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Apple

Top 5 MacBook Pro Accessories Under $10

If you own a MacBook or MacBook Pro that has USB-C ports, these are the top 5 accessories you can get for under $10! (due to fluctuation, prices not guaranteed)

  1. Ailun USB-C to USB-A 3.0 adapters
  2. Sabrent USB 3.0 hub
  3. USB SDHC/microSD card reader
  4. USB-C to Lightning cable
  5. AmazonBasics laptop sleeve

Best Mac Apps 2017: Must-Have Apps for MacOS!

What makes a Mac great? The awesome apps you can use on it. Here are the best Mac apps of 2017! (in alphabetical order)

1Password: Easy-to-use and secure password manager for all your passwords.

Alfred: Boost your productivity with hotkeys and keywords. Search your Mac and the web effortlessly and control your Mac using customized actions.

Amphetamine: Keep your Mac awake. Simple.

AppCleaner: Automatically uninstall Mac apps along with all the junk files that usually get left behind.

AstroPad: Turn your iPad into a graphics tablet for Mac.

BackBlaze: Backing up your Mac is extremely important. BackBlaze offers a simple and secure way to back up all your files at a low cost.

Beamer: Stream videos on your Mac to your Apple TV or Chromecast.

BetterTouchTool: Configure many gestures for your Magic Mouse, Macbook Trackpad and Magic Trackpad and also mouse gestures for normal mice.

Boom 2: System-wide volume booster and equalizer for Mac.

CarbonCopyCloner: Create bootable backups of your Mac.

CheatSheet: Provides the list of keyboard shortcuts for whatever app you have open.

Chrome: Google’s free and fast web browser.

CleanMyMac: Clean and optimize your Mac’s storage drive to free up space.

CopyClip: Clipboard manager for your Mac that stores all that you have copied or cut in the past.

Downie: Easily download Internet videos from over 1,100 different sites.

DaisyDisk: Helps you recover disk space by finding and removing large useless files.

Dropbox: Free cloud storage solution up to 2GB (iCloud alternative)

Duet Display: Turn your iPad into a 2nd monitor for your Mac.

Duplicate File Finder: Quickly finds duplicate files on your Mac to reduce clutter and remove unnecessary files.

Evernote: Cloud-synced notebook and notes to store everything you need to remember.

Flux: Makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.

GIMP: Open source photo editor. Photoshop alternative.

Google Drive: Free online data storage and online office suite from Google.

Handbrake: Video converter and DVD ripping app.

Hazel: Automated organization app for your Mac.

Helium: Always keeps a media file playing in the foreground over any other app that’s open.

HitFilm Express: Free and powerful video editor. iMovie or FCPX alternative.

ImageOptim: Free image compressor to reduce file size for photos.

LibreOffice: Open-source office suite for Mac. Microsoft Office alternative.

Onyx: System maintenance tool for your Mac.

Parallels: Easiest way to virtually run Windows inside your Mac.

Plex: Free media server for when you want to watch your movies from anywhere.

ScreenFlow: Best screen recording software and video editing software for Macs.

SmartConverter: Simple video and audio file converting app.

Spectacle: Resize Windows with quick keyboard shortcuts.

Spotify: Popular music streaming and online radio app.

Stamp: Migrate your playlists from various different music streaming services.

SublimeText: Intuitive text editor for programmers and coders.

TeamViewer: Remotely connect and control your Mac or other authorized computers from anywhere.

Time Machine Editor: Allows you to customize Time Machine backup intervals and other settings.

Transmission: Lightweight and easy-to-use torrent client.

Unarchiver: Open any zipped file.

VirtualBox: Run Windows and other operating systems virtually on your Mac.

VLC: Best overall media player that plays nearly any audio/video file.

Don’t Buy the 2016 MacBook Pro Until You Watch This

When Apple first announced the 2016 MacBook Pro I did a video over the top 5 letdowns about the new laptop based on what Apple showed us during the announcement.

Now I’ve owned the 2016 MacBook Pro for almost 3 months, and I’m here to share my experience and give you an update to those letdowns that I was expecting. Is it as bad as I thought it would be? Stick around to find out and at the end of the video I’ll tell you whether you should buy it or not.

Money, Baby

First, let’s address the cost. So many people including me were up in arms about the 2016 MacBook Pro being way overpriced for what you get. I bought the 13″ Touch Bar Space Gray model with a 2.9 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD, which came out to be right around $2,000 USD.

Let’s put that into perspective.

At the time of this recording for $250 less, on Amazon you can get a 2016 Dell XPS 13 with a newer generation 3.5 GHz Intel Core i7 processor, double the amount of RAM, same size SSD, but a higher resolution display that’s also a touch screen.

If you’ve seen my Dell XPS 13 vs MacBook Pro video in which both laptops have 6th gen Skylake processors, you know that not all user experiences are created equally just by basing it off of specs alone. But when you’re talking about an exact dollar-to-specification ratio, the 2016 MacBook Pro is certainly overpriced compared to other laptops in its class.

Oh, Performance

The big question is: How well does the 2016 MacBook Pro perform given its seemingly lower specs?

For me, the toughest task I perform on my laptop is editing 4K videos. Since I use Final Cut Pro X, which is optimized for MacOS, I can export a 5-minute 4K video in about 4 minutes on the 2016 MacBook Pro. That’s actually pretty impressive. The lack of a dedicated GPU is its biggest hurdle when rendering videos but overall, Final Cut Pro X works well enough for me to use the MacBook Pro as a video editing machine, albeit not the greatest one.

Other than video editing, as with any other computer with an SSD, normal day to day tasks are handled with ease. Everything from web browsing to office applications are all fast. There’s no lag or stuttering when opening apps or having multiple tabs open in Chrome. The cold bootup time is about 24 seconds which is longer than I expected, but with one of the MacBook Pro’s best new features, Touch ID, getting back into the laptop from sleep mode is dang near instantaneous which is nice.

On the GeekBench tests, which measures overall performance, my MacBook Pro scored a 7606. LaptopMag.com tested two different models of the Kaby Lake Dell XPS 13, with the Core i5 model scoring 7159 and the Core i7 model scoring 7915. That means the 2016 MacBook Pro 13” i5 model falls right in between the i5 and i7 on the Dell XPS 13, which is pretty good since the MacBook Pro has the previous generation CPU.

Overall, I think the 13″ MacBook Pro is the perfect balance of mobility and performance.

New Features, Bruh

As for the new features, the 2nd gen butterfly keyboard is extremely nice to type on in my opinion. I enjoy it very much, and the super large trackpad is a dream. It’s way better than any other trackpad I’ve used.

Battery life has been kind of average, nothing spectacular. On a normal day for me which includes watching YouTube videos, streaming Spotify, browsing the web, typing documents, it lasts about 7 hours on a full charge. I do love how fast it charges from 0-100% in about 90 mins when the lid is closed, though.

What about the “coolest” new feature, the Touch Bar? I called it a gimmick when I first heard about it and honestly, it pretty much is. It really is just a coolness factor for the most part.

Sometimes it is useful in native apps like Final Cut Pro which is nice for me because I use that to edit, but for web browsing I use Chrome, and I’m not going to switch to Safari just because it’s optimized for the Touch Bar.

Given that the Touch Bar changes depending on what app is open, it’s not easy to wire your brain to use it. If you want a quick way to message emojis it’s great. But other than that, the Touch Bar is overhyped and underused.

The other big change is the port selection on the MacBook Pro. It only has USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports. No USB-A ports, no SD card slots, no HDMI port, which is kind of a travesty for something labeled as Pro. But hey, at least they remembered to put a headphones jack in. (Too soon?)

Out of the box you cannot connect any of your current USB-A devices or even your latest iPhone which is crazy. If you get the 2016 MacBook Pro, I hope you like using adapters. These USB-C to USB-A adapters are probably a necessity.

On the bright side, USB-C with its universal design and incredibly fast transfer speeds is certainly the way of the future and having four USB-C ports will be really convenient when all devices go that route. But right now, it feels unfriendly.

Worth It?

Is the 2016 MacBook Pro worth it? Well we know it has an awesome design, it has a solid build made of high quality materials, it has a fantastic display, nice sounding speakers, great keyboard and trackpad, good reliable performance. But it is expensive, lacks port variety, and has seemingly lower specs than most of its competitors.

I think you should only consider buying it if you:

  • Don’t mind taking adapters along with the laptop wherever you go or if for some reason you don’t need a variety of ports.
  • Absolutely want the Touch Bar and you think you would get use out of it.
  • Have a high budget and don’t care about the latest and greatest specs.
  • Plan to keep this laptop for 5+ years.

If you don’t meet all those conditions but you still want a MacBook Pro, I would suggest looking at a 2015 MacBook Pro instead. Sometimes you can find a good deal on a refurbished one.

The 2015 model will have older specs but the performance will be similar to the 2016 model and you’ll have a wider variety of ports, along with the MVP MagSafe connector, and most of all you’ll save some money.

Let me know what you decide and if this video helped you out, please give it a thumbs up I would really appreciate it. Also subscribe if you haven’t already. My name is Andy. Thank you for watching and I’ll talk to you in the next one.

Top 3 Reasons to Buy Apple AirPods!

Apple AirPods are Apple’s new wireless Bluetooth earbuds, and they’re not for everyone. In fact, after owning them for a few days and using them for multiple hours on end, I’ve discovered who the AirPods are meant for so in this video I’ll go over my top 3 reasons to buy the Apple AirPods.

AirPods start at $159 so they’re definitely not cheap. However, they do have some cool features that may justify that price tag. In the box you’ll see a magnetic carrying case that doubles as a charger which most other Bluetooth devices don’t offer. Inside the case are the AirPods themselves. There’s a Lightning port at the bottom the case for charging via the included USB-A cable. Don’t get me started on why it’s not USB-C. Let’s just go ahead and start with reason number one:

Unique Features > Audio Quality

Don’t proceed if you’re an audiophile or obsessed with super high quality audio. AirPods are tiny wireless earbuds. I don’t expect people to think that these have superior audio quality. They have good sounding AAC audio but still not the best when it comes to pure audio quality for the price. It’s very similar audio quality to iPhone 7 EarPods (though the AirPods mids seem slightly clearer).

So audio quality takes backseat to the main features, one of which is a processor inside each AirPod called the W1 chip which makes them “smarter” than most Bluetooth headphones. It has instant pairing when you open the case near a compatible iPhone with Bluetooth enabled. A window pops up asking to pair and gives battery percentages. The W1 chip makes AirPods more power efficient leading to long battery life. Apple claims 5 hours on single charge (my first 2 hours used 35%). The case also has its own re-chargeable battery built-in. That means if the case is charged, you can insert your AirPods into the case and it will charge your AirPods. Apple says the case adds an extra 24 hours of use. W1 chip works with small infrared sensors in each AirPod that can detect when you’ve put them in your ears so music will automatically play when you put the AirPods in and music will automatically pause when you take one or both out. The chip also tells your iPhone if you’re only wearing one AirPod at a time. Each AirPod has a built in microphone which is not the greatest mic in the world, but if you want those main features more than having the best audio quality, AirPods are a good choice.

Current Apple User

You can actually pair AirPods with non-Apple devices with the button on the back of the case, but I wouldn’t buy AirPods unless I owned at least 2 of the following: iPhone or iPad running iOS 10 or later, Mac with MacOS Sierra or later, or Apple Watch with watchOS 3 or later. The fit is identical to the latest EarPods so if you know the EarPods fit your ears well then AirPods should too. The same can be said if the EarPods don’t fit you well, then the AirPods most likely won’t fit you well either. As for me, the AirPods fit well and it’s a pretty comfortable fit. They’re snug and secure. They don’t seem to come loose even when running at full speed. Great for working out and running. AirPods sync across all your Apple devices through iCloud after initial pairing. If you want to switch over from listening on your iPhone to your Mac, you just select the AirPods from the task bar at the top of your screen. So if you are invested in the Apple ecosystem like me, then the AirPods are a good choice.

Minimalist as Possible

This is where the AirPods are really polarizing. They go full out minimalist which will appeal to some people but cause hatred from others. My current Bluetooth headphones are each under $50 so they’re much cheaper than the AirPods and they have actual buttons for play, pause, and skip. AirPods are completely different.
Obviously there are no cords which means no more messy tangled wires which makes it very simple to manage and a good enough reason in itself to get AirPods if you don’t currently own Bluetooth headphones. I hate wires. However this does mean that it will be easier to lose one of the AirPods since they aren’t connected to each other. If you lose one, Apple will sell you a replacement at a “special discounted rate” of $69 so try not to lose one. AirPods have zero buttons. This means you control everything through Siri which you can activate by double tapping near the top of the AirPods. I’m so used to tapping previous earbuds for the purpose of getting them to settle into my ears, but with AirPods this double-tapping gesture activates Siri where you can tell it to lower your volume or play or pause the music and many other commands. Of course the double tap gesture can be customized in your Bluetooth settings or even turned off completely. I found that voicing commands through Siri works well for the times when I can actually get it to activate. Sometimes it takes many attempts because the AirPods don’t actually have a touch capacitive surface. The double-tapping is detected by the built-in accelerometers so it takes a little more force than with a normal touch surface which can become quite annoying if you’re constantly banging your ear drum. I still prefer to use the controls from my device. So if you want to go on full-on minimalist, the AirPods are a good choice.

I honestly think $99 would be the perfect price for the AirPods. $159 is just a bit too high even with the included battery case and the new W1 chip, but if those 3 reasons I gave resonate with you then you should look into getting them!

Dell XPS 13 vs MacBook Pro 13″ – Which is Better?

Welcome to the ultimate showdown between the best 13″ laptops: The MacBook Pro 13″ vs the Dell XPS 13.

Both of these models I have were released in 2016 and both of them have the 6th generation Intel Skylake processors in them. Having said that, the XPS 13 and the MacBook Pro that I have are not 100% the same when it comes to the rest of the specs, but this video will focus on the bigger picture, and at the end of this video I’ll share my verdict so you can figure out which one is best for you.

Price

The Dell XPS 13 is obviously cheaper. It’s cheaper overall, they offer more affordable options for under $1000 while the MacBook Pro starts at $1499 in the US. For the models I have here, it’s currently $1699 for the Dell XPS 13 and $1999 for the MacBook Pro. Now to make pricing more fair when you’re shopping, you can compare the non-touch screen of the Dell XPS 13 to the non touch bar model of the MacBook Pro along with other different hardware configurations. But overall, Dell is obviously cheaper so Dell does win the pricing battle.

Ports

Dell has a much wider variety of ports on the XPS 13 featuring one USB-C Thunderbolt 3 port, two USB 3.0 ports, a headphone jack, and an always convenient SD card slot. The MacBook Pro, on the other hand, only has a headphone jack and either two USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports on the non-touch bar model or four USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports on the touch bar model. So that’s a pretty no-brainer; Dell obviously wins the ports battle because they offer more ports than the new MacBook Pro, which Apple went ahead and took away all the ports that you’re used to and replaced them with USB C ports, so nobody has all of those ports for their devices yet, so it’s kind of an inconvenience right now. It will probably be beneficial in the future sometime, but not right now. For right now, Dell does win the ports battle.

Performance

Both the Dell and the MacBook Pro come in configurations of i5 or i7 processors with turbo boost, 8 or 16GB of DDR3 RAM, and SSDs from 128GB to 1TB, and Intel Iris graphics. So the performance really just depends on the configuration you choose. However, I will point out that my XPS 13 has a Core i7 with 16GB of RAM while my MacBook Pro has a Core i5 with just 8GB RAM, and I did a video editing export test and the MacBook Pro handled it way better, 4x better to be exact. Now that test was obviously dependent on the software, and Final Cut Pro X on a Mac is known to usually have faster export times because it’s optimized specifically for the Mac hardware. But since these laptops have so many similar specs, I’m calling this one a tie.

Display

Both of these displays are very beautiful. The Dell XPS 13 comes in at 3200×1800 on that Quad HD InfinityEdge IPS touch display, with super thin bezels, so right off the bat Dell is hard to beat. The MacBook Pro screen still looks great with a resolution of 2560×1600 plus the new P3 color space and at 500 nits, it gets a little brighter than the XPS 13, and in my opinion it does have the advantage of having a 16:10 aspect ratio, but when the display is compared side by side to the Dell XPS 13 you can tell that the XPS display is just better. So Dell does win the display battle. Up next is the battery life. Dell has a slightly bigger battery at 56 wH compared to the 49 wH on the MacBook Pro. However, the non touch bar MacBook Pro has a 55 wH battery, which should be right around the same battery life as the Dell XPS 13. In my test, the XPS 13 went from full charge to 0% in about 8 hours, and the MacBook Pro went from 100%-0% in about 7 hours so you’re getting about an hour longer battery life with the XPS 13; however, the MacBook Pro did charge faster than the Dell XPS 13, actually by 50 minutes faster. It went from 0-100% charge in 90 minutes, while the Dell XPS 13 went from 0-100% in about 140 mins, so the MacBook Pro does charge faster,  but the Dell has a bigger battery and a better battery life, thus winning the battery battle.

Portability

Starting off with the weight, the MacBook Pro 13″ weighs right at three pounds. The Dell XPS 13 weighs right under three pounds at two pounds and fourteen ounces to be exact. The XPS 13 is squeezed into a typical 11″ laptop shell which makes it one of the most portable 13″ laptops out right now. They’re both almost the same exact length, but the MacBook Pro is about a half inch longer in depth. However the MacBook Pro appears to be thinner than the XPS 13. It’s so close, and even though Dell wins the weight battle by two ounces, the MacBook Pro wins the thinness battle by a hair, so that makes it a tie for me. You really can’t go wrong with either of these laptops if you’re planning on being portable and mobile.

Design

Starting off with audio, the speakers on the MacBook Pro just sounded better to me; they have the faux grills on top, so the speakers aren’t really directly under the grills on the MacBook Pro but they do sound better. They’re coming up through the top while the Dell XPS speakers are really small and they’re on the side. So the MacBook Pro just sounded cleaner to me when I was listening to music and vocals and things like that. The MacBook Pro build is very solid, it’s attractive and symmetrical, the space grey looks very sleek, and I can open the lid without the laptop moving. The XPS 13 looks very good with the silver on the outside and the inside has a nice black carbon fiber finish. And I love the battery gauge button that used to be an advantage that MacBooks had until they stopped doing it, but the XPS 13 does have a common issue with coil whine and some trackpad issues with certain software. It’s not symmetrical, and you cannot open the lid without the laptop moving, which doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it does make a difference. Both keyboards have backlights; the MacBook Pro’s keys are a little bigger than the Dell’s keys but the biggest difference is the key travel. The MacBook Pro has Apple’s new 2nd generation butterfly mechanism keyboard which is totally subjective to the user but I like the MacBook Pro keyboard a little better than the traditional keyboard on the Dell XPS 13. It feels nicer when typing on it. Some people hate the butterfly mechanism but I’m a fan, especially with the 2nd generation. The MacBook Pro trackpad is king compared to the XPS 13. It’s bigger and works like Apple has always made them even with the Force touch. The Dell trackpad still physically clicks down but I still have issues with the Dell trackpad in Google Chrome. Having said that, the Dell XPS 13 still does have the best trackpad on a Windows machine that I’ve ever used, but just not as good as Apple’s yet. So MacBook Pro wins the overall design category.

OS

Which has the best operating system? This is going to cause a lot of ruckus in the comment section! Windows 10 is fantastic and is the Windows version ever, but MacOS is still superior. You will most likely run into fewer problems in a five year span with a Mac than you would with Windows. Plus, the MacBook Pro can run Windows 10 virtually if you need it while Windows still cannot run MacOS which isn’t Windows fault but it’s still an advantage. Lastly, it is entirely possible and becoming more prevalent for Macs to get viruses but it’s still nowhere near the virus problem that Windows machines face. So as you can tell I think the OS battle goes to the MacBook Pro.

Verdict

Based on those categories that we just went over, if you add them up the Dell XPS 13 does win. Does that mean the MacBook Pro is a bad buy or it’s a bad laptop? No, it’s a good laptop, very expensive, but it’s a good laptop. And it all depends on what you do specifically as a user, depends on what kind of equipment you own, maybe you own an iPhone, maybe you’re invested in the Mac environment. Just like I am, I’m a Final Cut Pro user. It makes more sense for me to own a MacBook Pro because I can edit videos faster than on the Dell XPS 13. But if you are looking at them side by side, the comparison tests we did, I tried to be objective as possible with these tests and the categories. And just prioritize the categories based on your use and then you can find out which one is best for you. But if we’re going side by side with the tests we just did the Dell XPS 13 does seem to be a better laptop and the best 13 inch laptop that you can get right now. Both links to these laptops will be in the description below. Let me know in the comment section below what you think of these laptops, if you own one, if you’re wanting to buy one. Thank you so much for watching. My name is Andy. Make sure you hit that subscribe button and give this video a thumbs up if it helped you out. I will see you guys in the next video.

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