Mac Sources Digital media blog for resources and reviews 2017-05-26T20:33:52Z https://macsources.com/feed/atom/ WordPress Nicholas Calderone https://www.macsources.com/team/ <![CDATA[OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock REVIEW The Only Dock You Will Ever Need]]> https://macsources.com?p=44274&preview=true&preview_id=44274 2017-05-26T20:33:52Z 2017-05-26T20:33:52Z Forget the rest. This is the Dock I’ve been looking for. For some time now I’ve been on a search for the ultimate docking solution for my late 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. While I’ve found many wonderful docks/hubs, none of them really fit my needs completely. Fortunately, OWC has created an amazing Thunderbolt […]

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Forget the rest. This is the Dock I’ve been looking for.

For some time now I’ve been on a search for the ultimate docking solution for my late 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. While I’ve found many wonderful docks/hubs, none of them really fit my needs completely. Fortunately, OWC has created an amazing Thunderbolt 3 Dock that suits me very well.

The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock is the perfect blend of design and function for my setup. There are 13 ports on it. Let me say that again. There are 13 PORTS on the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock. Let’s start with the front. There is an SD card slot, aux port for audio connection, and one USB 3.1 port for quick charging or data transfer. The SD card slot on the front is a clear winner in my book, but I also really like the convenience of the USB port for plugging in the occasional flash drive.

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock

When you turn the dock around, you will find the remaining ten ports.

  • Four (4) USB 3.1 Gen 1 – Delivers 5Gbps of data and offers high-speed charging
  • S/PDIF – Professional-grade digital audio connection.
  • Firewire 800 – Allows up to 800 Mbps data transfer and allows you to connect to legacy devices to retrieve data.
  • Gigabit Ethernet – Allows you to connect to high-speed Internet with a wired connection.
  • Two (2) Thunderbolt 3 – Data transfer up to 40 Gbps and acts as a USB-C connection for the MacBook Pro. Supports video pass-through up to 4K @ 60Hz and one (1) 5K Thunderbolt 3 display.
  • Mini Display – Allows a connection to external displays that were previously using a Thunderbolt 2 port. Supports 2K or 4K @ 60Hz.

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock

One very important note I want to make about the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock is that with its power input (100 ~  240V, 50/60Hz), it can power and charge my MBP. This is a wonderful feature as most other docks require that I not only use my own power cable, but they also don’t provide enough pass through power to charge my laptop (the 15-inch MacBook Pro 2016 requires 87W). This dock has enough power to charge my MBP and it does it with its own power adapter.

Now we come to why the search for the ‘perfect dock’ has eluded me. First of all, I’m rocking a 34-inch LG display that connects to the MacBook Pro via Thunderbolt. While I’m at my desk, I prefer to use it as my display instead of the laptop’s screen. So I use my MacBook Pro in Clamshell Mode (this is where your MacBook Pro is on and you are using an external display but your laptop lid is closed). You need certain connections to make this happen. Many of the docks/hubs I’ve used lack those features. OWC’s dock and the inclusion of Thunderbolt 3 make the display/Clamshell mode a possibility.

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock

While the display connection was a primary issue for me, it wasn’t my only concern. Most of the other third party hubs I’ve tried have USB-3 compatibility but lack an SD card slot. Since I collect a lot of photos and videos when doing reviews, the lack of an SD Card slot on a dock is a pretty big inconvenience. Having the aforementioned SD card slot on the OWC dock — front and center — is really a huge time-saver. I can easily slide the SD card in and within a few seconds, the images and video are transferred over to the computer.

As for the rest of my set up, I also utilize one of the USB 3.1 ports for my Rode microphone and I have full functionality of the mic as it works with macOS.  This was a problem with other docking options. I had the functionality of the microphone, but not use of features like Dictation or Siri.

One additional feature you will find is that LED’s are located on the bottom of the dock. I can see the light when the dock is powered on, but just barely. I’m not sure if this was to keep it from blinding you or if this just happened to be a design choice.

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock

While the problems I had are seemingly small things, when you are on the hunt for the perfect solution for the 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, you want to find something spectacular — like the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock.

I would have loved to see a third Thunderbolt 3 port included on the dock. My current setup requires me to use one to connect to my laptop for power and the other to connect to my monitor. I also have an external Thunderbolt storage array that I do all of my video editing off of. So instead of plugging it into the dock, it’s plugged into my MacBook Pro. This is not a big deal as I have four Thunderbolt 3 ports on the MacBook Pro. It just would have been nice to have only one cable connected to it.

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock

So when you hear my slight complaint, you can obviously see that I’m really reaching to find a suggestion for improvement. The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock is truly an amazing device and if you own the new MacBook Pro it’s a must have product. I’ve not had any issues with it at all and in my opinion, it’s perfection.

For more information, visit OWC.
Find OWC on Facebook and Twitter.

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Nicholas Calderone https://www.macsources.com/team/ <![CDATA[Master and Dynamic MW60 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones REVIEW Super Crisp Wireless Headphones]]> https://macsources.com?p=44874&preview=true&preview_id=44874 2017-05-26T20:01:55Z 2017-05-26T20:01:55Z Wireless over-ear headphones with warm, rich sound and class In my relentless pursuit of the ‘right’ set of headphones, I’ve amassed quite a collection of just ‘ok’ ones. I have an eclectic taste in music and I’m also hard of hearing. These two issues can make it difficult for me to find a set of […]

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Wireless over-ear headphones with warm, rich sound and class

In my relentless pursuit of the ‘right’ set of headphones, I’ve amassed quite a collection of just ‘ok’ ones. I have an eclectic taste in music and I’m also hard of hearing. These two issues can make it difficult for me to find a set of headphones that really works for all purposes for me. I might have one set that sounds great with rock ‘n roll but falls flat with hip-hop music. This is the reason why I have so many pairs of headphones. Fortunately, I happened to obtain a pair of MW60 Wireless Over-ear Headphones from Master & Dynamic and I’ve found that my days of searching are over.

Master and Dynamic MW60 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones

The MW60s are a very solid pair of headphones. They fit comfortably over the ears and are built from quality materials. I was very impressed with them from the moment I removed them from their box; you know that you are holding sophistication at its best. The headphones come packaged with a canvas headphone pouch, canvas cable pouch, 1.25m aux cable with a 3.5/6.3mm Gold-Plated Adapter, leather cable box, and a Micro USB charging cable. They feature a 16-hour rechargeable battery as well as:

  • Aluminum antennae ensures 4x industry average signal range
  • Heavy grain premium cowhide on headband exterior surface and ear cup accents, soft lambskin on headband interior and ear pads
  • Stainless steel foldable hinges
  • 45mm Neodymium High-Performance Drivers
  • Tactile controls on the right ear
  • Omni-directional microphone isolates noise and ensures clarity during use
  • Super comfortable earpads made from memory foam and lambskin
  • Bluetooth 4.1 with Aptx™ high-quality audio
  • Passive audio available when wireless disabled, via a 3.5mm cable

 

Master and Dynamic MW60 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones

When I first started using them, I noticed that my being hard of hearing was not a problem for the MW60s. They produce such a clean, crisp sound that I can easily enjoy any style of music when I use them. The headphones are very comfortable to wear even though they are a bit heavier than some of their competitors. The tactile controls are easy to use and I love that there is a microphone built-in because I can answer calls without needing to remove the cans.

Being over the ear headphones, they cut out a lot of ambient noise but they are by no means designed as noise canceling headphones. That’s not a complaint. I just wanted anyone looking at these to know that while they isolate well, they don’t ‘cancel’ out noise. You can still get some ambient noise bleed through, but it’s not a distracting amount. I’ve still been able to work easily in quieter public settings like libraries while wearing the MW60s.

Master and Dynamic MW60 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones

Noise canceling aside, I plan on the MW60’s being my everyday headphones and have found a permanent place on my desk. With the long battery life and the superior comfort they provide, these are beyond amazing for all day use. These are definitely premium headphones and I’m proud to display them on my desk when they aren’t in use.

The only complaint I do have is the Canvas Headphone Pouch that comes with the MW60s. I feel that such a premium set of headphones deserves a premium case to match it. While it’s very well made, I think that the canvas pouch doesn’t fit the luxury style of the MW60s. I would have preferred that a hard case be provided or made available as an add-on for these headphones. I had a hard time storing the headphones in the pouch without feeling as though I might damage the leather. Because I love these headphones so much I plan on picking up a hardshell case. I would suggest this one – Hardshell case.

Master and Dynamic MW60 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones

The MW60 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones are a beautiful example of what wireless headphones should be. They exude sophistication in form and function. You won’t find better headphones in the same class as the MW60s.
BUY FROM AMAZON

For more information, visit Master & Dynamic
Find Master & Dynamic on Facebook and Twitter.

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Robyn https://www.macsources.com/team/ <![CDATA[Moshi Symbus Compact USB-C Dock REVIEW]]> https://macsources.com?p=44905&preview=true&preview_id=44905 2017-05-26T18:39:16Z 2017-05-26T18:39:16Z Turns your laptop into a desktop system with a single cable. Sometimes you just need the bare essentials. I’ve been searching for USB-C hubs and docks for several months now and I’ve been wanting ones that cover all the bases. There are some that are small and easy to toss into a laptop bag for travel […]

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Turns your laptop into a desktop system with a single cable.

Sometimes you just need the bare essentials. I’ve been searching for USB-C hubs and docks for several months now and I’ve been wanting ones that cover all the bases. There are some that are small and easy to toss into a laptop bag for travel and others that are massive and meant for more permanent installations. And then there are docks like the Symbus from Moshi that are just the right size.

Symbus is a compact USB-C dock for use with a MacBook or other USB-C laptop. Its purpose is to provide you with a semi-permanent solution to creating a desktop environment that’s easy to interface with alongside your laptop. The dock is small but weighted so that it doesn’t slide around on a desk. It measures 4.53″ x 2.8″ x 1.14″. So, it’s small enough to slide into a laptop bag for portable working locations, but honestly, I’d leave it as a permanent installation since that’s how it was designed. The dock has one HDMI port that is compatible with HD displays (4K @ 30Hz, 1080P @ 60Hz) and one Ethernet port that will transfer up to 1000 Mbps. This is actually a lovely option since most USB-C laptops have no easy option for a wired Internet connection.

Moshi Symbus Compact USB-C Dock REVIEW

On the front are two (2) USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 ports that will transfer data at a rate of 5Gbps. Both of these USB ports provide fast charging in addition to the data delivery. Aside from those four ports, there is also a DC power port on the back that connects to a standard power pack and cord for the dock. Symbus will provide power delivery up to 65W for laptop charging. This is compatible with MacBooks and MacBook Pros up through the 13-inch model from late 2016. The 15-inch MacBook Pro (late 2016) with Touch Bar requires 87W of power in order to charge it. The final feature on the dock is the Smart LED indicator that shows battery status for the laptop you are connected to.

Moshi Symbus Compact USB-C Dock REVIEW

The box is pretty standard for Moshi products. It is reminiscent of Apple branded boxes (mostly white) and it features a nice photo of the product on the front. The main features are shown on the front of the box while more detailed remarks are found on the back. When you open the box you will find the dock and its power accessories. There is a small carboard insert that talks about the Moshi USB-C Dock utility app. The app is very simple as it’s really just a monitor for the unit. When it’s plugged in, you can see the charging status of the laptop, eject any connected devices, and update the firmware if it’s needed. There is no official manual that is boxed with Symbus. The operation is pretty self-explanatory though as it’s designed to be plug ‘n play.

Moshi Symbus Compact USB-C Dock REVIEW

The main concern I had with this dock was its charging capabilities. I have an HP Spectre x360 laptop that uses USB-C to charge at 45W. So it was the perfect guinea pig for the project. I plugged the dock into the wall and then it’s USB-C connection to the HP. The laptop was actually at 0% battery so it was the perfect time to test this out. After about 40 minutes, the laptop’s battery is showing a 32% charge. The Symbus has registered a bit warm to the touch, but it’s not a dangerous ‘hot’ feeling. The next test I performed was to transfer a file from a USB 3.0 flash drive to the desktop of the computer. The video file was over 360MB in size and it only took 3 seconds to transfer. I did have an odd issue come up while I was reviewing files on the flash drive though. The file explorer window on the HP kept reverting back to the root file menu on the flash drive and then it would open additional windows without my involvement. The HP Spectre x360 comes equipped with a USB port so I tried the same drive in that port and haven’t had any glitches. That said, I also plugged in a Bluetooth adapter into the Symbus and the mouse has worked just fine. I’m willing to dismiss the glitch as just a ‘glitch’ and not a defect since there were other devices connected that worked without issue.

Moshi Symbus Compact USB-C Dock REVIEW

The Symbus is a nice solution for incorporating a laptop into a desktop environment. It’s got a great, clean design to it and it’s minimalist in its purpose. It’s been a strong performer for me and I would recommend it to others.

For more information, visit moshi.com/symbus.
Find Moshi on Facebook and Twitter.

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Jon Walters http://macsources.com <![CDATA[WaveBlocker REVIEW Reduce ambient cellphone radiation]]> https://macsources.com/?p=44896 2017-05-26T17:31:26Z 2017-05-26T17:31:26Z Even if science cannot find a link between non-ionizing radiation and brain cancer, we should not simply throw caution to the wind. Most of us are aware of the potential cancer concerns of high energy ionizing radiation, such as solar/cosmic sources, X-rays, and radon.  However, there has been a lot of debate about the effects […]

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Even if science cannot find a link between non-ionizing radiation and brain cancer, we should not simply throw caution to the wind.

Most of us are aware of the potential cancer concerns of high energy ionizing radiation, such as solar/cosmic sources, X-rays, and radon.  However, there has been a lot of debate about the effects of non-ionizing radiation (microwave and cell/radio signals).  According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), there are three main reasons that people are concerned about cancer-causing potential of our cell phones:  they emit radio-frequency energy, there has been a drastic increase in cell phone usage with 327.5 million cellphone subscribers in the US in 2014 and we tend to use the devices for longer periods of time.  Despite the improved technology and lower energy output of our modern devices, there is still a debate regarding cell phone radiation.

WaveBlocker

If you have not reviewed the NCI site, I would recommend it.  I did not realize how much research is being done in the field of cell phone radiation.  Before you can understand the risk, at least a brief physics and biology review is needed. Electromagnetic radiation travels in waves and also has particle characteristics.  This form of radiation is typically defined by wavelengths and frequencies, as defined by the number of cycles per second (hertz, Hz). When the body is exposed to the radiation, the energy is absorbed. Ionizing radiation is known to cause direct DNA damage, whereas the non-ionizing radiation really only causes tissue heating.  This is the process that allows us to cook food in our microwaves.

There have been three large epidemiological studies (NCI and cancer.org)looking at cell phone use and the potential for cancers: Interphone (no significant increases in brain or central nervous system cancers), Danish Study (no increased risks of brain cancers) and the Million Women Study (No increased risk for brain or nervous system cancers).  Additional smaller studies funded by NCI showed no increased risks of glioma, meningioma or acoustic neuromas (brain cancer types).  Unfortunately, many of these studies suffer from changing technology (analog to digital, lower power output with modern devices), reporting errors and other bias. Despite the data, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) still declared the following statement in 2011 “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”   The American Cancer Society (ACS) stance is that more evaluation is needed.  This is a similar stance to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the US FDA.  The CDC finds no scientific evidence for a link between wireless devices and cancer or other illnesses. A recent large study by US National Toxicology Program (NTP) exposed entire rats to RF energy for 9 hours per day, starting before birth and continuously for 2 years. There was a very mild increase in tumors in male rats, but not female.  This data does put the “what if” question back onto the table.  The studies do expose the rats to much higher doses of RF radiation than most people experience in a day, but the possibility remains.

WaveBlocker device

It seems that there is a lot of debate regarding the harms of cell phone radiation, despite what the science is showing.  This review is not designed to be a meta-analysis, rather the data support that each of us needs to make our own decisions regarding the use of our cellular devices.  To reduce your potential exposure, you can limit cell phone use, use the speaker mode to move the antenna further from your head,  or use hands-free devices to move the energy further from your body, use a phone with a lower specific absorption rate (SAR) or you can possibly use a device like the WaveBlocker.  The WaveBlocker from Protek Innovations is a 2 1/4″ long by 1/2″ wide by 1/8″ thick plastic device, which promises to absorb ambient radiation.  After the World Health Organization (WHO) classified cell phones as possibly carcinogenic in 2011, the team from Waveblocker began working on an idea.  Through 4 years of multi-specialty collaboration, the passive circuit device was patented.  Placing the device over the antennae has been shown to reduce radiation exposure by as much as 65%.

Installation of the device is incredibly easy.  Remove the device from the WaveBlocker packaging, clean the back of your device, place a call and move the WaveBlocker around until the light is the brightest.  The device will absorb ambient radiation and will illuminate a red LED.  When you have positioned the device in the best place, remove the adhesive strip on the device and place it onto your phone with the W facing upwards.  Now every time you see the light illuminate, you are decreasing the potential harms of the radiofrequency energy.  Without a way to test this theorem, I will have to rely on Protek Innovations word.

The product is lightweight (0.1oz), will not work through a case and seemed to work best around the bottom right of the iPhone 7.  This made it difficult to find the best location/brightest illumination of the LED.  The device is a really neat idea for those who are worried about the potential hazards of cell phone radiation.  I tend to use more handsfree devices and thus am less worried.  I was still able to search on WiFi and to talk on the phone without any changes in signal strength.  My wife asked a really interesting/important question, one that I cannot answer.  If the device is absorbing the radio frequency, how is it still able to communicate with cell towers?  Is this residual energy wasted or is it simply not useful energy?  Just like with the lack of scientific evidence for or against the risks of cell phones, I am not entirely sure of what this device does. I can understand what it is meant to do, that it illuminates (without a battery) in response to energy and reduces the amount of energy exposure to your head.  Alas, if I am talking on the phone, how does this reduce my exposures/risks in real time? Lastly, if the signal can be reduced by 65%, why do I keep losing signal when I am functioning at 100%?

WaveBlocker LED

For those who want to take all precautions, this device may be perfect for you. I will continue to roll the dice and use my phone inside of a Catalyst case and more often than not with a hands-free headset.

Learn more about WaveBlocker.
Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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Brian Wharton https://www.macsources.com/team/ <![CDATA[Enblue Evolus 3 iOS Docking Station REVIEW]]> https://macsources.com?p=44830&preview=true&preview_id=44830 2017-05-25T17:31:02Z 2017-05-25T05:00:00Z Evolus 3 dock helps to eliminate cable clutter. We need fewer cords! With all the devices we carry and use in our everyday fast paced life, we seem to have a tangle of cords everywhere. Whether it’s on the nightstand, shelf, or counter, there always seem to be an abundance of cords for charging. For […]

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Evolus 3 dock helps to eliminate cable clutter.

We need fewer cords! With all the devices we carry and use in our everyday fast paced life, we seem to have a tangle of cords everywhere. Whether it’s on the nightstand, shelf, or counter, there always seem to be an abundance of cords for charging. For me personally, it’s my iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.  While the iPhone and iPad use the same cord I do have to charge them at the same times very frequently. My end table looks like a disheveled mad scientist lives there. There are several different cord management devices that I have tried, all of them ended in disappointment.

Enblue Evolus 3 iOS Docking Station REVIEW

After a search, I landed on Enblue’s Evolus 3. The Evolus 3 is a smarter, aesthetically pleasing charging solution. There are two options. A silver metal base with either silicone or leather accents. I went with the silicone as its soft and wear and tear over time won’t show as easily. The metal base is a little heavy, meaning it will stay out for everyday use and it is sturdy enough to stand the test of time.

Sadly, there is some assembly required. The good news is that is very easy. I had to install the rests for the iPad and iPhone first. The metal rests have prongs that you just slide into place in then corresponding spot. My devices always have cases, which makes charging stands a real pain. I have bought several that I absolutely couldn’t use with my cases because of clearance issues. The Evolus 3 solves that problem by allowing the lightning connectors to raise up and down with small adjustment knob hidden behind the rests. This makes the Evolus more user-friendly for everyone. You do need to provide your own Apple Watch charging cable.

Enblue Evolus 3 iOS Docking Station REVIEW

After pulling out the base for the Apple Watch, I ran the charger through a small opening and black adapter that holds the charging puck upright (that way you can charge the Apple Watch in Nightstand Mode) and wrapped the cord inside of the base once close to the end you plug the puck into the USB slot hidden within the Evolus keeping the whole assembly cord and clutter free. After everything was set up I plugged in the included power cord and I was ready to go.

Enblue Evolus 3 iOS Docking Station REVIEW

The initial use was pretty smooth. I did get frustrated getting the height adjusted just right for the lighting ports. After a little trial and error, I got them synced up to the right height for my different cases. I did notice a feature that I had overlooked. The lightning ports move front to back a little bit which helps when attaching or disconnecting your devices. It takes away the worry of snagging the connectors and breaking them off in the iDevices. After just one day, my cord clutter was gone for good. Now I have more room to pile on junk mail.

For more information, visit enbluetec.com/evolus-3.
Find Enblue Technology on Facebook and Twitter.

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