Review

Kobo Clara HD Review

I've fallen in love with the Kobo Clara HD. When I was deciding on what e-reader to get I was torn between the Clara and the Forma, both made by Rakuten Kobo. Each device has stark contrasts from the other. I went with the Clara since I am new to e-readers and didn't want to drop a bunch of money on something I may not be into. I'm so happy with my decision.

Why didn't you get a Kindle?

Amazon's Kindle is front and center as THE e-reader. I decided against a Kindle though. I felt that the Kobo e-readers were superior. Amazon seems to be slow to innovate and improve their Kindle devices. Only just recently did they give the Kindle a backlight. The Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite both lack any type of automatic adjustment to light. And the Kindle Oasis looks like it could potentially snap in half if it shifted the wrong way in your bag.

Kobo on the other hand has a nice range of devices which provides you more options based on your use case. Kobo is really the only real competitor to Amazon. There is the Nook by Barnes & Noble but it's so sad that Barnes & Noble stores don't even seem to push it very hard.

Here's what makes the Kobo a great e-reader...

Design

The physical design is better than Kindles, with more thought put into it. The Clara's back features a sublet texture that adds grip. The screen is recessed and not flush with the bezels. Which doesn't take anything away from the user experience. The screen is also high resolution and just the right size at 6 inches.

Automatic Light Change

One of the biggest factors for me though was the automatic light change feature of the Kobo. Only the Kindle Oasis has this feature. The Clara doesn't have an ambient light sensor like some of the higher end Kobo's but it changes the warmth of the screen based on the time of day. Similar to Apple's night shift.

Book Selection

While Amazon has roughly 1 million more books, I haven't noticed a real difference in selection. In my opinion, those extra 1 million books are probably independent writers self publishing to Amazon. Which might be a pro for some, I however don't plan to read any self published books.

Pocket Integration

It may sound silly but one of the features that sold me was the fact that you can read articles saved to Pocket on the Kobo. I use Pocket on a daily basis and this feature is very convenient.

Case

Amazons cases don't have any ability to stand. Maybe that's not a big deal to some. To me I want something that stands freely. I've become accustomed to it with the iPad. Kobo sadly doesn't have cases for all it's e-readers but the many do. Yes of course you can find 3rd party cases but like cases for iPhones and iPads, they just aren't the same as ones from the device maker.

TL;DR

If you're looking to read more and don't want to pack around physical books, I highly recommend the Clara HD. You won't regret it. You can also see Kobo's book selection for yourself using their mobile apps, and you can even save $5 on your first book by using the link below.

Wireless Charging

Wireless Charging

Wireless charging is a new feature that comes along with iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X. When I ordered my 8 Plus I got a wireless charger, too because why not? There seems to be many benefits to wireless charging rather than wired charging. It's been a few months since I started using it and I thought I would note my experience.

Convenience

A few years ago, Phil Schiller, Apple's VP of marketing made a comment about wireless charging. Phil stated that wireless charging didn’t make sense because it still involves a cord. Of course it involves a cord. However, it's a nice convenience. It may not seem like it, but the ability to just set your phone down and have it charge is really nice. No need to search for the lightning cable which slid off the table sometime between you disconnecting your phone and you coming back home anymore. No need to stand it up on a dock either. No need to sacrifice listening to music while charging.  Just simple wireless charging occurring.

Aesthetics

Some of the wireless chargers available are ugly. There are a few ok looking ones. I look forward to when Native Union debuts one. They seem to be the only company to create Apple accessories with a true standard of creating beautiful products.  What's superior to stand alone charging pads are integrated ones, though. Ikea has a couple of nightstands and lamps featuring built in wireless charging pads. I'm sure more will become available in the future.

Doesn't Replace A Standard Dock

The need for a dock is still necessary at times. Whether you want to have your screen at your desk and upright for easy viewing. Or maybe you want to FaceTime while all working on your computer. These can't be achieved with a dock because the phone has to be flat on its back.

Conclusion

If you are someone who currently uses a dock or a stand, you will want to keep it around for the occasions where you need them. Besides that, I highly recommend a wireless charger. It seems frivolous, but it is actually convenient enough to be worth the purchase.

 
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The Best Wireless Charging Pads

Quadro App Review

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It seems like shortly after the release of the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, an app called Quadro came onto my radar. The app page touted it as being an alternative to buying a new MacBook pro with a touch bar. I decided to see if it was actually worth using. It was extremely helpful, heres how.

Versatile & Intuitive

Presets are the basis of Quadro. It features presets for many popular applications. Many of these popular applications catering to audio and visually creative people. Additionally, you can create a screen of presets for any application installed on your computer and that Quadro is able to communicate with.

It's intuitive because it switches applications when you do. It gets better though, when you open an applications screen in Quadro, that application also launches on your computer. Time saving buttons are always there when you need them.

Colorful

Gradients and bright colors are on trend right now. Quadro  has a wonderful selection of bright colors and aesthetically pleasing gradients to help you differentiate all your pads from each other.

Time Saving

Quadro helps you save time. Instead of dragging your mouse and clicking buttons, you give the necessary function a simple tap and it happens. It doesn't replace a mouse or trackpad; it brings a new level of efficiency to your workflow. 

Similar to Touch Bar?

One shouldn’t really call it similar to the touch bar. (It’s worth noting that I haven't experienced a touch bar MacBook Pro.) A full iPad screen can't really be compared to a small touch screen strip across a laptop keyboard. I imagine that it's much more functional than the Touch bar since pads are fully customizable. Whereas Apple has some restrictions on what can be used for. you haven’t been writing from the first person perspective until now.

Pros

  • Quadro streamlines tasks down to single taps on a screen. Saving you from doing multiple mouse clicks. This is especially prevalent in Adobe programs and other professional applications.
  • The customization of icons and colors helps make each virtual button stand out from the others.
  • With the auto switch feature, you can switch to a different application and have the buttons change too. 
  • It moves with you.

Cons

  • The app isn't very usable unless you purchase the annual pass. It’s not expensive, but definitely make use of your free trial to ensure Quadro would be of true value to you.
  • Connection via Quadros supplement app (available for Mac and Windows) can have a hard time connecting sometimes. Especially with Windows. Though these connection issues are not all that common.

Conclusion

For $14.99 per year, this app is sure to streamline even simple tasks. It works on iPhone and iPad and is not only functional but also beautiful. I recommend any creative person download it.