It's time for our honest appraisal of the MacBook Pro. After almost 5 years using my old MacBook Pro, a first generation retina display, the time had come for an upgrade. I've been chomping at the bit for Apple to announce a new laptop because mine was having a lot of issues. Be it the bevy of dead pixels, battery life of less than 1 hour to the most frustrating of all, ghosting effects on my screen. So finally, at the end of last year, Apple announced the new MacBook Pros with the Touch Bar. Time to hit the savings and purchase one. Before getting to the review, I have to say, Apple products hold a good resale value. After almost 5 years, I was able to trade in my old laptop for 500 dollars at Best Buy. A great deal. Now back to the MacBook Pro Review. I have been using the laptop for almost 4 weeks now. I have done pretty much the same things I did with the previous one. Tasks using tools such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Sketch, Figma, Sublime Text and Android Studio. This review is based on my personal experience, some people might think differently, but again, everyone has his or her own way of seeing things, this is mine. MacBook Pro Review Industrial Design Let’s start with the easy one, the industrial design. What can I say about this machine, it is simply stunning. The Space Grey color gives it a super sleek look, it’s like the Lamborghini Aventador of the laptops in my mind. In terms of size, it’s not much different than the previous one. It’s definitely thinner and lighter, but putting them together the dimensions are quite similar. The difference is how solid/dense this machine feels. The old one now feels to have a bunch of wasted space internally compared with the new one. It’s like it’s a solid piece with no parts. Try to shake him, you cannot hear a piece moving. I also like the new design of the screen, it’s a detail, but the MacBook Pro logo looks nicer over a black surface. Keyboard and Trackpad There’s a lot of talk about the keyboard, quite a lot of hate too. What can I say? I love it. I love pretty much everything about it. The sound, even though it gets a bit loud; the keys and how short the travel is when you press them. They also feel a bit bigger. My theory is that Apple is slowly transitioning to digital keyboards by making the laptop keys with shorter and shorter travel therein training us to type on flat surfaces. If that is true, it’s working for me and I appreciate it. The trackpad got a redesign as well, they made it really big. But, does size really matter? To be honest with you, in this case, it doesn’t. It’s nice that it’s bigger, but it captures a bunch of involuntary touches, especially when I am typing, like now. I also like to set up the trackpad speed to the max, so I can move the cursor across the screen without much effort. That said, the trackpad feels great without the physical click. It’s like the new iPhone in that it just emulates the click. I know, I know, it’s been on laptops for a long time, but remember I had a 2012 MacBook Pro. Touch Bar To summarize my feelings about the Touch Bar, gimmicky. Apple calls it a touch of genius, I call it a touch of laziness or just stubbornness on not making the screen touchable. Here’s the thing, I don’t want to sound bad but there’s nothing about it that I like. It made my life more difficult. For example, if I want to change the volume, now I need an extra click because I need to expand the volume slider. Same goes for screen brightness. In addition to that, you have to expand the touch bar to access other functions like the apps drawer, the expose and keyboard backlight control. Why? Some apps take advantage of that Touch Bar, but I am so used to those apps that I never noticed anything different. Oh there are the emojis on Messenger, too bad, I am an old and grumpy man that doesn’t use emojis. Also there’s Siri, that is right on top of the Delete key and next to the Touch Id key. That means, I trigger that button by mistake a bit too often. That’s when I get reminded about Siri, which I never used. Again, this is my personal opinion. Maybe I will change my mind about some of these things, but for now, I think the Touch Bar is dumb. The best thing about it is the Touch Id to turn on and login without password. That is pure genius, but that is not exactly part of the Touch Bar. Performance and Battery life Performance-wise for me it’s great. It is better than my previous MacBook Pro but not by much. It definitely handles apps like Android Studio and Sketch with multiple artworks faster, but it’s not mind-blowing faster. I also feel that in general the computers cannot get that much faster as the tech might have reached a plateau. I have to also say that I don’t use a lot of CPU or GPU intensive software that much. For my needs it’s an excellent machine. The screen is also beautiful, the colors are much improved compared with the 2012 cousin. It’s more saturated and brighter. The contrast is another great improvement in my humble and not so knowledgeable opinion. Resolution-wise, it's the same, still crisply beautiful. Now the battery life. Oh the battery life. This one for me is tricky because my previous laptop would last for less than 1 hour so anything over that is much better. But it’s far from what Apple claims 10 hours, which I think someone could sue them for false advertising. I never got close to that, maybe if I only use Safari with a blank tab with 10% brightness for the screen I might get the result. In short, the battery life is not 10 hours, actually it’s pretty hard to track it for me because it’s extremely unreliable. Sometimes it lasts more, others it feels that it goes down like a % every minute. I believe that’s the reason that they removed the time estimate from the battery indicator. Hopefully, it can be fixed via firmware or software, but, as I said in the beginning, I was used to a terrible battery life. So it’s not a deal breaker for me, especially now that I can charge it from anyone of the 4 USB-C ports available. USB-C ports only I appreciate Apple’s boldness on adopting new technologies and getting rid of old ones. They are not predicting the future, but trying to define it by going there first.Another new feature that generated a lot of controversy, the USB-C only ports. I see a lot of people complaining, but for me, like with the keyboard, I love it. I simply do. I love the idea of one type of port for everything, that’s the future and Apple is betting on it. Too bad that now you need an adapter for the iPhone cable. Thankfully I am a Pixel owner so it works just great with my Android Pixel. How paradoxical, right!? I also have only one adapter, that came with my Pixel phone. It’s an USB-A to USB-C. It works great and serves all my needs. I can connect my Sony RX1 camera, or my old external hard-drive just fine and best of all, I can use my external monitor with just one cable for everything. It cannot get any better than that, unless going all wireless. Conclusion Overall the MacBook Pro 15 with the Touch Bar is a great machine. It’s clearly an evolution from the previous one in terms of industrial design and aesthetics, not so much in performance, but still better and faster. The new features like the keyboard, Touch ID, bigger trackpad and USB-C only are really good for me. I appreciate Apple’s boldness on adopting new technologies and getting rid of old ones. They are not predicting the future, but trying to define it by going there first. It also resonates with my minimalist mind of reducing clutter by simplifying things, like having only one port for everything. Despite the Touch Bar being a hit or miss for me I highly recommend this machine if you have an old MacBook Pro like I did and need an upgrade urgently. If you can wait, I’d wait because Apple is notorious for having bad first generation products, I suffered with my old MacBook Pro, but this time I will be more prepared by acquiring the Apple Care extended warranty. In a nutshell, if you want to have the sexiest laptop you can get, I would get this one in a heartbeat. Perhaps the 13, if you don’t need too much screen real estate. Pros Beautiful Industrial Design; Thinner and lighter than the previous one; Spacegrey color is sleek; Keyboard; USB-C only for everything; Touch Id to unlock Cons Battery life; macOS is getting a bit outdated; Touch Bar is useless for me. It also adds extra clicks for volume or other common tasks; No touch screen Photos
Let me start this review by saying that first of all I am a huge (hardcore) fan of Apple ever since the iPhone 4, where I still think that is the best phone they ever made. As of late, they haven’t been stepping it up their game in terms of innovation. In my opinion, they just have been strategically reinventing the wheel by recycling what’s been done and adding with some extras to get us excited for more. By the meantime, other brands have been doing other things to raise up the competition including Google where they have introduced their first phone actually named Pixel. This following review will be based from my perspective from the day-to-day especially how the phone react to different situations from photography, usability and overall experience. Let’s go! Gear Google Pixel XL Phone Review First Impressions and Design From the unboxing, the phone looks beautiful especially with that shiny glass back side that covers almost the third of its size. Maybe the glass back side can improve the signal but I must admit the design is not as sexy like the iPhone 7 Matte Black for example. The phone feels pretty great in your hand and I love the button placements on the phone including the retina scanner on the back. You can clearly see that the Pixel wasn’t meant to be pretty (boring!) but to make you super efficient and productive. This phone does exactly that! From the inside, you are running on the battery of 3450 MAH battery where it’s just incredible. One of the those days where you forgot your charger from a day to the office, I was able to last one full day with only 19% battery percentage on Battery Saver mode which is just so amazing where there was a time I used to be constantly charging my iPhone. The Pixel is running on Android 7.1 Nougat, it gives a pretty smooth experience where I was able to confuse iOS users at times, it is quite simple and supremely intuitive to navigate. How about the camera, let’s talk about that! The Pixel wasn’t meant to be pretty but to make you super efficient and productive. This phone does exactly that! Camera On the first day, my impression of the camera was that I didn’t quite liked at all. The Pixel needed a little bit more customization in the settings. You gotta play with the phone and understand its different photographic approach by making some tests. Once the setup is ready, the camera is such a beast in many situations including: low-light, daylight and even during the night. Let me elaborate on that, what’s making the Pixel camera shine from its rivals is not about the lens but about its image processing software. Like a DSLR, the camera will make you think more about your shots, I am speaking as if you were looking to improve your mobile photography. You can always leave the camera to HDR+Auto or HDR+ and be fine. I personally like to switch it up depending on any situations where it’s not just about snapping a picture but getting the best from your environment with the Pixel. It took me a little more time as an iPhone user to get uses to the Pixel camera. But with time, you’ll create a better habit for your mobile photography and it’s a great feeling! The Pixel literally made me ditch my DSLR not only for everyday photography but for situations where you’ll need a DSLR. What a time to be alive and to have tools that can actually make your life better in many levels of fun and professionalism. What a time to be alive and to have tools that can actually make your life better in many levels of fun and professionalism. Some Shots Best Feature By switching to the dark side (I don’t know why we used this term), I must admit the Pixel made me love my phone again, not by its look but how it can actually improve my life. I didn’t mention it before but the built-in Google Assistant (Google version of Siri) is really good and helpful. When I had Siri, I had many situations where Siri would never understand what I am saying, maybe it’s because of my french accent. I didn’t had this problem with the Pixel where you feel like you’re actually having a conversation with Google Assistant instead of giving orders. But one of its best feature would be the unlimited storage. Every photo or video you take are stored in Google Photos that you can easily access and even share a link from a photo in particular. It’s a really well-thought-out feature that can influence your decision of getting a Pixel. What can be improved? It’s not the perfect phone! Some will say that the phone should be Water Resistant but I don’t agree with that. Since it even became a standard? I would say that the speakers on the Pixel might need an improvement. Overall, they are not that great. For starters, the sound is not that loud and you can easily cover your finger because of its placement. The other thing I would mention is more related to Android 7.1 Nougat where I am not a big fan of its native SMS app. Maybe it’s my UI design side but I have a hard time getting around using this app because it’s too flat and makes my SMS messages almost invisible where on the other hand with Apple, iMessages are way more attractive for daily use. More Photos Final Words Aside from its minor problems, the Pixel is a phone coming to a high standard to the market. I completely made the switch! Sometimes I would still use my iPhone 6 and yet it will make me love my Pixel even more. Love how Google is definitely changing the game by putting the focus on efficiency instead of making things pretty and sexy. Apple, I guess it’s time to step it up! Pros Camera Unlimited Photo and Video Storage Fast Battery Life UX of Android 7.1 Nougat Cons Speakers Native SMS app
To start 2017 I’m pleased to share a pretty stellar product review. I teased a bit about it when I posted a photo on Instagram a few weeks back so here’s the full monitor review of the LG UltraWide 38 38UC99. I have been using my laptop with external monitors for at least the past 10 years. I feel that it allows me to be more productive and keep things more organized. I’ve dabbled with using my laptop with 2 extra monitors as well and I really appreciate the extra space but I never thought about getting an UltraWide monitor until I got the chance to play with with the new LG UltraWide 38UC99 Curved 21:9 aspect ratio. The only thing I can say for sure is I was wasting my time with other setups. Before testing the LG UltraWide for this monitor review I was using the Dell 24 4K monitor, which is also great because of the resolution, but after less than an hour with the LG I was really fine trading off the resolution for more space. Monitor review Design When I saw the box I was a bit worried about the size, it looked IMMENSE. After unboxing and placing on my desk it felt much more comfortable than I anticipated. The thin bezel is really nice and in terms of weight it’s lighter than the Apple Cinema Display 27. The curve design feels great, you can see everything without much problem. One of the issues with the curve is that it takes a bit getting accustomed to the distortion on your designs. It bothers me at first but I got used to it pretty quickly. I feel if you need 100% accuracy and precision it might be a problem. As I say for me however it was quite easy to get used to. Configurations The monitor has many options in terms of configuration. You can create up to 4 different screens that work like small screens. I haven’t tested that yet as I feel only one is sufficient for me. You can also use it as a bluetooth speaker, which is quite interesting. I have been using that quite a lot. The main reason is due to the fact that I cannot control the volume if I am playing something from my computer. I think the reason might be because my connection is via HDMI. Speaking of connections, there are quite a lot of ports. There are 2 HDMIs, DVI and USB-C to connect to your computer. With the new MacBook pros it is a breeze to use it, you just need one cable for data, video and charging. It is simply amazing. For the old Macbook you will have to use the HDMI cable provided and if you want data you will need to connect via USB. I also connected my Playstation 4 using one of the HDMI ports. The default configuration renders the video in ultra-wide mode, distorting the image. It is easily configurable to render in 1:1 or original view. The image is simply excellent due to the 1ms refresh rate. Another interesting thing about the monitor is that you can have audio connections via Bluetooth. That is great if you want to connect your phone to use it as an external speaker. The audio quality is good though I’m no expert to say, but it is not mind-blowing. I also learned that connecting my computer via Bluetooth let me control the audio via the computer. For some reason I cannot do that via the regular USB-C connection, which is a shame. There are more options I haven’t explored for this monitor review, maybe with more time I will learn new things and I will make sure to share with you here on ABDZ. Performance and colors The color profile is quite amazing out of the box. I didn’t do any configuration and things looked like they were an extension of my laptop. I believe it renders 100% sRGB. sRGB is the standard color space of ideal color reproduction. So, with over 99% coverage of the sRGB spectrum, this LG monitor is a great solution for professional photographers, graphic designers or anyone looking for highly accurate color.The resolution also is insane, it’s not retina like but the 110dpi is similar to what you would get with the Apple Cinema Display 27. The density of pixels is an interesting topic and despite the fact that super crisp text is quite pleasant, I felt that my old computer could not handle pushing that many pixels with a 4K monitor. Maybe the new laptops will definitely do it seamlessly, but as for today, I’d say that 1x resolution for an external monitor isn’t too shabby. The space you get of course is hard to describe in words. Conclusion I have been using the LG Ultra-Wide 38 for the past month now for this monitor review and I have to say, I went from a skeptical to a believer when it comes to ultra-wide monitors, especially at that size. I first assumed it would be an albatross on my desk as I try to reduce and become more minimal. It turns out the size is not a big issue. In addition to that, the fact I can now have only one cable to connect my computer and the amount of real estate gained is definitely a great surprise. I feel I’ve become much more productive. To summarize my experience, when I thought the time to go retina resolution for external monitors had finally arrived, I found myself rediscovering the pleasures of more space rather than just more pixel density. Pros: Amazing space available, you can get really productive Design is simple and almost invisible. Light for that size. Lighter than the Apple Cinema Display USB-C video, data and power connection. Minimalist dream come true Cons: Not high-definition. I know it would be too much, but it would be amazing to have super crisp texts Volume control from the laptop doesn't work Monitor menu control is hard to access if you use the laptop in front of the monitor. Expensive More information: LG website Buy it on Amazon Photos
When it comes to Mobile Photography, there’s a brand that shines more than the others and it’s Moment. They have changed the game with their revolutionary thinking at making tools for us to capture, create and make moments on our phones and turned them into a better camera. From the lenses, mounts, cases, accessories and even with the newly Travel Case, Moment never cease to amaze us all with their latest and the greatest. Speaking of that, we are reviewing the latest addition to their lenses family and it’s the Superfish Lens (170 degrees). Coming with the same high standard of quality build, we are looking at a super wide angle lens that can offer you a perspective that you’ll never usually witness. Let’s break it down! My Gear for this review Apple iPhone 6 Superfish Lens Cork Case Mount for iPhone 6 and now available for iPhone 7/7Plus First Impressions The Moment you unbox their gear, it’s always a joy to go through their packaging and how well it’s designed to widely open your creativity with their charming approach. The Superfish Lens is made of a beautiful and high quality material that gives you the firm feeling on owning a lens. It doesn’t have the same curvy finish as the Wide Lens like we previously reviewed but that flat glass on top will give you the widest scene on Mobile Photography. The lens is made to expand the tight interior spaces; especially on action sports, architecture and videos. If you are a débutant to the brand, it’s not a lens I would recommend to start with, I would rather recommend you to start with the Wide Lens or even with the Tele Lens. Again it all comes to what kind of picture you wanna take, so for me it was a fun challenge to wander my city with that creative thinking in mind. ...made of a beautiful and high quality material that gives you the firm feeling on owning a lens With the Case or the Mount? The Superfish Lens comes to an affordable price of 89.99USD and the choice of whatever we should get the case OR the mount. Having the luxury of trying both, I would say that I would prefer the mount and let me elaborate. First off with the Cork Case which is price at 39.99USD, you are in for the full Moment experience. Everything feels like you are actually having a camera instead of a phone and Moment does a great job and giving you the right tools to do it all. With the combination as I quote: of the DSLR-like Shutter button with half press and the Moment app, it feels great to take pictures and you always have that urge to take even more pictures. The only reason why I prefer the mount instead of the case is how I use my phone every day with family, workouts and etc. I don’t wanna damage my case and that’s pretty much the reason why. ...it feels great to take pictures and you always have that urge to take even more pictures Product Shots Pros I would say that I am always preaching the quality of Moment products, it’s well build and if you are serious with your Mobile Photography, they are the brand to go to. You can easily carry the lens with your everyday belongings other than when you think of having a DSLR camera with multiples lenses for example. Made On-the-Go for any situations or moments that needs to be captured. Cons For me there isn’t any cons in my opinion, some will mention the price. We are talking of a high quality product that is build to last, of course it will come to a price. If you are willing to invest less than 200USD for your Mobile Photography, Moment will give you the best of it all. No Lens (Left) Vs w/ Superfish Lens (Right) Final Words Moment is not made for beginners or pros, it’s made for everyone who loves photography. This is what I like about this brand, it’s made for someone who wants to go a bit more further than snapping a picture for the heck of snapping. Moment is made for that person who is willing to wander for that shot and taking the time to edit as well. With a little investment, you’ll get an extension to make and create greatness right into your pocket. Thank you Moment! More Information: https://momentlens.co.
We would like to start this review to thank the kind folks from Otterbox for letting us try and play with their latest and the greatest line of products uniVERSE Case System for the iPhone. Available (for now) from your iPhone 7/7Plus and 6S/6SPlus, you’ll be welcomed with an iPhone case that is the true reflection of the core and durability of Otterbox and along with all those swappable modules (accessories) that will just enhanced your experience with the case. I just came back from a trip from Iceland and I took all this gear with me in the wilderness where I got to really experience and make a proper review instead of my own boring city backyard. Let’s start! My Modules uniVERSE Case PolarPro PowerPack Trippler Tripod Olloclip 4-in-1 Lens SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive First Impressions I would say that on a day-to-day basis, the module that was most useful to me was the PolarPro PowerPack. It saved the battery life of my iPhone so many many times and as we all know that iPhones with a few years in the belly, their batteries tend to die really fast during the course of your day. Knowingly I liked the fact that you are able to rely on this module at all times. You can easily detach the Accent Plate (that’s how they all connect, through your Lightning Connector) and swipe in your desired swappable module and take it out when you’re done. It’s that simple and like the modular concept of the uniVERSE Case System. It’s made to be useful when you need so you don’t have to carry a larger iPhone around all the time. Everything is well built and it doesn’t feel cheap at all. Otterbox is known of making durable cases so it’s not surprise that they would partner with brands that would reflect its mentality. Otterbox is known of making durable cases so it’s not surprise that they would partner with brands that would reflect its mentality. Which one should you pick? I would say that it depends of your needs, basically. If you were in a course of a trip like when I went to Iceland, I would say that all the modules were very useful. I was able to use the Trippler Tripod as a tripod and a very solid stabilizer for my DSLR (micro four thirds camera with a lens) to film some timelapses and footage. That tripod can also be turned into a selfie stick as well, easy-to-use and doesn’t take that much space in your travel gear. With that tripod, it comes with mounts where you can attach your case, a GoPro and your DSLR. As for the Olloclip 4-in-1 Lens, it was a great addition for the bunch. You can easily attach it to the case and live it up with the lenses that Olloclip are greatly famous for. Another issue with the iPhone is its storage capabilities, this is where the SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive comes in handy. You can move all your pictures and videos to the drive so it’s transferable to your PC or Mac. The case is proven to push your phone to another level to simply ease up and enhance your daily life so you can tackle it even more. Proven to push your phone to another level to simply ease up and enhance your daily life so you can tackle it even more. Pros I would say that I loved the most about the uniVERSE Case System is how everything is carefully considered and well built. Nowadays, our phones are becoming a part of ourselves where we give a trust to our gear to last through our daily routine. It’s creating an importance on how useful it can be and how durable it will last. With Otterbox, you’ll get exactly that. Cons There’s isn’t much to say about that. The only thing I can point out is I felt that the Olloclip 4-in-1 Lens felt a little bit loose when you have it installed on the case. That’s pretty much it. Final Words The uniVERSE Case System from Otterbox is a solid product line with many features that can easily make your life more productive, efficient and at the same time giving the right protection needed for your phone. From utility, photography, media, business, wellness, power modules; there’s something for everyone at a very affordable price.
It's been a little while since our last review but we are back and we had the opportunity to review and play around with the AIAIAI TMA-2 Modular Headphone for some time now. AIAIAI is a company based in Copenhagen that started in 2006, through the years they have worked at making/building high quality products for your everyday use. Being modern and minimalist at the same time, AIAIAI totally contribute at contributing to Denmark's Worldwide Reputation and by keeping its heritage of Scandinavian design. First Impressions After receiving my package, the unboxing was a pure joy. The folks from AIAIAI really took care at designing and producing such a lovely packaging with a minimal and likeable approach that just increase your loving for the brand/product itself. The fact that the TMA-2 is a modular headphone, everything single parts comes into small plastic packages that reminds you of Space somehow, which is pretty creative from their end. The first setup is a bit tricky but with the help of the instructions, I felt it was pretty simple and intuitive. Once everything is ready and all the parts comes in together beautifully, the material of the headband didn't felt cheap at all. They used a new polyamide material that enhances durability and flexibility and the headband sits comfortably on your head and it wasn't tight at all even when wearing them for a long period of time. Fun Fact: The packaging design was the runner up from the Packaging Award Core77 Design Awards 2016 The Sound Well, this is what this is just all about, is the sound even good? The reflection of the quality of TMA-2 totally reflects on its purity of the sound. This is the best headphone I've ever had, totally honest. I tried many different kind of music from soundtracks to heavy metal and the TMA-2 just keep giving me the best of its sound to the point where you can feel the vibration on your eyes. The music was pretty loud by the way, I was just testing its full capacities. The sound is that great so you don't really have to go loud to fully experience it, to be honest I always have my volume control to less than a half of the full bar. Asides from the headphone itself, you can totally get your hands on the TMA-2 for the sound alone. This is the best headphone I've ever had Pros From the packaging, "undestructible" headband and incredible sound experience, I would say one of the things that I truly love about the TMA-2 is the almost non-presence of the brand on the product. AIAIAI doesn't spam you by having their logos everywhere, they wanted to keep a minimalist approach and also by giving the sound quality you deserve. That's what is all about and the fact you can customize the way you want your headphone to be like is also another great factor from AIAIAI. You can start configuring TMA-2 from the headband, speaker units, earpads and cable. The price tag is also a plus with AIAIAI, for little more/less than 200$ (USD) depending on your configuration, you can buy which is a very affordable price compare to what's on the market. Cons There isn't much to say from that end but I did encounter a little detail with my earpads which was the model E05 that was made of soft microfiber. I thought it was a bit catching the dust easily for my taste but I probably get the E06 (made of light weight PU leather) model to resolve the situation. That's about it. Final Words You can't really go wrong with the TMA-2, it's a superior improvement from the previous model. And if you're like me, somebody that use his headphone at work/office through your daily playlists to simply enjoy your day at its best. The TMA-2 will compliments your routine greatly. Now wherever I go, I always have my TMA-2 handy in my backpack because it will become and be part of your everyday use. More information: https://aiaiai.dk.
Either you're on an adventure, trip, exploring your city or just taking pictures of your food. Mobile Photography is really part of our daily routine. Big thanks to the creators to make us tools to genuinely push us to simply "Make More". We are happily reviewing (It's been a long time) the iPhone Case and Lens made my Moment, a great bunch of builders/makers that believe that the future of photography is right in your pockets. My Gear For the Review, I am using the Moment Case (Black) with the 18mm Wide Lens. I've attached some shots with the 60mm Tele Lens as well by our good friend Stephen Di Donato. App If you don't have the case nor the lens, you can always get your hands on the free app. The App feels great, easy to use and I really do enjoy the minimal approach of the UI so you can focus on what you are photographing. But my only thing is that it takes some time to reload between shots if you compare to your standard Camera app. I wish the mechanism was a bit touch faster. Other than that, Moment really has done their homework with the app. I love the fact that you can easily control the exposure, manual focus and simply connect your Moment lens and case. Case Coming in three different colours and I had the chance to play with the "all-black" and "walnut" case and they both feel amazing at the grip. I personally loved the "all-black" case more and I would say that its best feature is the "rubbered grip" on the back of the case. Most cases would easily get slippery while you're holding it but not with Moment. It fits right in your hand and takes comfort at giving you the best feel for your shots. The Shutter button does exactly what is supposed to be doing and it worked pretty well on landscape/portrait shots. The magic really comes to life when you attach the lens to the case. With the lens, everything feels balanced. I must admit that with everything together you have that sudden urge to explore and wanting to take beautiful pictures at all times. Lens They are divided into three categories • Wide Lens • Tele Lens • Micro Lens If you ever wanna invest for Mobile Photography gear and you are interesting on the Moment products. I would say to get yourself a lens, I ordered the Wide Lens because I thought it would be a better fit for my common needs and what I was looking for. It's not about what's best on the market but more about what do you wanna do with your Lens. I was quite impressed with the quality of the lens, the "metal" material doesn't feel cheap and the glass looks great. One thing, the glass collects the dust like nothing, make sure that your lens is clean before taking any shots. Now I always have the Wide Lens in my pockets at all times. Protips I didn't try the mount that comes with the lens since I had the case but my good pal Andrew Griswold (Co-Founder of @igersindy) said: I'm not a fan of cases so the back mount system they have is solid and secure. Super thin profile still and mounts perfectly. Comparison Wide Lens (18mm) Tele Lens (60mm) by Stephen Di Donato Tele Lens (60mm) by Stephen Di Donato Video Last Words Moment Case + Lens is a great combination of products to get if you're passionate about mobile photography. For the pricing, they are expensive but it's really worth the investment. I found myself wanting to take better pictures and Moment will give you the best tools. For a limited time, Moment has shared a discount code with abduzeedo10 for 10% off on your next purchase. For more information: http://momentlens.co
As a designer, I did tried many themes in my career. And the downsize of many of them aren't giving you the freedom to "freely" design your own theme. I do know how to code but most of us designers don't. Well with Semplice, they are giving you something more than just an ordinary theme. Semplice is the first fully responsive case study portfolio system based on WordPress. Built by designers, for designers. What is Semplice, the MANIFESTO We help creative professionals to show their work in the best way possible. Our first product is Semplice, based on WordPress it gives you a powerful & flexible tool to create a portfolio that will stand out & doesn’t look like a standard template. You deserve something better than a standard template. We believe in the power of the WordPress community and we believe in open source. That’s why Semplice is completely self-hosted and you fully own the code & files. We know you need the freedom. Semplice is not a template but a powerful system. Semplice stands for pushing the boundaries, going the extramile and building with pride. Our main goal is to give you everything you need to achieve this. All Rights to Semplicelabs.com All Rights to Semplicelabs.com Semplice is more than just a tool. It’s a promise to make something better, to go the extra mile & tell the story of your work the way it should be. Semplice is building with pride. All Rights to Semplicelabs.com All Rights to Semplicelabs.com All Rights to Semplicelabs.com All Rights to Semplicelabs.com Semplice in action. (VIDEO) Our goal is to give you a tool that you can fully hack and customize, even if you don’t know how to code. Today we like to show you some of our favorite portfolios of designers who took Semplice even further, by adding a little bit of custom CSS or small tricks to make it stand out. Links More info about Semplice: http://www.semplicelabs.com Check out their showcase: http://www.semplicelabs.com/showcase Learn more about Tobias van Schneider: http://www.vanschneider.com
I had the chance to try the new Apple Watch for about a week now and I would like to share my experience with you on Abduzeedo. In this review, I'll share with you my UX experience, and also some of its features. Model I was using: 38mm Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black Band Sport More Info: http://store.apple.com/us/buy-watch/apple-watch-sport?product=MJ2X2LL/A… Context: To put you in a situation, I am a full-time Dad and also working as a Design Lead. On the whole range of available notifications, I wanted to only receive my texts, Facebook messages, emails and phone calls. User Experience: It's always exciting to try a new "technology" which you know the developers have spent months and months to build and test. At first glance, the interface is very familiar to Apple products, it's really easy to navigate through all the apps. What I liked is the fact that you can "customize" your Apple Watch preferences and create a new interface that reflects your tastes through an app on your iPhone (iPhone 6Plus). I'm sure it was a great challenge to Apple to create an effective interface and especially on a smaller surface. Everything is simple and direct, I think the Apple Watch has a lot of UX movement involved for my use but we adapt pretty quickly. Via Pttrns.com Via Pttrns.com Via Pttrns.com After a week, I noticed that Apple Watch was useful for: • Answering the phone on the road • Answering my texts with the help of Siri, which works well in English and French • Keep a close attention on my "Activity" • Taking pictures with the "timer" I will say that the Apple Watch is great for our small and quick needs during the course of our day but anything that went beyond that, I found myself going back to my iPhone in hand to respond to emails and to do stuff that will be impossible on the Apple Watch. We are still in the first generation of this technology and knowing Apple, we will witness several improvements in the near future. Links More info about the Apple Watch: http://www.apple.com/
Designing a website exactly as you or your client envision can be difficult to do if you don't know code. You can work with a developer, but that cuts into your profits and adds extra time to your project, which in turn costs your clients more. For these reasons and more, many professional web designers are turning to website builders, a lot cheaper and faster solution than learning to code. However, there are loads of website builders and not all are created equal. Some site builders are completely free even after the site is live, but these often come with limitations in design options and no e-commerce option. Others advertise that their website builder is specifically for designers, but they come with additional requirements or a limit in regards to the price. Webydo is a website builder that has recently come to my attention and covers all of the aforementioned cons. The founders started Webydo because they wanted to help create a more efficient web design process by allowing designers to communicate directly with a client, rather than through a developer. So they created a website builder that provides designers with creative freedom and turns their projects into an HTML website and CMS seamlessly. It even comes complete with ecommerce options, unlimited access to all of the design features in the free plan, and a platform to create a responsive website with cross-browser capabilities. Every designer is different, so Webydo may not be your cup of tea. But take a look at the premium, professional features and some of the stunning websites that designers are creating with Webydo. Even if you decide not to use Webydo, it is undeniable that the creators of this website builder certainly did an amazing job! Free Preview Stella and Lori home page designed on and powered by Webydo All of the features are great, but probably what surprised me the most about Webydo is that they allow designers to create a website in-browser for free. You can even take the site live temporarily to allow clients to preview it before deciding to publish through Webydo's cloud hosting. A real live website in your own domain name does come with a price, but thankfully a very reasonable price (see the plans below). And once you do purchase a subscription, the cloud hosting includes automatic backup, fast and secure servers, and worldwide CDN through Akamai so that clients access your site through whichever server they are closest to. What all of this boils down to is assurance of a fast website no matter where in the world viewers access the website. Free - 15 pages, Webydo's sub-domain, unlimited bandwidth, 1 GB storage, can create as many temporary sites as needed Premium - $7.90/month (billed annually) subscription or $9.90/month (billed biannually) - unlimited pages, own domain, unlimited bandwidth, 2 GB storage Large web agency premium plan for over 100 websites Easy Design Features Here's the fun part - designers have amazing tools to use while creating their web design and all in-browser. Just as with most website builders, Webydo works on a drag and drop system but extra design features include fill, shadow, stroke, smart guides with snapping, text captions for images, grid generator, layers window, and set corner radiuses. One of the best time-saving perks is the automatic optimization of any media you upload, no need to worry about good site performance. Another time saver is the access to free open-source web fonts, so you don't have to spend an hour looking for the right free font and then downloading it to your hard drive. Stella and Lori interactive About page designed on and powered by Webydo Keep in mind that Webydo is definitely for those with design experience, and especially web design experience. You have the choice to start either with a blank screen or a readymade design. Webydo points out that you can change every single pixel of the design, but what about when you just want a quick switch? As of now, changing templates is not possible, but head over to the suggestion for adding the ability to switch templates and add your vote (more on this below). Ecommerce, Responsive, and More Webydo uses the Ecwid E-commerce widget so that you can offer an ecommerce solution to customers. It comes with various payment options, excellent control over stock, product descriptions for media-rich categories - all the basics for a website selling products. For the first few years, Webydo was cross-platform but not responsive. Thankfully due to enough votes, the builder now creates responsive websites so that your website looks great even on mobile and tablets. Honestly, the fact that a designer can create a responsive website makes Webydo much more competitive in the website builder industry. Yoav Gurin Business gallery designed on and powered by Webydo An interesting feature unique to Webydo is the ability to reinforce your brand as a web designer. You can replace the Webydo logo with your own in the client's login screen, your dashboard, client's CMS, and even your online design studio. The CMS functionality of your Webydo website is quite robust. You can choose which design elements you want to lock and which you want to leave open to your client to edit. The design is a WYSIWYG and similar to Word, making it easy for your client to learn. It also comes with SEO features, site analytics, and the ability to manage multiple clients from single dashboard. Suggest and Vote on New Features I like this aspect so much, that I gave it an entire separate section. Webydo has a page on its website called Participate, which is basically a forum. Just like other site builder forums, you can either suggest a new feature or you can report bugs. However, the awesome extra on this forum is that you can vote on suggested new features and the guys over at Webydo will not only listen and respond but also add these new features. Sometimes Webydo will immediately agree that a suggested feature needs added, but other times they wait to see how many votes a suggestion will receive. With enough votes, they will push the suggestion to the top of their to-do list. The other nice function is that Webydo shows the status of a suggestion on the forum, such as "Gathering Feedback", "Started", or "Completed". This is a brilliant move on their part, as it gives users a powerful voice in the improvement of the features. After reading this review, if you feel like Webydo is the website builder for you, then head over to the site and immediately start designing. Or even you want to try it for free, remember that you can create a design in-browser and preview it, with no pressure to sign up. With this in mind, the free-no-strings-attached aspect of Webydo is enough to garner even just a quick look, especially since no other robust website builder offers such a refreshing pressure-free offer! Tara Hornor Tara Hornor has a degree in English and has found her niche writing about marketing, advertising, branding, web and graphic design, and desktop publishing. She is a Senior Editor for Creative Content Experts, a company that specializes in guest blogging and building backlinks. In addition to her writing career, Tara also enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. Connect with @TaraHornor on Twitter.
Today I decided to make a change and make a review instead of a feature post. This amazing opportunity came to me from car designer Arvind Ramkrishna from Driven Mavens, he gladly sent me one copy of his DVD now in sale "How to Draw Cars Now". I really had a fun time going through his DVD and this is my review. What started as a Kickstarter Project hugely became into a successful story about Arvind getting his knowledge out for aspiring designers and drawing hobbyists to automotive design and illustration using markers, pencils, gouache paints and of course Photoshop. A great mix of modern and old school styling into your work. To find out more about Arvind Ramkrishna and Driven Maven, you can check out his website / blog at DrivenMavens.com, also check out their website HowToDrawCarsNow.com or just like them on Facebook. Review With more than 4 hours of video content with 4 ebooks, Arvind really takes you on a ride of instructional content and you clearly see the focus is on How to Draw Cars and with a complete workshop on the matter. With loads of training exercises and reference, what strikes me more is that Arvind kept the old good ways of drawing with pencils and markers. Since with all the technology around us, I am in agreement that the best way to learn. One thing I really enjoyed was how easy Arvind took us along the way in the videos. He has a way of explaining things with such a educational and inspiring to work more on your drawings. Of course, it will take a lot of practice but I truly think you can produce some amazing sketches and renderings in the automotive design. Some samples from Arvind Ramkrishna's work Arvind Ramkrishna from Driven Mavens Arvind Ramkrishna from Driven Mavens Arvind Ramkrishna from Driven Mavens Arvind Ramkrishna from Driven Mavens Arvind Ramkrishna from Driven Mavens Arvind Ramkrishna from Driven Mavens Discount Code Arvind is giving us away a Discount Code "Abduzeedo" of 15% of any purchases on his store. Check out this store at: store.drivenmaven.com.
Today I wanna share a review about an app I tried a couple days ago and I truly enjoyed it. It's the Gradient App from Jumpzero, the app is the opportunity to create gradients for web browsers. It's a really good app for the web designers and also for designers that wants a useful colour app at hand. All rights reserved to GradientApp.com The Look As I first noticed, the look is really simple, one window with straight-forward options. We can clearly see that the purpose is to create the gradients. All rights reserved to GradientApp.com The Options The Gradient App is coming with three different main functions to make gradients. You have selecting the colours which is pretty common. You have also by setting the gradient appears or by creating it in CSS. The use of the Custom Color Picker is very recommended also. All rights reserved to GradientApp.com More Options You can also select the type of gradients, either is direction and centre position. Choosing “linear” type, you will choose one of four directions; down, right, diagonally down and diagonally up. If you select a radial gradient then you have a few more choices as to where you want the gradient to centre. I think it's a good option to make some variations. All rights reserved to GradientApp.com Get the Code The CSS button will give you a Live Preview of the code you chose. If you're happy happy with it, you can just copy to clipboard and paste it into your design, or go back and make some modifications. All rights reserved to GradientApp.com Final Words I truly enjoyed the simplicity and efficiency of the Gradient App. For the price of 4.99 (US - Canada), you get a simple useful app packed with great features. Get it now on iTunes. For more information about the Gradient App and Jumpzero, you can check out the gradient website at GradientApp.com or simply follow them on Twitter @jumpzero .
As a graphic designer I have to admit that I am not good at drawing. At first it was something that always bothered me, but I never thought that to be a good graphic designer I had to master the craft of drawing too. So during these years I was reluctant to get a tablet. Now I finally got one and I must say, I should have done so years ago. The tablet I'm talking about is the Wacom Intuos 4 Wireless and it is awesome. In terms of design it’s a beautiful piece of equipment. It's also wireless which means your desk will remain clean and clutter-free. If you’re like me and get extremely irritated with cables...you will be pleased. Unboxing... always an awesome experience The new Intuos4 Wireless pen tablet with Bluetooth® wireless technology lets you relax in your favorite working position or move about freely up to 33 feet (10 meters) from your computer. Enjoy the freedom of working "unattached" from your Mac or PC and reducing cord clutter. The new Wacom Wireless comes in one size only, which I believe is the standard medium of the wired versions. I'd say it’s a good size, although my track record with tablets is low. After 10 years of using mouses and trackpads, the idea of the Wacom as being my screen area still confuses me so that will definitely take a little getting used to. The Intuos 4 Wireless size compared with a Macbook Pro 17 Using the Wacom Wireless Like I said, I'm still getting used to it and I'm also traveling at the moment, so even though I have played with it quite a few times, I haven’t exactly had the time I want to dive into this device and start getting all the magic from it. There is a video, however, from the Wacom site that gives you an idea of just how powerful this baby really is. It has eight customizable ExpressKeys with illuminated displays and a finger-sensitive touch ring that controls up to four different functions per application. The grip pen introduces Wacom's newest tip sensor technology that delivers precise pressure control with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity and 60 degrees of tilt recognition. If you have a tablet I'd like to invite you to share your opinion with us. I know there’s a lot of people that think like I used to in terms of the advantages of having a good tablet. I think it's a very important tool for a designer giving ample freedom to add our own style and trace to our artworks. As I mentioned, I haven't had the necessary time to come up with some examples however I'm working on some really cool illustrations for a client, which I cannot show them right now, but I have to say, the Intuos4 Wireless is making my life much easier and that's why I want to just give you a sneak peek of the type of work Illustration created using the Intuos4 Wireless For more infornation I highly recommend that you check out Wacom Intuos4 Wireless website. Unboxing and photos of the Intuos4 Wireless
New Masters of Photoshop is an amazing book that I'll be reviewing on this post and sharing the best parts of it. If you like photoshop and learning from tutorials this is a must have, check it out. The Book New Master of Photoshop is a book that was released back in 2003 right when I was highly exploring and creating all sorts of graphics with Photoshop with the intention to learn as much as possible. So when I found out about this book I couldn't resist but to get it. The book had the intention of "showcase of Masters who use Photoshop, and Masters of Photoshop use. The photographers, animators, artists, and designers assembled here have a myriad of different skills: some manipulate, some animate, some create from scratch. All of them produce remarkable, beautiful things. In these pages, the authors will demonstrate examples of their print work, web work, public work, and private work, explaining the techniques they use to achieve their results. More than that, though, they'll tell you how they think: who their influences are, where their ideas come from, and how they find inspiration when the well has run dry." and this is exactly what they did, the book is a selection of 19 masters (photographers, animators, artists, and designers) and each person took a chapter to talk about their experiences on the past, how they started working with photoshop, along with their work being displayed and by the end of each chapter each person finished off with a nice tutorial with some great techniques. What I learn from this book wasn't only a bunch of different techniques in photoshop but I actually got to know how all these 19 masters started they journeys and with a lot of work and a lot of practice they got to the where they are. That's truly inspired me to learn more and more and the tutorials are great which makes this book a complete piece and very well recommended to anyone willing to learn. The Masters Tim Bird, Michael Cina, Gavin Cromhout, Josh Fallon, Jens Magnus Karlsson, Derek Lea, Adrian Luna, Catherine McIntyre, Wojtek Madej, Jason Mohr, Eun-Ha Paek, Andrew Park, Paul Sinclair, Colin Smith, Yoshi Sodeoka, Peter Stanick, Johann Terrettaz, Norma V. Toraya, Mike Young Preview
One of the greatest challenges for a young designer is how to start making money. In my case I've always thought I would have to work on those super cool design studio to do that. Now, after a decade, I found out that there are several ways to do that online without even leaving the comfort of your home. GraphicRiver.net is another great option, not only to make money but also to find really useful graphics. GraphicRiver.net is a marketplace focused on design related content. Designers can buy and sell simple but very useful things such as textures, icons, graphics and vectors for very affordable prices. The whole content of the site is provided by digital artists, designers, illustrators and enthusiasts. Pretty much anybody can submit their work and start selling it. As an Author on the Envato Marketplaces you are eligible to receive between 40% and 70% of every sale should you choose to follow our Exclusive Authoring plan. Being an exclusive author means that any items you sell on an Envato Marketplace are unique to our libraries. We highly recomend that you visit GraphicRiver.net and we have a great giveaway thanks to the Envato Marketplaces team. We're giving away $20 in credits to the first 100 readers that post a comment with a valid FlashDen / GraphicRiver username. Check out the Terms & Conditions for the Giveaway. Terms & Conditions for Giveaway Entrants must comment a valid FlashDen / GraphicRiver username. Entrants may only enter once, usernames will be cross referenced with IP addresses, emails and other parameters to ensure fairness. Credits are not exchangeable for cash and will be made within 10 days of the posting regardless of whether the quota of 100 valid entries has been met. Entrants who receive the credit will receive an email informing them of the credit to their account. No other notice of "winners" will be made. The first 100 valid individual usernames will receive a credit of US$20 to their accounts to spend on GraphicRiver. Examples of Graphics, Textures and icons you will find at GraphicRiver.net
Last week Adobe started shipping the new version of their CS suite of applications. The Adobe CS4 family comes with a redesigned interface and a ton of new features. To get up to speed with all of the new features Lynda.com has created the CS4 University. I had a chance to access the CS4 University, and found that you'll have everything you need to upgrade your skills for the new Adobe Apps. There are videos lessons such as: New Features, Getting Started, and Essential Training for Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks, After Effects, InDesign, Flash, Soundbooth, Premiere, Contribute, and Encore. “We are excited to offer in-box training from lynda.com and have worked closely on the development of their CS4U video training to help our designers and developers discover new possibilities and unleash their creative potential”. Thomas DeMeo, Director of Product Management Adobe Creative Suite ABOUT CS4 University: CS4 University is comprised of very diverse, specialized course titles that cover virtually every aspect of the Adobe Creative Suite 4 product family. Some of these courses are very advanced, while others include special applications for people working more at the consumer level. All of these courses are designed to help lynda.com’s Online Training Library® subscribers get the most out of the new Adobe software. Included within these courses are three new series: The “New Features” series focuses on what has changed since Adobe Creative Suite 3 software was released. The “Getting Started” series is designed to get Creative Suite 4 users up and running quickly. The “Essential Training” series supplies the ground-up fundamentals needed to master each application in Creative Suite 4 Lynda Weinman, co-founder of lynda.com, said: “As the software landscape continually evolves, a lynda.com Online Training Library subscription remains the most comprehensive and efficient way for designers, instructors, students, and hobbyists to keep their skill sets up to date.” “Packed with hundreds of new, innovative features—the Creative Suite 4 product line advances the creative process across print, Web, mobile, interactive, film and video production,” said Chad Siegel, group product manager for Creative Suites at Adobe. “lynda.com shows our customers just how to incorporate these innovations within their daily creative workflows with their new training offerings for CS4.” After a few days taking the Lynda Courses, I have to say, they are really good. I’m taking the After Effects and Cinema 4D courses, and I’m pretty happy with my evolution on those apps. I highly recommend that you check their courses out. They have both subscription plans and DVDs; but the access to their online library is definitely worth it.