Welcome to our new, continuously-updated First Looks - a collection of previews showing brand new iPod, iPhone and iPad accessories that we’re currently in the process of testing. Here’s what’s hot right now:
In addition to number of other cases, X-Doria has sent along a few folio-style iPhone cases, including the first case we've seen for iPhone 6 Plus. Engage Folio ($30) for iPhone 6 has a hard, clear plastic back and a faux leather front cover. A card slot is included on the back of the cover. Dash Folio One ($30) for iPhone 6 Plus is similar to Engage Folio, with a few more features — the case uses the front cover as a kickstand, and a magnetic clasp keeps the cover from flapping around. The faux leather wraps around the case like a book, with a hard plastic compartment for the larger phone.
We've already received a number of iPhone 6 cases from X-Doria, including the company's Scene Grip ($25), Scene Plus ($30), and Defense 720 ($30). There isn't much difference between these three cases — they're basically rubber bumpers with an attached plastic backing. Scene Plus offers a 3D pattern on the back of its case to justify the $5 price jump from Scene Grip. For that same price, Defense 720 has two pieces — in addition to back and side coverage, it has a full plastic front shield for the iPhone's screen.
BlueLounge has introduced Soba ($25), a new cable management system. The total Soba package contains a 10-foot fabric tube, two end caps, three mounting caps, one Y-split cap, five rubber bands, and one zipper tool. Soba can bundle up to three cables in its tubing, and it comes in black or white. The zipper tool is used to easily open the tube and secure the cables — it's not terribly intuitive at first, but there's a guide available on BlueLounge's website. Once you figure it out, your stray cables should be contained quickly and easily. We would recommend Soba for computer desks with small numbers of cables to manage, but not for setups with tons of cables.
Compatible: All Lightning-Equipped iPads, iPhones, iPod touches
Zoom's iQ5 brought a higher-quality stereo microphone solution to Lightning-equipped iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches -- at least, ones without cases. Now there's iQ6 ($100), which for the same price adds case compatibility and separately swiveling unidirectional condenser microphones to a package that's similar to iQ5 in size. Mostly made from silver plastic, iQ6 has two metal microphones on its front, each capable of being turned to transform a narrow 90-degree recording field into a wider 120-degree orientation. iQ6 remains compatible with Zoom's Handy Recorder app, and includes a headphone pass-through port on its side, but drops the prior version's side micro-USB charging port. A 10-step mic gain control knob with level indicator are on the top, and the Lightning connector is ringed with a detachable piece of plastic that lets the plug work with some cases.
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