AMITIAE - Wednesday 23 December 2015

A Good Case for Xmas and New Year Presents (Bangkok Post, Life)

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers


Greetings to all readers who celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or any other festival, including New year. When hunting for gifts, I try and make things easy by selecting a few possibilities, thinking about it at home, then rushing to the stores at the last minute.

I hope Santa will be bringing you Macs, iPads and iPhones this year. The Apple Watch, with its colour choices and its large selection of bands may also be on some lists. One of my students is keeping his fingers crossed that his mother will surprise him with an Apple Watch Sport. Apple makes accessories for the iPhones and iPads and I have been playing around with a selection of cases.

iPad case iPad case

The iPad Pro, now promoted to my most used device, has the Smart Keyboard, along with the Apple Pencil. I also have a Smart Cover for the iPad Pro which acts as a stand like the Smart Keyboard and puts the device to sleep when the cover is closed. These come in charcoal gray or white and cost 2,800 baht (US$59).

A useful addition to the Smart Cover or the Smart Keyboard is a Silicone Case: 4,100 baht ($79) in charcoal gray or white. This protects the rear of the iPad Pro.

iPhone cases and Watch band

I do not often use cases for my iPhones partly because I do not like screen protectors. None of the cases for the iPhones sold by Apple cover the screens and the thinness of the silicone or leather used only has a slight effect on button sensitivity. Pressing does however need to be firmly at the centre of a button, rather than the ends.

I have cases for the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus in both materials. The leather cases are priced at 2,100 baht and 2,200 baht respectively ($45 and $49 in the US). Colors for the leather cases are black, midnight blue, saddle brown, rose gray, brown and (Product) Red. The proceeds from the sale of any (Product) Red merchandise go to support the elimination of HIV/AIDS in Africa.

The silicone cases are 1,500 baht for the iPhone 6s and 1,700 baht for the iPhone 6s Plus ($35 and $39 respectively). The range of colours for the silicone cases is charcoal gray, stone, antique white, blue, turquoise, white, lavender, pink, midnight blue and (Product) Red.

The colours available may allow some mix and match with Apple Watch bands. These cases also work with the older iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models.

iPhone cases and Watch band
A (Product) RED Day

There are several reasons I like the iPhone 6s Plus now that I am used to the size, particularly video stabilisation and battery life. It is not unusual for me to run this iPhone for a couple of days without it needing a charge. Of course, if I have heavy usage on a busy day, which happens sometimes, it needs a charge by late evening.

The iPhone 6s has about the same battery life as the model that it supersedes, so by the end of the day I must connect it to the power adapter. When I was on a long trip last year with students, using the camera, video and accessing maps apps and GPS while we were travelling, the older iPhone 6 died on a couple of occasions due to our isolated location.

While there are 3rd party solutions, Apple now has its own Smart Battery case for the iPhone 6s (and iPhone 6). As soon as one of my students saw this, his reaction was "1877 mAh": Electrical Engineering students think like that. Many others have commented on the shape of the case, calling it a number of uncomplimentary names, including "hump". Tim Cook says it is not a hump. Some have questioned Apple's design philosophy over this and other accessories and come to the usual conclusion that Apple is doomed. Again.

Smart case Smart case

The iPhone slides into the case from the top and a Lightning connector is inserted into the bottom of the iPhone. When the case is charged, the iPhone always shows 100% and the battery life is extended considerably. Fully charged, I used the iPhone for 48 hours. The Smart Case was empty but there was still a charge of 40% remaining on the iPhone.

The devices can be charged together or separately. An indication of the charge available for both devices appears on the screen when connected or disconnected. The iPhone took about 1 hour to charge. The case took just over 2 hours. They can be used as one unit, or the case can be used for standby. When used as one, the silicone has a nice, grippy feel. That addition to the rear (the hump) made a good place for me to rest my index finger when using the phone.

iPhone Smart Case charging iPhone Smart Case charging iPhone Smart Case charging

I also bought myself the new Lightning-to-SD card adapter and reviewed this on my own site at the weekend.

Lightning-to-SD card adapter

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.



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