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:
Compatible: iPhone 5c
Here's a quick look at two very affordable iPhone 5c cases from Amzer: Pudding TPU Case ($8, aka TPU) and SlimGrip Hybrid Case ($4, aka Hybrid). The former is a take on thermoplastic cases, similar in some ways to Incipio's NGP. Instead of a fully matte finish though, it's glossy on the sides and matte on the back. Eight colors are available, each of which skips button protection, something that's generally present on TPU cases. The openings along the bottom edges of our review units were slightly off-center. SlimGrip Hybrid Case is very much like Reveal from Griffin, or any number of similar cases. It fuses together an opaque soft border and a clear plastic back, exposing most of the rear shell of the iPhone. This one does include button protection.
Company: Heckler Design
Model: Headphone Stand
Compatible: Over-the-Ear Headphones
It's a rare category of accessories, but headphone holders do indeed exist. One year ago, Just Mobile debuted HeadStand, and now Heckler Design has an alternative called Headphone Stand ($29-$49). Made entirely from scraps left over from producing its Windfall Stand, Headphone Stand is a piece of metal with round segments sticking up on either side. They're sized to hold the earcups using only tension, at about the width of a head. Five colors are available at the lower price point, with a polished stainless steel version coming in at a premium.
Models: Lightning Sync and Charge Cable
Compatible: All Lightning-Equipped iPads, iPhones, iPods
Lightning cables are all pretty much the same, but once in a while, designs will stand out and may, for some people, justify spending a few more dollars. Candywirez' Lightning Sync and Charge Cable ($26) may just be that for certain users. Coming in five bright colors, the 1.5 meter cable works has chrome-clad housings around the large Lightning and USB plugs. It's not, however, a flat cable, as the company's website says.
Company: Pear Sports
Model: Training Intelligence
Compatible: iPhone 4S/5/5c/5s, iPod touch 5G
While the bundle looks an awful lot like a rebranded Wahoo sensor with a pair of sports earphones, Pear Sports' new Training Intelligence ($100) is designed as a turnkey workout solution for iOS users. In addition to a chest-mounted Bluetooth 4 heart rate monitor and a pair of sports earphones with a microphone, one-button remote, and ear stabilizers, the Training Intelligence set includes a Pear Training app that provides real-time coaching for weight loss, strength, running, biking, and other activities, using the heart rate information to guide users through the hundreds of integrated workouts it includes. Three sets of ear stabilizers and a carrying case for all of the parts are included in the bundle.
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