Across the How-To guides I’ve written for adding solid state drives (SSDs) to iMacs, Mac Pros, Mac minis and MacBooks, there was one option I left out: thumb drives. While external SSDs such as Elgato’s Thunderbolt Drives and Samsung’s T1 can do two things — dramatically speed up Macs and add storage space — thumb drives tend to be much slower, lower in capacity, and made from inexpensive materials to achieve smaller sizes and price points.
Other World Computing’s new Envoy Pro mini (120GB/$119, 240GB/$199) sits directly between thumb drives and SSDs in both features and performance. “It’s nearly twice as fast as the average thumb drive,” OWC says, and roughly the size of an actual adult thumb — larger than most USB flash drives, but a lot smaller than traditional external hard drives, while promising “desktop-class” SSD speeds, capacities, and build quality. Unlike common plastic thumb drives, it’s made from aluminum and uses a USB 3.0 connector, yet matches desktop SSD 120GB or 240GB storage capacities. It’s affordable, but clearly designed to be a professional option.
How does it actually stack up? Read on…
- A 120GB or 240GB SSD in a 3.7″ by 0.94″ by 0.44″ metal case
- Includes USB 3.0 connector and USB 3.0 extension cable for use with laptop and desktop Macs
- Lanyard included for easy carrying on the neck
- Actual speeds are between common USB thumb drives and higher-end desktop SSDs
Measuring 3.7″ long by 0.94″ wide by 0.44″ tall at its thickest points, Envoy Pro mini looks like a silver metallic version of a classic thumb drive, packaged with a detachable black fabric lanyard and a thick black 14″ USB 3.0 cable. A sturdy metal O-ring is built into one short edge for connecting the lanyard, and a plastic-lined metal cap on the other end detaches to expose the USB plug.
While the drive itself is thin enough to fit beside other USB plugs on most Macs, the extension cable enables you to easily connect and disconnect it from the rear-mounted USB ports on desktop Macs if you want. There’s no impact on transfer speeds when using the cable; it’s bona fide USB 3.0.
It’s easy to miss the first time you handle Envoy Pro mini, but there’s a seam between its top and bottom halves, and on the right angles, you can see a yellow light glowing through it near the USB plug to indicate SSD power. The light is subtle enough not to glow beyond the back edge of a Mac, but can be seen if you twist the drive when it’s attached to the extension cable.
When Envoy Pro is first plugged in, it appears to be far lower in capacity than expected; you’re actually seeing only a small partition that holds documentation and optional bundled software, namely Prosoft’s Data Backup 3 and Intech’s disk management tool SpeedTools Utilities 3. An OWC app called OWC Drive Guide quickly formats the drive to its full 120GB or 240GB capacity, at which point it will look and work like any other hard drive.
The actual formatted capacity of the 240GB drive we tested was just under 236GB including OWC’s software, or a hair under 240GB if you erase the OWC Software folder. If you’re accustomed to hard drives that promise a given capacity but miss the number by 5 or 10GB after formatting, you’ll be pleased that Envoy Pro mini delivers what it claims — at least, on the capacity side.
When it comes to speed, I found Envoy Pro mini’s real-world performance to be markedly better than the typical flash drive, but not as fast as OWC’s claim of “sustained speeds up to 433MB/second.” Paired with a USB 3.0 Retina MacBook Pro, the 240GB version of Envoy Pro mini sustained read speeds around 209MB/second with read speeds of 155MB/second, which is roughly on par with high-end flash competitors such as SanDisk’s Extreme Pro 128GB drive. But it’s 10-30 times faster than low-end USB flash drives, where 20MB/second read and 5MB/second write speeds are common.
On the other hand, Elgato’s 256GB Thunderbolt Drive+ is about twice as fast as Envoy Pro mini over USB 3.0, with 425MB/second read and 328MB/sec write speeds. However, to get that speed, you also have to pay more than twice the price (currently $419), and deal with an enclosure that’s around 10 times larger. Envoy Pro mini can be worn around your neck; a Thunderbolt Drive+ will occupy a large pocket or space in a bag.
In short, Envoy Pro mini sits in the middle ground between traditional thumb drives and competing external SSDs. As compared with SanDisk’s options, Envoy Pro mini offers better build quality and the option of greater capacity, as it’s offered in 120GB or 240GB sizes, while SanDisk’s plasticky flash drives tap out at 128GB. Versus higher-end SSDs, OWC’s option offers the same professional-grade metal exterior, high-quality NAND flash, and similar capacities, but not as much speed. As a result, it’s easy to recommend Envoy Pro mini as a super-portable solution to augment your Mac’s existing storage, though it won’t likely become a faster replacement boot drive. Give it serious consideration if you need an SSD-sized bump in Mac capacity that you can take anywhere.Manufacturer:
Other World ComputingPrice:
Macs with USB 3.0/2.0*
Filed under: Mac, Reviews Tagged: 120GB, 240GB, Envoy Pro mini, flash drive, Other World Computing, OWC, SSD, USB 3.0
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If you've been a couch potato for too long, Apple Watch might be just what you need to motivate you to get moving and get healthy. The following video and tutorial will show you how to track your daily activities and how to monitor your workouts using the Activity and Workout apps.
Tracking Daily Activities
Thanks to the motion sensors built into Apple Watch, it's always keeping track of your movement when it's on your wrist. Whether you are sitting around doing nothing, or participating in a decathlon, Apple Watch knows your movements and will keep you informed.
- Open the Activity app on Apple Watch.
- Swipe left to the "Move, Exercise, and Stand" screen and tap Get Started.
- Enter your personal information (gender, age, weight, and height).
- Turn the Digital Crown to set the information and tap to Continue.
- Tap Start Moving.
- Or, use the Apple Watch app on your iPhone to enter the information, under the "Health" section of the app.
Once the information is entered, Apple Watch will do the monitoring for you. When you take a brisk walk, run, or take a spin class, your movement heart rate data will be tracked on your Activity Rings.
The Move Ring
The Move ring tracks calories you've burned by moving. Depending on how regularly you get around, Apple Watch will adjust your goals. So, if you are fairly sedentary, a short walk up and down a few flights of stairs will help you on your way to filling in your ring. However, if you regularly walk 12,000 steps in a day, your Move ring will be harder to fill. During the setup process, you choose your typical level of activity to get a ballpark movement goal, adjust it manually if you wish, and then let the Apple Watch tweak things over time.
The Exercise Ring
The Exercise ring tracks how many minutes of brisk activity you have completed in a day. Brisk exercise means movement that gets your heart rate up. So, a leisurely stroll to your boss' office across the building does not count. However, if you were to skip to his or her office, you might make some progress on your Exercise ring.
The Stand Ring
The Stand ring is there to remind you that you need to move your body. Once per hour, Apple Watch will remind you to take a walk for a minute. Even if you are at a standing desk, you will be reminded. The idea is to get away from your desk for a minute, whether you are standing or sitting, and the Apple Watch wants to see you up and around in at least 12 hours of your day.
How to View Your Progress
- Swipe up on the Watch face, then swipe to the Activity Glances.
- Tap the Glance to open the Activity App.
- Swipe to see individual activities.
- Swipe up on an activity or turn the Digital Crown to see the activity as a graph.
- Or, you can view the information on the Activity app on your iPhone. Some watch faces include Activity as a complication option, letting you see your miniature activity rings at any time and access the Activity app with a tap right from there.
How to View Activity Achievements
You will earn achievements for completing fitness goals, like working out every day of the week, doubling your daily move goal, and completing all of your activity goals for the entire week. You can keep track of which achievements you've earned in the Apple Watch app.
- Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
- Tap the Achievement tab.
- Tap an achievement to see your progress.
How to Manually Adjust Your Goals
Apple Watch will update your goals every Monday based on your previous week's activities. However, you can manually change them whenever you like.
- Open the Activity app on Apple Watch
- Firmly press on the display screen until you see a prompt to change your move goal.
- Adjust your goal according to your realistic ability.
Apple Watch will send you friendly reminders about your daily activities. If you'd rather not get notifications, you can turn some or all of them off.
- Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
- Tap My Watch.
- Tap Activity.
- Toggle the switches for each reminder on or off according to your desire.
In addition to keeping track of your daily activities, Apple Watch will help you monitor your workouts. You can set specific goals based on length of time, calories burned, or distance. Once activated, Apple Watch will track your heart rate and movement and help you get through your workout.
Starting a Workout
- Open the Workout app, then tap the type of workout you will be doing, including running, cycling, rowing, and more. As you select workouts, Apple Watch will track your preferences and put the most used ones on top.
- Swipe left or right to choose a calorie, time, or distance goal.
- Turn the Digital Crown to set the number.
- When you are ready to start your workout, tap Start.
Pausing your Workout
You can pause a workout at any time by firmly pressing the display screen. Do this if you stop for any reason during your workout when you don't want things like your heart rate tracked. Tap Resume to continue.
Ending your Workout
To stop a workout early, or if you've gone past your goal and still wanted to do more, but now it is time to stop, firmly press on the display screen. Then, tap End. Turn the Digital Crown to view your result summary. Tap Save to keep the information or Discard to delete it.
Apple Watch's Activity and Workout apps are great for getting you motivated and keeping you on track. The Activity app on Apple Watch will show you your progress and allow you to fine-tune your daily activities in order to ensure that you keep moving and stay healthy.
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When the Apple Watch first launched, we showed you in detail how to pair and set-up the device with your iPhone. Now, we’re going to show you how to unpair your Apple Watch from your iPhone. There are several reasons one might want to unpair the two devices…
The first step in the unpairing process is to ensure that your Apple Watch and iPhone are close enough together to be connected. Then, you’ll want to open the Apple Watch App on your iPhone.
From there, tap “My Watch” tap at the bottom of the interface, then choose the “Apple Watch” panel, as shown in the screenshots above. Then tap the “Unpair Apple Watch” button. The app will ask you to confirm that you wish to unpair the two devices, which will erase all content and settings from the Watch. Your iPhone, however, will make a backup of your Apple Watch before completing the unpairing process. You’ll later be able to restore that backup to a new Apple Watch if you desire.
If you wish to unpair your Apple Watch from your iPhone directly from your wrist as opposed to using the app, you can do so by heading into the Settings app, then choosing General, Reset, and Erase all Content and Settings.
Once the process is complete, you can pair and setup Apple Watch with your iPhone again using these steps.
Filed under: How-To, Apple Watch Tagged: Apple watch, Apple Watch setup, Apple Watch troubleshooting, guide, how to, iPhone, screenshots, selling Apple Watch, Setup, troubleshooting, troubleshooting Apple Watch, unpair Apple Watch
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Tweetbot for iPhone was updated today with support for Twitter’s recently-introduced ‘quote tweet’ format. The update adds a new option called “standard quote” under the retweet style options. Selecting that setting will change the “quote tweet” button in the timeline so that instead of copying the body of the tweet into the compose screen, it inserts only the URL of the original post.
Linked tweets will appear as embedded media within the timeline, allowing you to quickly see text and images without tapping through to the next screen. You’ll still need to tap through the preview to the original post to watch animated GIFs or videos, however. Embedded tweets also appear as a larger preview on the tweet detail page.
For those who liked the old “quote tweet” setting in Tweetbot, you’ll find that it’s still available under a new name. Just set your “quote format” to “copy tweet.” Previously included options like “RT with comment” and “via @user” are also still available.
Tweebot for iPhone is one of the first third-party apps to integrate this feature after it was made available to developers earlier last month. You can download the 3.6 update for free if you already own the app, or for $4.99 if you haven’t purchased an earlier version of Tweetbot 3.
Filed under: Apps Tagged: Tweetbot, Twitter
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Along with the discounts on Macs and iOS devices that we share each week, we've also rounded up this week's best app deals and we've hunted down some discounts on useful Apple accessories.
iPad Air 2
Best Buy continues to offer the lowest prices we've seen on a single iPad Air 2: the 16GB Cellular iPad Air 2 in silver is available for $499.99, $130 off its regular price.
B&H Photo is offering a small discount on all of its iPad Air 2 models, dropping prices by $30 to $50. With the discount, the 16GB WiFi only iPad Air 2 is priced at $459 and the 64GB model is priced at $569.
MacMall is also offering some discounts on iPad Air 2 models, dropping the prices by $30 to $50. With the discount, the 16GB entry-level Wi-Fi only iPad Air 2 is priced at $459, while the Wi-Fi-only 64GB iPad Air 2 is available for $539.
Best Buy has a couple of original iPad Air cellular models available at low prices. The 16GB Verizon iPad Air is available for $379.99, and the 32GB Verizon iPad Air is available for $429.99.
Both Best Buy and B&H Photo have deep discounts on some remaining stock of now-discontinued higher-capacity iPad Air models, as listed below.
- iPad Air Wi-Fi Space Gray 128GB - $549
- iPad Air Cellular Space Gray 128GB (AT&T) - $499
- iPad Air Cellular Silver 128GB (AT&T) - $499
- iPad Air Cellular Silver 64GB (AT&T) - $429
- iPad Air Cellular Space Gray 64GB (AT&T) - $449
- iPad Air Cellular Silver 64GB (Verizon) - $566.99
- iPad Air Cellular Space Gray 64GB (Verizon) - $449
- iPad Air Cellular Silver 128GB (Verizon) - $579
- iPad Air Cellular Space Gray 128GB (Verizon) - $549
iPad mini 3
B&H Photo is offering some modest discounts on various iPad mini 3 models, dropping the price by up to $60. The 64GB Cellular iPad mini 3 in gold is priced at $549, while the 16GB Cellular gold version is priced at $479. The Wi-Fi only 128GB iPad mini 3 in Silver is $549, while the 64GB version is priced at $439.
Discounts for each model and and color vary, but most models are being offered at a lower price than you'll find at the Apple Store, and buying from B&H, you won't have to pay sales tax unless you're in New York.
iPad mini 2
Best Buy, B&H Photo, and Amazon have remaining stock of now-discontinued higher-capacity iPad mini 2 models, which are a good deal if you're looking for an iPad mini. Compared to the iPad mini 3, the iPad mini 2 only lacks Touch ID.
- iPad mini Cellular Silver 128GB (AT&T) - $449
- iPad mini Cellular Space Gray 128GB (AT&T) - $449
- iPad mini Cellular Space Gray 64GB (AT&T) - $399.99
- iPad mini Cellular Silver 128GB (Verizon) - $434
- iPad mini Cellular Space Gray 128GB (Verizon) - $534.99
- iPad mini Cellular Space Gray 64GB (Verizon) - $429.99
- 21.5-inch 2.7GHz/8GB/1TB (Adorama) (B&H Photo) - $1,189, $110 off
- 21.5-inch 2.9GHz/8GB/1TB (Adorama) (B&H Photo) - $1,389, $120 off
- 27-inch 3.2GHz/8GB/1TB (Adorama) (B&H Photo) - $1,689, $110 off
- 27-inch 3.4GHz/8GB/1TB (Adorama) (B&H Photo) - $1,794, $205 off
- 27-inch 3.5Ghz/8GB/1TB Retina iMac (Adorama) - $2,329.99, $170 off
- 1.4GHz/4GB/500GB (Amazon) (Adorama) (B&H Photo) - $464.99, $34 off
- 2.6GHz/8GB/1TB (MacMall) - $658.99, $40 off
- 2.8GHz/8GB/1TB (MacMall) - $934.99, $60 off
- 2015 11-inch 1.6GHz/4GB/128GB (B&H Photo) - $799, $100 off
- 2015 11-inch 1.6GHz/4GB/256GB (Best Buy) (Amazon) (B&H Photo) (Adorama) - $1044.99, $50 off
- 2015 13-inch 1.6GHz/4GB/128GB (Amazon) (B&H Photo) (Adorama) - $949.99, $50 off
- 2015 13-inch 1.6GHz/4GB/256GB (Best Buy) - $1,099.99, $100 off
- 2014 11-inch 1.4GHz/4GB/128GB (Adorama) - $719.99, $180 off
- 2014 11-inch 1.4GHz/4GB/256GB (Amazon) (B&H Photo) - $899, $200 off
- 2014 13-inch 1.4GHz/4GB/128GB (B&H Photo) - $819, $180 off
- 2014 13-inch 1.4GHz/4GB/256GB (Amazon) (Adorama) (B&H Photo)- $1,029, $170 off
Retina MacBook Pro
- 2015 13-inch 2.7Ghz/8GB/128GB (Amazon) (Adorama) (B&H Photo) - $1,234.99, $64 off
- 2015 13-inch 2.7GHz/8GB/256GB (B&H Photo) (MacMall) - $1,424.99, $74 off
- 2015 13-inch 2.9GHz/8GB/512GB (Best Buy) (B&H Photo) - $1709.99, $90 off
- 2014 15-inch 2.2GHz/16GB/256GB (B&H Photo) (MacMall) - $1,799, $200 off
- 2014 15-inch 2.2GHz/16GB/256GB (Adorama) (B&H Photo) (MacMall)- $1,799.99, $200 off
- 2014 15-inch 2.5GHz/16GB/512GB (Adorama) (B&H Photo) (MacMall) -$2,249, $250 off
- 2014 13-inch 2.6GHz/8GB/128GB (B&H Photo) - $1,129, $170 off
- 2014 13-inch 2.6GHz/8GB/256GB (Adorama) (B&H Photo) - $1,249, $239 off
- 2014 13-inch 2.8GHz/8GB/512GB (B&H Photo) - $1,529 $270 off
There are quite a few apps that are on sale at discounted prices or available for free for a limited time. We'll highlight a few here, but make sure to check out our sister site AppShopper for a complete list.
MoneyWiz 2 is available for $0.99, down from $4.99. 360 degree photo taking app Cycloramic for iPhone 6 is available for free, down from $1.99. Flick Kick Field Goal is available for free, down from $1.99.
Adventure game Swordigo is available for free, down from $2.99. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is available for $2.99, down from $9.99. Worms3 is available for $0.99, down from $4.99. Alto's Adventure is available for $1.99, down from $2.99. Hours Time Tracking is available for free, down from $6.99.
Mighty Switch Force! Hose It Down! was named Apple's App of the Week, so it will be free to download until next Thursday when a new app is picked.
Groupon is selling a single set of Apple EarPods for $12.99 or a set of two for $24.99, a decent discount off the regular price of $29. Groupon has the Apple Bluetooth keyboard for $63.99, down from $79. Groupon also has the OtterBox Defender Case and Holster for the iPhone 6 available for $29.99, down from $59.95.
StackSocial is offering the Satechi Aluminum 4-port USB Clamp Hub for $19.99, down from $29.99. Woot is selling a Lightning cable 2-pack for $15.99 until tomorrow, a good deal because one cable is normally priced at $19.99. Beats by Dre Solo HD Drenched headphones are available from Target for $129.99, down from $169.99.
In celebration of Mother's Day, Vaja is offering 10 percent off all of its premium leather device cases. Just enter promo code MAMA when checking out. TwelveSouth is offering 12 percent off site wide with the promo code LOVEMOM though May 10.
Groupon's still running a big Apple event and selling a range of Apple products and accessories at discounted prices, including the LifeProof Fre case for the iPad Air, Apple EarPods, Speck MacBook cases, MagSafe chargers, Mophie battery cases, and more.
Groupon is selling the Griffin Survivor Case for iPhone 5/5s for $11.99, down from $49.99. The MyCharge Hub 9000 Power Bank is available for $64.99 from Amazon, down from $139.99. Incase is offering a free Portable Power 2500 USB battery pack with a $150 purchase using the code POWERONUS15.
MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors.
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