Category Archives: Mac

Best Dell monitors for the Apple Mac Mini

When you finally decide to buy a Mac the sticker prices can quickly bring you back down to reality. With many of the computers costing $2,000 or more, some have resorted to buying a budget friendly Mac and pairing it with a traditional monitor. Given the current 27″ Thunderbolt Monitor from Apple is priced at $999, many can see the savings in buying good Dell monitor. To maximize the savings one could buy a Mac Mini and add a Dell monitor, this would give you the biggest bang for your buck. However all the monitors we mention in this article can be used with any Mac computer with the proper connections.

Dell Ultra HD 4k Monitor P2715Q 27-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor

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  • With 99% sRGB color coverage and a factory color calibration report, you can be sure that colors are as accurate as they can be.
  • Maximize your viewing options by adjusting the monitor to your desired height, or easily tilt or swivel to your preferred angle.
  • Pivot from landscape to portrait view to easily see full pages at a glance.

We’ll start at one of the higher end Dell monitors only because there we still be some of you who require 4K resolution. If you are not a professional or don’t need next generation graphics this is not the monitor for you. Most devices out there don’t even support 4K resolution yet but for those who wan’t to match Apple’s Retina Display monitor resolution this is for you. It is about half the cost of the Apple thunderbolt monitor giving you an average savings of around $450.

Dell UltraSharp U2715H 27-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor

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  • Refresh existing 27″ Dell Ultra Sharp monitor with new and improved features to drive productivity and dual or multi-monitor usage
  • A 27″ QHD resolution 16:9 aspect ratio monitor with an ultra-thin bezel.
  • Fully adjustable features like tilt, swivel, height adjust including pivoting both 90 Degree clockwise or counter-clockwise, allowing the thinnest possible edges to be placed side by side.

If you don’t need the 4K resolution this is your next option down in price. However because it is only $50 cheaper than the 4K we recommend upgrading. Many people prefer the UltraSharp monitors because of their thin bezels.

Dell S2715H 27-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor

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  • Get sharp, vivid, cinematic-quality pictures with Full HD resolution and colors that are rich, consistent, and accurate across an ultra-wide viewing angle.
  • Offering easy connectivity with handheld devices and viewing comfort with choice of VESA mounting options and tilt capability.
  • Display content and stream audio directly from your smartphone/tablet to your monitor and charge it at the same time when you connect your device via HDMI (MHL) to your monitor.
  • Vesa mount capability offers you the choice to wall mount or attach the monitor panel to the optional Dell Single Monitor Arm Stand for a clutter-free desk top.
  • Made of environmentally preferable materials, the Dell 27 Monitor is made from more than 25% post consumer recycled materials in its chassis, has BFR/PVC-free laminates in its circuit boards, an arsenic-free glass and a mercury- free LED panel.

Your third option would be the S2715H monitor from Dell, which has a lower resolution of 1920 x 1080. This is slightly lower than the UltraSharp monitors but still gives you HD quality. The biggest benefit of this monitor is the savings. With and average price of around $300 this in combination with a Mac Mini could keep your total budget under $1,000.

Dell S2240M 21.5-Inch Screen LED-lit Monitor

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  • Contemporary styling: Feel like you’re there with an elegant, virtually borderless 21.5″ display featuring an almost-invisible bezel.
  • Superb performance: Images come alive with color-boosting Image Enhance, ultrawide viewing and Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 max.) in a 16:9 widescreen format.
  • Versatile connections: Easily connect to your laptop or desktop with VGA and DVI-D (HDCP) connectivity.

Although not highly recommended you could buy a 21″ monitor from Dell. If you’ve worked on smaller monitors and are ok with the size this is a great budget item in the range of $100-$150. Even thought is had HD resolution you will have to purchase an adapter or correct cable to get your Mac Mini to work with this monitor. You’ll need either an HDMI to DVI or Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter. Still a complete solution for the lowest budget.

Ok great… What else do I need?

The Mac Mini comes with the computer and power cord, thats it. So you will need a keyboard, a mouse and a monitor with the proper cables or adapters. For the 27″ monitors above you will need either a Mini DisplayPort cable or HDMI cable. We recommend the Mini DisplayPort cable because it supports higher resolutions, but in general the HDMI is just as good. For the 21″ monitor we recommend an HDMI to DVI cable, you can get an adapter but its just as easy having everything in a single cable. If you are planning on using your TV as a monitor you will want to purchase an HDMI to HDMI cable. If you are not looking for a budget monitor you can check out our review of the high end options, in our opinion some of the best monitors for MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

Which Mac should I buy?

Apple has 6 Macs to select from and choosing one can be difficult. They are the iMac, MacPro, MacBook, MacBook Air, Retina MacBook Pro, and the Mac Mini. Each Mac targets a specific market but there are no set rules about crossing over to enjoy the features of a professional Mac like the Mac Pro as long as you can afford its much higher price tag. The choices have many potential buyers asking – Which Mac should I buy? To help you figure out the best Mac product for your needs, here’s a brief summary of each.

Apple MacBook Pro

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Macbook Pro

This month Apple is launching the new MacBook model. It will have the Retina display and the Force Touch haptic trackpad. You can also expect a new basic processor and upgraded battery life.  From all appearances though, the 2015 MacBook Pro looks exactly like the 2012, 2013, and 2014 models so that take a wee bit out of the excitement. Also the new MacBook Pro will only be sold with the 13 inch display and does not compared well to the new 12 inch MacBook which has an absolutely beautiful new design. However, the new MacBook Pro is all about what’s inside which is the Force Click, 97% sRGB coverage and 73% Adobe RGB, and contrast ratio of 880:1 – all of which are slight improvements from the 2014 model.

Apple MacBook

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MacBook

The new MacBook just came out this April 2015 and focuses more on portability and aesthetics. Read more about the design and new innovations in our recent write up.

Apple MacBook Air

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MacBook Air

The MacBook Air laptop by Apple first came out in 2008 and was the first laptop from Apple with the SSD flash storage. There was an upgrade released in 2014 and a new 13 inch released in early 2015. Aside from better quality graphics, faster storage, and a change from Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt 2, there is nothing significantly different with the precious model.

Apple Mac Mini

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Mac Mini w/ Apple Thunderbolt Monitor

This is the compact desktop from Apple which first came out in 2005. It is also the cheapest Mac and can be plugged into your TV monitor if you want to create a home movie/media theater. The last update was in 2014 and is actually priced lower than the 2012 versions. One reason could be because the 2012 Mac Mini has a faster processor and is more upgradable.  The RAM of the 2014 model is soldered on to the motherboard making it impossible to upgrade memory after purchase.

However, the newer Mac Mini has 3 models from a 500GB drive to a 2 TB Fusion drive. It also has build to order options so the 2TB Fusion drive is actually an upgrade of the high end 1TB that can be ordered with a corresponding fee.

Apple iMac

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iMac

This desktop was first released in 1998 and is known for streamlining the design of the computer and away from the bulky-looking monitor. There were 2 new improvements introduced in 2014: the entry level, low cost iMac without Retina display and the 27 in 5k Retina. There are rumors of a possible new iMac this 2015 but nothing specific has been revealed.

Apple MacPro

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Mac Pro without Monitor

The MacPro is the professional’s computer is a high-end Apple product where the base model costs almost $3,000. Apple has labeled it as the “pro-level desktop” with 6 Thunderbolt 2 ports, a built-in HDMI output, Wi-Fi antenna, and faster SSD storage. It is known to be very quiet, powerful, and if fully loaded, can cost over $8,000.

Apple looks to address lingering issues with New improved MacBook

The Apple MacBook early version, specifically 2011 MacBook Pro, has been on the receiving end of complaints about graphic failures and systematic crashes. The problems began to appear in 2013 and as of last year, authorized Apple service providers were still accepting MacBook repairs and now that the new and reinvented Apple MacBook is out, expectations are high that old issues will have been addressed and settled.

The new MacBook was unveiled last March 9 during the Spring Forward Apple Watch and is called “New MacBook 2015. It will be available for retail on April 10 through authorized dealers, the Apple Online Store, and Apple retail stores. It is a notebook that weighs 2 pounds making it the lightest MacBook as well as the thinnest at just 13.1 mm.

According to Philip Schiller who is the SVP for Apple’s Worldwide Marketing, almost everything about the MacBook has been reinvented. Some of the changes include an ultra thin Retina display, fanless design, a new Force Touch trackpad, new battery design, a super thin full-size keyboard, and a USB-C port. This USB-C port means there is only one single connector so you no longer need separate ports for charging, video out and data transfer. The most shocking for many though is the price tag at around $1,570 for the 1.1 GHz model and up to $1,954 for the 2.6 GHz model.

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USB-C (5 Ports in 1)

The specs for the New MacBook are:

  • Intel Core M Model with Turbo Boost speeds of 2.4 GHz for the lower-priced model and 2.6GHz for the higher-priced model
  • 8 GB memory
  • 256 GH of flash for the lower-priced and 514 GB for the higher priced model
  • 5th generation Intel HD Graphics 5300
  • 2304 x 1440 pixel Resolution
  • 812.11ac Wifi
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Butterfly mechanism on the keyboard
  • 35% better battery capacity and 30% less energy consumption without sacrificing display brightness. Battery is capable of 9 hours wireless use and 10 hours of movie playback
  • Available in silver, Space grey and gold
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New Logic Boards are 67% Smaller

The Force Touch Trackpad is one innovation likely to be pleasing to users because of it deep click feature which can fast forward videos or be used to force click to launch apps. You can also customize the trackpad by changing the amount of pressure so that every gesture or click on the trackpad will mean a specific command assigned by you to fit your personal preferences.

Most impressive is the fact that there are no more moving parts on this New MacBook 2015. This will mean greater efficiency and a very quiet, noiseless device.

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Batteries now take up most of the MacBook casing

As far as old issues on crashes and graphic failure, Apple has addressed these and one can expect to have fewer issues moving forward. We’ll have to wait until the April launch for testing. For the user who needs a powerful light notebook, this new 12″ MacBook could be the answer.

Best document scanner for Mac

Today most companies are asking us to go paperless and help the environment. Likewise many Mac users are seeing the benefits of going paperless themselves by scanning their important documents: bills, family records, copyrights, patents, insurance policies, identification paperwork, taxes and more. There are somethings you just can’t afford to lose, so in case of fire or theft, it’s always good to scan documents to a secure hard drive or cloud service.

Not to mention the fun part of scanning – going paperless! No more boxes of paperwork, bills piling up on the kitchen counter or forgetting where you put your car insurance information. When you scan your documents you can keep them organized and searchable. Let’s take a look at the best document scanners available for Mac.

Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner for Mac

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  • Blazing 25ppm color scanning
  • Two sided scanning
  • USB or Wi-Fi connection to a computer
  • PC & Mac Compatibility

Hands down the ScanSnap iX500 is the most popular wireless document scanner on the market today. For starters it’s technology lets you scan a document to your computer or smart device. Imagine being able to wirelessly scan an important document to your iPhone or iPad and more. It scans business cards all the way up to A3 size paper. You can also generate editable PDF files, for example if you wanted to sign a document or mark bills paid. The main benefit to this scanner is it’s two sided scanning capability and speed. It’s the fastest you can buy. There are no complicated buttons making it the easiest to understand and use. Additionally the unit folds up for when it’s not in use. Some are put off by the price at ($417 USD), but when you compare it to similar models, it has a lower price range but has the most features. Not to mention if you use this in a home office on a regular basis it will pay for itself.

NeatConnect Cloud Scanner and Digital Filing System for Mac

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  • Scan your important info straight to the Cloud, purchase includes 3 free months of NeatCloud (available for a nominal monthly fee after initial trial expiration)
  • Scan in receipts to create expense reports and searchable databases
  • Scan in business cards to capture information, send info to address book, sync contacts with your phone
  • Scan in documents to create searchable pdfs, capture editable text, organize your digital files
  • Send scanned items as attachments in one easy step right from NeatConnect to email, DropBox, Evernote, ftp, Box.com, etc

This is the best looking personal document scanner we could find but it generally only gets 3/5 stars on most review sites. The NeatConnect Cloud Scanner helps you scan and keep your documents organized. The product comes with a 3 month trial of the NeatCloud subscription, after that you’ll have to pay for the service. If you like the idea of having your documents scanned to the cloud, then this is the scanner for you. Many looking for an online scanner or app scanner end up turning to this document management system. Theres even a mobile app available that lets you download and view your documents on the go. If paying for the subscription doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, we recommend you scan directly to DropBox – the popular way to store and share files online. Additionally you scan to email if you prefer. To scan to your Mac you’ll have to use a USB cable as it is not wireless capable. For ($427 USD) this is a capable document scanner with a lot of cloud features. If you must have wireless scanning you can try the latest model which offers both the cloud and wireless functions but at a higher price ($499 USD).

Brother Printer ADS2500W Document Scanner for Mac

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  • Scans up to 24ppm B&W and Color
  • Network Connectivity – Wireless and Ethernet. Scan to Cloud, USB flash memory drive, Android phone or tablet, E-mail server, FTP, Network, PC/Mac (Image, OCR, E-mail and File).
  • Simple, intuitive user interface with 3.7-Inch Color TouchScreen
  • High quality color and mono scanning up to 600 x 600 dpi (optical) / 1200 x 1200 dpi (interpolated)
  • TWAIN, WIA, ICA, and ISIS compatibility enables easy setup to scan documents into a variety of applications

The Brother ADS2500W Document Scanner features a bright color touchscreen display, wireless connectivity, cloud scanning, duplex (two-sided) scanning and OS X compatibility. It includes Presto! PageManger for Mac that lets you merge files and monitor your scanned documents to help you get the most out of the scanner. As with most of these document scanners you don’t have to use included software but it’s nice if you like to try the advanced options available to you. At ($599 USD), it’s hard to suggest this scanner over others but if you are used to or familiar with the quality of Brother products this could be for you.

Epson WorkForce Pro GT-S80 Color Document Image Scanner for Mac

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  • 40 ppm, 80 ipm scan speeds1; scans both sides of one sheet in just one pass
  • 75-page Auto Document Feeder
  • Front control panel with up to 10 user-definable scan jobs including scan-to-PDF, email and more
  • Epson WorkForce Pro GT-S80 Document Scanner – 48 bit Color – 16 bit Grayscale – 600 dpi Optical
  • Mfg #: B11B194081

The best feature of the Epson WorkForce Pro high volume document scanner is the 75-page auto document feeder. If you have to scan a lot of documents at once this is the product for you. It doesn’t allow for wireless scanning but what it lacks in that area it makes up in others. It should be called the WorkHorse because it lets you customize everything from resolution to file type and can scan up to 1800 documents per day. If you are dealing with financial or legal documents this scanner should be given some thought. At ($664 USD), it’s considered the most expensive but it is meant for a heavy workloads.

Bottom Line

There you have it the most popular document scanners for Apple computers. If we had to pick the most versatile all-around document scanner to buy it would be the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500. The ScanSnap has the speed, wireless functionality and most importantly ease of use. As we mentioned before going paperless, by scanning your documents, frees you from paperwork and helps you and your family create a secure place for your important life documents. These document scanners are especially important for people who work at home or run a business and need to know how to scan a document. Have you bought a document / receipt scanner recently? How has it affected your business or productivity?

CalDigit releases new Thunderbolt Station 2 available now for pre-order

With their new release CalDigit is looking to take back market share by providing a significant upgrade to their Thunderbolt docking station hardware. The new Thunderbolt Station 2 (TS2) provides Thunderbolt 2 support and is their most anticipated product to date. The TS2 comes with a host of new features. First, the look is professional and matches most Apple products on the market today, a great pairing to your MacBook Pro. The redesigned case now comes standard with Thunderbolt 2 ports accessing speeds of 20 GB/sec, two eSATA ports and the HDMI supports 4K resolution.

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The new CalDigit TS2 is a direct competitor to the Elgato Thunderbolt 2 Dock and Belkin’s Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock HD. Even thought the TS2 doesn’t come with a Thunderbolt cable it’s pre-order price of $170 makes it the most affordable model. Not to mention it has more ports and a solid die-cast aluminum construction. It will be interesting to see if the other manufacturers begin to reduce their prices.

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