You are reading the article Logic Pros Review: Ik’s New Extremely Affordable Analog Uno Synth For Mac/Ios updated in December 2023 on the website Achiashop.com. We hope that the information we have shared is helpful to you. If you find the content interesting and meaningful, please share it with your friends and continue to follow and support us for the latest updates. Suggested January 2024 Logic Pros Review: Ik’s New Extremely Affordable Analog Uno Synth For Mac/Ios
Today it’s all about IK Multimedia’s latest analog synth hardware. IK’s lineup of music production and live sound gear is largely considered to be for those with a budget in mind or as amazing beginner rigs for aspiring producers. The new UNO synth is designed to be just that with an extremely competitive price tag and wide platform compatibility with your existing recording environment. After having the chance to put the portable analog synthesizer to the test over the last couple weeks in some electronic-based music productions and more, it’s time to see what the new IK Multimedia UNO Synth is packing.
The UNO is a small, portable analog synthesizer that is powered via USB or a 4 AA batteries. Immediately upon unboxing the unit, I noticed how light it was and the almost tablet-like shape of the synth. It has a small lip built-in to the frame of the unit so it can sit on your desktop or a tabletop at a convenient angle. For the most part, I’m into the sleek physical shape of the unit and the thin bezel-like framing around the outer perimeter even if I would have preferred a more 3D-like approach to some of those flat front-panel controls.
It carries two analog multi waveform oscillators along with a noise generator. The fully resonant, multi-mode filter supports your typical low pass option along with a high pass and band-pass modes. It is a two-pole, 12dB filter with bit of a brassy tone to it. It isn’t as harsh as I would like, but all things considered it out performed my expectations, especially with the available, front panel modulation options and built-in drive control.
UNO has full ADSR filter and amplitude envelopes, although only the attack and release portions are available as front panel controls on the unit itself with the decay and sustain phases left in the companion Mac/iOS editor (more on that below). UNO’s LFO supports a series of wave shapes from sine and square to sample and hold. We get physical controls for the wave selection, rate as well as normalized connections to the oscillator pitch and filter cut-off.
UNO has 6 preset performance controls: Dive, Scoop, Vibrato, Wah, Tremolo, and Hold. A great little feature for beginner synthesists/music makers as well as being a unique option in general, these options offer up simple ways to add interesting pitch bends and nuances to a part or performance. You can think of them as high-level macro controls for preset modulation paths that can be turned on and off as part of a performance with a simple touch of a button.
The vibrato, wah and tremolo are tied to the main LFO setting to some degree but you can dig in a little deeper with them and get into more complex performances via the Mod Wheel section inside the companion software editor. While I personally would have liked to see more typical physical controls for the Pitch Bend and Mod Wheel alongside the Performance controls, these preset style performance options are great for impromptu sketches in combination with the sequencer. They are also fantastic for those just looking to make some crazy synth sounds without diving into sound design all that much.
iOS/Mac Integration & Editor:
UNO is completely compatible with your Mac and iOS DAW setup. I was able to get it loaded up as an External MIDI Instrument inside of Logic within seconds of connecting the synth to my computer and downloading the free Editor app. It essentially works the same way just about all big name hardware synths with MIDI do. That means you can record and send MIDI performances from a track in Logic out to your UNO Synth and back again, easily integrating it into your productions. You can get more details how the External MIDI Instrument plug-in works inside of Logic Pro X right here.
You can create patches and store as many as 100 of them on the physical unit. But you can create as many presets as you want, store them on your computer and then “upload” the most pertinent 100 of them to the unit depending on the application at hand as well.
After having UNO integrated in to my Mac Pro battle station for a couple of weeks now, I can easily say it sounds a lot better than I thought it would. The modulation options and overall controls are a little bit limited for someone who already has more expensive analog hardware in their collection, but all things considered, I’m impressed at $200. Any experienced synth player is certainly going to have all kinds of suggestions on what’s missing and what could make it better, but as far as I’m concerned, it hits all the major points beginners need to get a handle on.
The filter sounds quite good and the overall compatibility with Mac and iOS DAW setups was on par as any of the big names in the space. Those performance buttons are great for beginners and scale keyboard option can help out in that regard as well. You can lock the normally chromatic keyboard to various scales which can be great for finding new ideas and the like no matter how experienced you are.
I’m not in love with the feel of the flat design on most of the front-panel toggle switches and buttons, but everything is quick, responsive and works just fine. The multi-mode knobs along the top of the UI are quite robust and won’t be falling off anytime soon with normal wear and tear.
It always nice to have knob-per function style layouts on hardware synths, but these kinds of things drive the cost of the unit up significantly and IK has implemented a tidy multi-function system on the top panel. The free UNO Synth Editor app offers up some of the additional features and controls IK couldn’t squeeze on the front panel as physical controls. Considering the price here, I think IK did a good job getting as much as possible in physical form, but it would have been nice to see the Oscillator Shape and Pulse Width modulation sources easily accessible inside the LFO section on the actual unit.
I would suggest that IK’s new UNO synth might actually be one of, if not the best introductory options for those looking to dive into hardware instruments. In some cases, when computer producers try to bring their creativity outside of the box with hardware like UNO, things don’t always pan out the way they would like. Whether it be the few extra steps it might take to get the synth into your MP3 or having to stray away from those beloved Software synths, it just doesn’t end up being as practical as it sounds sometimes. Having said all that, if you’re on the fence in that regard, UNO is an extremely affordable and solid sounding analog instrument to figure it all out.
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Cisdem Unarchiver For Mac: Review
Latest Version: 1.0
Application Size: 85MB
Latest Version Release Date: 2023-5-07
Setup File Name: cisdem-unarchiver.dmg
Processor: An Intel processor with at least a speed of 1GHz or above.
Requires: macOS 10.10 or above.
Display: Requires a display of at least 720p (1024×768 pixels) or above.
RAM: A minimum of 512MB RAM or more.
Storage (HDD or SSD):
Also Read : How To Downgrade macOS Ventura Beta To macOS Monterey.
Why Choose Cisdem Unarchiver For Mac Over Others?
It is an excellent archive and compression software for macOS. It supports many formats, is lightweight, and has an intuitive user interface. This vital tool handles all archives, including ISO, 7z, Udf, RAR, Zip, Wim, CHM, Cab, Nsis, Hfs, com, and TAR files.
Read Also: Best Mac Windows Management Apps 2023 [Paid]
What’s New in Version 3.1.0 over the last version
A better-optimized UI than previous versions.
The issue of being stuck in previewing file after switching is resolved.
Benefits of Cisdem Unarchiver
Before unzipping files in an archive, you can easily see those files.
You can both generate and unzip encrypted zipped files.
It is faster than Mac’s default archiver.
Provides a user-friendly interface that is simple and professional.
Drawbacks of Cisdem Unacrhiver
Some stability issues.
The Pricing Info
Demo version is free for download.
$9.99 For 1 Mac (Lifetime License), $19.98 For 2 Macs (Lifetime License) $49.95 For 5 Macs (Lifetime License).
Also Read: Top 10 Archiver And Unarchiver For Mac 2023.
How To Download and Install Cisdem Unarchiver
Part 1: For Unzipping/Decompressing Archives
Drag and drop the Cisdem Unarchiver icon into the Applications folder.
Part 2: For Compressing Files
Once you have verified the files you’ve just imported, hit the “Compress” icon. A box will appear asking you to choose a save location, the format you want to compress to, and if you want to add a password to secure the compressed archive further.
Top Five Alternatives to Cisdem Unarchiver
S.No. Product Name Top 3 Features Pricing Info Download Link
It can compress and extract the majority of file types.
Keka is available through the context menu.
$4.99/License For 1 Mac
2 WinZip 25 Pro
Over 15 different file formats are supported.
AES-256 password encryption.
View compressed file contents without extracting them.
$54.71/License For 1 Mac
3 BetterZip 5
Open & Archive more than 30 different archive file types.
It has a built-in password generator and manager.
Filter undesirable files when extracting an archive.
$24.95/License For 1 Mac
Both manual and automated extraction techniques.
A military-grade password protection using AES 256.
Supports various archive file types.
Free for Lifetime
5 The Unarchiver
It is capable of opening both new & old file formats, including Zip, Tar, ISO, RAR, Stuffit, 7-zip, DiskDoubler, and many others.
Available with a dark theme.
High level of accuracy while detecting and managing filenames while unzipping.
Free for Lifetime
To Wrap This Up
In conclusion, Cisdem Unarchiver is an outstanding macOS Unarchiver software that enables you to unzip and zip files. It supports many file formats, is very lightweight, and has a clean and simple user interface.Quick Reaction:
About the author
Real Racing 3 for iOS Review
After a successful launch of Real Racing 2 towards the end of 2010, the racing simulator kept gamers’ interest for over two years, and now a third installment is back. However, there are a few changes that make this threequel noteworthy. First of all, the game is now completely free to download, which sounds almost too good to be true, but developer Firemonkey and publisher Electronic Arts have decided to take the freemium route this time around. Plus, there are all new cars and tracks to race your way around. I ended up spending some time with the game, attempting to make my way up to elite status, and there a lot of things I liked about it, but there were also a lot of things that I didn’t like. Let’s break it down now.
Essentially in Real Racing 3, you buy cars and compete in events until you beat the game. There’s also “Driver Level,” in which you are awarded a certain amount of experience points after every race that go towards being an expert driver. I don’t really pay a lot of attention to that, since my only goal is raise as much money as I can so I can buy a new car and race in more events. You rely on “R$” currency and coins to get you through the game. The coins are there so that you can basically buy your way out of having to wait on various things, which I’ll describe here soon.
You might have heard about “Time-Shifted Multiplayer” before. It’s a new feature in Real Racing 3 where you play against real people in every event. Granted, you’re not all playing each other at the same time (hence the “Time-Shifted” name), but the other racers are essentially AI-controlled players that have completed in the event in the past. It’s similar to racing a ghost, but the ghost is AI-controlled and will respond to your movements in the race. It’s a pretty neat feature, and it’s more enjoyable this way knowing that you’re not just racing against the computer.
There are numerous types of races to choose from, including cup races, top-speed challenges, drag races, sprints, and eliminations. There also tons of new tracks and cars, including real tracks like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Mount Panorama, as well as fake tracks that exist in real locations, such as Melbourne. As for controls, it’s nothing that we haven’t experienced before with Real Racing 2 — tilting your mobile device steers the car, and tapping on the screen is the brake. You can also change camera angles, which includes a cockpit view if you really want a realistic experience.
As for graphics, they’re not bad, but also not great. There’s absolutely zero anti-aliasing, which makes the game a pixelated nightmare, and scenery could be a bit better, especially in Mount Panorama, where you can get a good look out at the horizon. The mountains in the background look pretty horrible, and it makes you feel you traveled back in time to the late 90s. However, I can’t be too harsh on the graphics. For a mobile game on a smartphone, the game looks pretty incredible.
As for the freemium model in Real Racing 3, this is where things can get a bit controversial. Since the game is free, Firemonkey and EA rely on the in-app purchases of coins to make revenue. Whenever your car needs servicing or you upgrade parts, you have to wait a few minutes for them to complete, sometimes up to 10 minutes. Of course, you can speed the process up by spending a couple of coins, but once you’re all out, you have to buy more if you don’t want to wait for things to finish. Essentially, Firemonkey and EA are counting on your impatience in order to make money with this game, and my guess is that they’ll make a fortune.
You can buy more coins starting at $1.99 for 10 of them, and you can also buy more in-game currency for buying cars and upgrades starting at $1.99 for R$50,000. And considering that Real Racing 2 only cost $4.99, you can end up spending way more in Real Racing 3. However, if patience is your virtue, then you probably won’t have a problem with the game, but if you’re the type of person who wants upgrades now and wants your oil change and tire rotation right this second, prepare to spend a ton of money on the game.
Avast SecureLine VPN
Effectiveness: Private and secure, poor streaming
Price: Starting $55.20 per year (up to 10 devices)
Ease of Use: Very simple and easy to use
Support: Knowledgebase, forum, web form
Ever feel like you’re being watched or followed? Or someone’s listening in to your phone conversations? “Do we have a secure line?” You’ve probably heard that said a hundred times in spy movies. Avast offers you a secure line to the internet: Avast SecureLine VPN.
A VPN is a “Virtual Private Network”, and helps protect your privacy and enhance your security when you’re online, as well as tunnel through to sites that have been blocked. Avast’s software doesn’t try to do more than it needs to, and is fast, but not the fastest. It’s easy to set up, even if you’ve never used a VPN before.
Why Trust Me for This Avast VPN Review?
I’m Adrian Try, and I’ve been using computers since the 80s and the internet since the 90s. I’ve been an IT manager and tech support guy, and know the importance of using and encouraging safe internet practices.
I’ve used a number of remote access applications over the years. In one job we used GoToMyPC to update our contact database on the main office’s server, and as a freelancer, I’ve used a number of mobile solutions to access my iMac when out and about.
I’m familiar with Avast, having used and recommended their antivirus program for many years, and making it my business to keep up to date with the best security practices and solutions. I downloaded and thoroughly tested Avast SecureLine VPN, and researched the testing and opinions of industry experts.
Avast SecureLine VPN Review: What’s In It for You?
Avast SecureLine VPN is all about protecting your privacy and security online, and I’ll list its features in the following four sections. In each sub-section, I’ll explore what the app offers and then share my personal take.
1. Privacy through Online Anonymity
Do you feel like you’re being watched or followed? You are. When you surf the internet, your IP address and system information are sent along with each packet. That means:
A VPN can help by making you anonymous. That’s because your online traffic will no longer carry your own IP address, but that of the network you’re connected to. Everyone else connected to that server shares the same IP address, so you get lost in the crowd. You’re effectively hiding your identity behind the network, and have become untraceable. At least in theory.
Avast SecureLine VPN doesn’t keep logs of the data you send and receive online. That’s a good thing. But they do keep logs of your connections to their service: when you connect and disconnect, and how much data you’ve sent and received. They’re not alone in this and delete the logs every 30 days.
Some competitors don’t keep any logs at all, which may suit you better if privacy is your biggest concern.
Industry experts have tested for “DNS leaks”, where some of your identifiable information may still fall through the cracks. In general, these tests have indicated no leaks in Avast SecureLine.
Another way you can be identified is through your financial transactions with your VPN service. Some services allow you to pay by Bitcoin, and that way they have absolutely no way to identify you. Avast doesn’t do this. Payment must be made by BPAY, credit/debit card, or PayPal.
My personal take: There’s never a guarantee of perfect anonymity, but Avast does a pretty good job of protecting your online privacy. If online anonymity is your absolute priority, look for a service that keeps no logs and allows payment via Bitcoin. But Avast provides privacy sufficient enough for most users.
2. Security through Strong Encryption
The traceable information that normal browsing broadcasts isn’t just a threat to your privacy, but to your security as well, especially in certain situations:
On a public wireless network, say at a coffee shop, anyone else on that network with the right software (for packet sniffing) can intercept and log the data sent between you and the public router.
Maybe the coffee shop doesn’t even have wifi, but a hacker can set up a fake hotspot to make you think it does. You end up sending your data straight to the hacker.
In these cases, they don’t just see your data—they could also redirect you to fake sites where they can steal your accounts and passwords.
A VPN is an effective defense against this type of attack. Governments, the military, and large corporations have been using them as a security solution for decades.
They achieve this by creating a secure, encrypted tunnel between your computer and the VPN server. Avast SecureLine VPN offers users strong encryption and pretty good security in general. Unlike some VPNs, though, it doesn’t offer a choice of encryption protocols.
The cost of this security is speed. First, running your traffic through your VPN’s server is slower than accessing the internet directly. And adding encryption slows it down a little more. Some VPNs handle this quite well, while others significantly slow down your traffic. I’ve heard that Avast’s VPN is reasonably fast, but not the fastest, so I decided to test it.
Before I installed and activated the software, I tested my internet speed. If you’re not impressed, I live in a part of Australia that’s not too speedy, and my son was gaming at the time. (The test I ran while he was still at school was twice as fast.)
When connected to one of Avast SecureLine’s Australian servers (according to Avast, my “optimal server”), I noticed a significant slow-down.
Connecting to an overseas server was even slower. When connected to Avast’s Atlanta server, my ping and upload speeds were significantly slower.
My speed through a London server was a little slower again.
My experience is that download speeds may be 50-75% of unprotected speeds. While that’s fairly typical, there are faster VPNs out there.
If security is your priority, Avast offers a feature that not all services do: a kill switch. If you’re unexpectedly disconnected from your VPN, SecureLine can block all internet access until you reconnect. This feature is turned off by default, but is easy to enable in the settings.
I continued testing Avast’s speed (along with five other VPN services) over the next few weeks (including after I got my internet speed sorted out) and found Avast’s speeds in the middle of the range. The fastest speed I achieved when connected was 62.04 Mbps, which was a high 80% of my normal (unprotected) speed. The average of all the servers I tested was 29.85 Mbps. If you’d like to wade through them, here are the results from every speed test I performed:
Unprotected speeds (no VPN)
2023-04-05 4:55 pm Unprotected 20.30
2023-04-24 3:49 pm Unprotected 69.88
2023-04-24 3:50 pm Unprotected 67.63
2023-04-24 4:21 pm Unprotected 74.04
2023-04-24 4.31 pm Unprotected 97.86
Australian servers (closest to me)
2023-04-05 4:57 pm Australia (Melbourne) 14.88 (73%)
2023-04-05 4:59 pm Australia (Melbourne) 12.01 (59%)
2023-04-24 3:52 pm Australia (Melbourne) 62.04 (80%)
2023-04-24 3:56 pm Australia (Melbourne) 35.22 (46%)
2023-04-24 4:20 pm Australia (Melbourne) 51.51 (67%)
2023-04-05 5:01 pm US (Atlanta) 10.51 (52%)
2023-04-24 4:01 pm US (Gotham City) 36.27 (47%)
2023-04-24 4:05 pm US (Miami) 16.62 (21%)
2023-04-24 4:07 pm US (New York) 10.26 (13%)
2023-04-24 4:08 pm US (Atlanta) 16.55 (21%)
2023-04-24 4:11 pm US (Los Angeles) 42.47 (55%)
2023-04-24 4:13 pm US (Washington) 29.36 (38%)
2023-04-05 5:05 pm UK (London) 10.70 (53%)
2023-04-05 5:08 pm UK (Wonderland) 5.80 (29%)
2023-04-24 3:59 pm UK (Wonderland) 11.12 (14%)
2023-04-24 4:14 pm UK (Glasgow) 25.26 (33%)
2023-04-24 4:17 pm UK (London) 21.48 (28%)
Notice that the fastest speeds were on the Australian servers closest to me, though I did have one good result on a Los Angeles server on the other side of the world. Your results will vary from mine depending on where you are in the world.
Finally, while a VPN can protect you from malicious files, I was surprised to discover that one reviewer discovered some adware inside the Avast SecureLine VPN software. So I scanned the installer on my iMac with Bitdefender Virus Scanner, and confirmed it does indeed contain adware. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised—I remember the free version of Avast Antivirus being ad-supported. Not ideal in an app designed to make you more secure!
My personal take: Avast SecureLine VST will make you more secure online. Other VSTs may offer a little more security through additional features and options, and Avast’s inclusion of adware is disappointing.
3. Access Sites that Have Been Blocked Locally
Businesses, schools, and governments can restrict access to the sites you are able to visit. For example, a business may block access to Facebook so you don’t waste your work hours there, and some governments may censor content from the outside world. A VPN can tunnel through those blocks.
But do so at your own risk. Using Avast SecureLine to bypass your employer’s filters while at work may cost you your job, and bypassing a country’s internet censorship may end you up in hot water. For example, in 2023 China started to identify and block VPNs—call it the Great Firewall of China—and in 2023 they have started to fine individuals who circumvent these measures, not just the service providers.
My personal take: A VPN can give you access to the sites your employer, educational institution or government are trying to block. Exercise caution when deciding to do this.
4. Access Streaming Services that Have Been Blocked by the Provider
Some blocking comes on the other side of the connection, particularly when service providers want to limit the content to limited geographical regions. Avast SecureLine can help here, too, by allowing you to decide which country it looks like you’re in.
We’ll cover this in more depth in a separate article, but Netflix and other streaming content providers don’t offer all shows and movies in all countries, not because of their own agendas but because of the copyright holders. A show’s distributor may have given one network exclusive rights in a particular country, so they can’t sell Netflix the rights to show it there as well. Netflix is obliged to block it from anyone in that country.
A VPN can allow you to choose which country it appears you are in, which may help you bypass Netflix’s filter. So, since January 2023, they’ve been proactively trying to block VPNs, and have had a fair amount of success.
This is a concern—not just if you want to access another country’s shows, but even if you just use a VPN to enhance your security. Netflix will try to block all VPN traffic, even if you just want to access local shows. When using Avast SecureLine, your Netflix content also has to go through the VPN. Other VPN solutions provide something called “split tunneling”, where you can decide what traffic goes through the VPN and what doesn’t.
So you need a VPN that’s able to access the streaming services you use, like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, and the BBC. How effective is Avast Secureline? It’s not bad, but not the best. It has servers in many countries, but only four are “optimized for streaming”—one in the UK, and three in the US.
I tested whether I could access Netflix and the BBC iPlayer (which is only available in the UK) while Avast SecureLine VPN was enabled.
Streaming Content from Netflix
Notice the different ratings for “The Highwaymen” depending on the location of the server I had accessed. You may find that Netflix does block you from a certain server. Just try another one until you’re successful.
Unfortunately I didn’t have much success streaming content from Netflix. I tried eight servers at random, and only one (in Glasgow) was successful.
2023-04-24 3:53 pm Australia (Melbourne) NO
2023-04-24 3:56 pm Australia (Melbourne) NO
2023-04-24 4:09 pm US (Atlanta) NO
2023-04-24 4:11 pm US (Los Angeles) NO
2023-04-24 4:13 pm US (Washington) NO
2023-04-24 4:15 pm UK (Glasgow) YES
2023-04-24 4:18 pm UK (London) NO
2023-04-24 4:20 pm Australia (Melbourne) NO
It was then that I noticed that Avast offers four special servers that are optimized for streaming. Surely I’ll have more success with them.
Unfortunately not. Every optimized server failed.
2023-04-24 3:59 pm UK (Wonderland) NO
2023-04-24 4:03 pm US (Gotham City) NO
2023-04-24 4:05 pm US (Miami) NO
2023-04-24 4:07 pm US (New York) NO
One server out of twelve is an 8% success rate, a spectacular fail. As a result, I can’t recommend Avast SecureLine for Netflix viewing. In my tests, I found it to have the poorest results by far. To compare, NordVPN had a 100% success rate, and Astrill VPN wasn’t far behind, with 83%.
Streaming Content from BBC iPlayer
Unfortunately, I had a similar lack of success when streaming from the BBC.
I tried all three UK servers but only had success with one.
2023-04-24 3:59 pm UK (Wonderland) NO
2023-04-24 4:16 pm UK (Glasgow) YES
2023-04-24 4:18 pm UK (London) NO
Other VPNs have more success. For example, ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and PureVPN all had a 100% success rate.
Streaming content is not the only benefit you get when using a VPN to appear that you’re in another country. You can also use them to save money when purchasing tickets. That’s especially helpful when you’re flying—reservation centers and airlines offer different prices to different countries.
My personal take: I don’t want to have to turn off my VPN and compromise my security every time I watch Netflix, but unfortunately that’s exactly what I’d have to do when using Avast SecureLine. Are you curious about which VPN is best for Netflix? Then read our full review. So was happy to see I can still access it. I wish that more “streaming optimized” servers were offered and that I had more luck accessing the BBC’s content.
Reasons Behind My Ratings
Avast includes the essential features to make your online activities more private and more secure and offers an acceptable but average download speed. However, it is my tests when trying to connect to streaming services were very poor. If this is important to you, I cannot recommend Avast SecureLine.
Avast’s price structure is a little more complex than other VPNs. If you need a VPN on multiple devices, then Avast is in the middle of the range. If you only need it on one mobile device, it’s relatively inexpensive.
Ease of Use: 5/5
Avast SecureLine VPN’s main interface is a simple on and off switch, and easy to use. Selecting a server in a different location is simple, and changing settings is straightforward.
Avast offers a searchable knowledgebase and user forum for SecureLine VPN. Support can be contacted via a web form. Some reviewers indicated that technical support could only be contacted by phone and that an additional fee was charged. That no longer seems to be the case, at least in Australia.
Alternatives to Avast VPN
ExpressVPN is a fast and secure VPN that combines power with usability and has a good track record with accessing Netflix. A single subscription covers all your devices. It’s not cheap but is one of the best VPNs available. Read our full ExpressVPN review for more.
NordVPN is another excellent VPN solution that uses a map-based interface when connecting to servers. Read our full NordVPN review for more.
Astrill VPN is an easy-to-configure VPN solution with reasonably fast speeds. Read our in-depth Astrill VPN review for more.
You may also check out our roundup review of the best VPNs for Mac, Netflix, Fire TV Stick, and routers.
If you’re already using Avast’s popular antivirus product, you may want to stay within the family when choosing a VPN. It’s available for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android. You can protect up to ten devices for $55.20/year. But if streaming content from Netflix or elsewhere is important to you, give Avast a miss.
VPNs aren’t perfect, and there’s no way to absolutely ensure privacy on the internet. But they’re a good first line of defense against those who want to track your online behavior and spy on your data.
As promised, Analog Camera for iPhone and iPod touch has hit the App Store to fulfill your filtered photo taking needs. I had a chance to spend some time with the app over the Memorial Day weekend and quickly decided it’s a keeper.
Analog Camera is a seriously fun and fast camera app with personality, as we would expect from the makers of Clear for iPhone and Mac (and soon iPad), that features eight different photo filters and all the social network sharing you could ever need.
Analog Camera’s easy sharing features allow you to open photos you shoot or edit within the app in other apps including Instagram. This feature is especially cool if you’re feeling spunky and want to experiment with double filters or blurring features offered with Instagram.
As previously mentioned in our Analog Camera preview, the app features prominent share buttons for Facebook and Twitter. We’ve learned that these buttons are connected to your iOS settings and will disappear if these accounts are set up. This is a nice feature as it doesn’t shove Facebook or Twitter in your face if you don’t use either of the services.
Tapping the action button allows you to open your photo in other apps that are willing to accept it. This included apps ranging from Camera+ and Instagram to Tumblr, Dropbox, and Google Drive in my experience, but you may see different apps including Evernote and Instashare depending on what apps you have installed.
This is a smart and popular method because it builds support for a plethora of third party apps without overcomplicating the app itself, but I found myself wanting Copy and Messages here as well. Maybe in a future update? In the meantime, saving a processed photo to Camera Roll and jumping over to Messages or Photos is the fastest way to share an Analog Camera photo over iMessage. No big deal.
Taking photos in Analog Camera is as much of a pleasure as I expected, especially with its whimsical, progressive chime borrowed from Clear (that tone progression always makes me smile; maybe my brain associates it with accomplishing tasks?), but its quick access to Camera Roll and Photo Stream makes it particularly useful. The photo in my screenshot was taken with my Nikon 1 camera (I’m a completely amateur camera user; photographer is too strong a word to describe me) and imported to iPhoto on my Mac, but Photo Stream automatically moved the photos over iCloud making it available in Analog Camera for processing and sharing.
While Analog Camera delivers on simplicity and avoids packing in an abundance of features found it other apps, its camera does include a handy feature set including a dashed line for lining up a horizon and manual controls for focus and exposure.
Tapping with a single finger allows for controlling focus and exposure, and tapping with two fingers enables separate controls for the two settings. Anytime you want to return to autofocus and autoexposure, which is of course the default photo taking mode, simply double tap with a single finger.
Analog Camera’s counterpart for the Mac known simply as Analog will be updated next month to include the eight filters from Analog Camera which include Camden, Superior, Marble Arch, Pavilion, Inky, 1978, Honeycomb, and Brunswick.
Just like Tapbots created its own signature style with apps like Tweetbot and Calcbot, the folks at Realmac Software exhibit a proven ability to create fun and useful iOS apps with a balance of playfulness and simplicity. Following the success of Clear and my time spent with Analog Camera, I’m left curiously wondering what the team’s approach to a Twitter client would be like. Hmm…
While I found Analog Camera to offer a more than satisfactory experience, it could pick up front-facing camera support for even more fun (we all love selfies, admit it!). The team says it looks forward to hearing about feature requests to build into Analog Camera for future updates, but emphasizes its respect for the simplicity of the gesture-based app.
As I mentioned in my preview of the app, Analog Camera isn’t a clone of Instagram centered around its own social network, but rather a standalone camera and filtering app with spunk that can enhance Instagram or any other photo sharing platform for that matter.
I highly recommend picking up Analog Camera if you enjoy experimenting with iPhone photography and appreciate well designed, upbeat apps. It’s a lot of fun for just a buck.
Analog Camera for iPhone and iPod touch is now available for $0.99 in the App Store.
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If I had to choose one word to describe how Incipio’s past iPhone offGRID battery cases felt, it would probably be “svelte,” as they were all impressively thin and gently curved. Starting today, Incipio is shipping its first offGRID case for the iPhone 6, and it notably trades “svelte” for “edgy” design. Offered only in matte black, it’s called offGRID Express ($80), and Incipio claims it’s the first Apple-certified iPhone 6 battery case that’s actually available for consumers to purchase. This time, the back is somewhat angular, due in part to a larger battery pack than prior models, and the sides are equipped with the fancy metallic button protectors rival Mophie has only offered in its most expensive Juice Packs.
Incipio’s message is clear: by offering 3000mAh of power at an $80 price point, offGRID Express is practically daring Mophie – and any other Apple MFi-licensed manufacturer – to step up and take a swing at its value proposition. Yes, comparatively unknown vendors are selling cheaper options, and Tylt offers a 3200mAh, Apple-licensed alternative called Energi for $100, but offGRID Express actually matches it in recharging performance for a lower price. It’s positioned directly at consumers who care about both quality and cost, not just one or the other.
offGRID Express follows the same general pattern as Incipio’s prior $80 offGRID for iPhone 5/5s, arriving in a package with a micro-USB recharging cable, a headphone extension cable, a rear and bottom frame with a battery inside, and a wraparound bumper that covers all of the iPhone’s sides. Unlike prior offGRIDs, Incipio doesn’t include screen film or a cleaning cloth with this version, perhaps because the iPhone 6’s curved screen edges don’t look particularly good with film. No one else we’ve seen is including film with new iPhone battery cases, either, and offGRID Express partially compensates for the omission with better-looking and more tactile button covers than its predecessors.
The bumper also provides around a half-millimeter of anti-drop protection for the screen. You attach the iPhone 6 to the Lightning connector, then place the bumper atop the rear frame, snugly sealing them together with little clips on offGRID Express’s edges. Incipio has upped the number of front power indicator LEDs from 4 to 5, changed their color to white, and moved the power button from the glossy front plate to a raised dot on the right side.
Although it’s not the highest-capacity battery case Incipio has ever offered — there were dual-battery kits with 4000mAh of power for $100 — the 3000mAh offGRID Express has the largest single battery of any offGRID I’ve tested. It promises to deliver exactly one full extra recharge for the iPhone 6, but outperformed that claim, enabling our test iPhone 6 to go from dead to 100% in two hours, then after a partial discharge, up an additional 21% in a quick 20 minutes. That’s 1% higher overall than Tylt’s Energi, which would be a meaningless difference except that offGRID Express has a $20 lower MSRP. That said, offGRID Express takes its time recharging using a micro-USB cable, though notably staying cool to the touch throughout.
I’ve genuinely loved using Incipio’s past offGRID battery cases, particularly the offGRID Pro models, which for $100 have historically included dual batteries that together delivered far more than a single recharge for past iPhones. The $80 offGRID Express doesn’t offer that sort of power, and it’s not as slender as competing lower-capacity iPhone 6 batteries will likely be, but it narrowly beats Tylt’s Energi in performance at a markedly lower price. There will be a lot of new iPhone 6 battery case announcements in the near future, so it’s worth considering all of your options, but I’ve had great experiences with almost every offGRID I’ve tested for prior iPhones. Given its 121% recharging abilities, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this one.
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