about it

  • Connects to satellites very quickly
  • Calculates routes in a matter of seconds
  • Recognizes and understands my voice 4/5 times
  • Charges via a cable connected to the mount, not the device
  • Has a built-in speaker in the mount for higher volume
  • Tracks (optionally) everywhere I’ve been so I can review it later

What I don’t like about it

  • Unable to control traffic information via voice
  • Must have the device connected to the mount to receive traffic information
  • Website, where updates can be downloaded, isn’t user-friendly

What I learned after I got it

  • Additional software is available to manage the device i.e. add points of interest and view the routes you drove

Conclusion

I’m very happy with the navigation system and I’d buy it again. If you have any questions about this product to which you can’t find the answer to, feel free to ask in the comments.

Official Product Website | View on Amazon