Cole Rise created the above picture in PhotoForge2 by layering an image of a glass of water over a landscape photo, then using the vignette and curves tools for the final look.
Rise is a professional photographer whose moody shots will look familiar to any regular Instagram user — he created the Hudson, Sierra, Sutro, and Rise filters for the app, and he has more than 160,000 followers. Here he discusses some of the apps he uses to create his atmospheric iPhone photos.
I love this app. It’s got great curve controls for adjusting colors. You can also layer effects and add blurs — a lot of the stuff you’d do with Photoshop. So you can do most of your editing in-phone, no computer needed. Some Instagram filters started with stuff I was doing here. Pro Tip: I add a layer that’s just color and create a vignette on it, rather than directly on the image, so that your vignette is in color rather than just gray scale.
Average Camera Pro
I get images with this that I would have thought I could only get with my Canon 5D Mark II. The app lets you snap a ton of photos in a row, up to 128, then averages them together. If you’re shooting moving water, for example, it will get blurred while everything else stays steady. (You need to use a tripod.) Rivers end up looking like bands of fog. Pro Tip: You can use it to average out noise in low-light settings, like at sunset.
Spin in a circle and snap photos for a 360-degree panorama. But what’s smart about this app is how it uses the gyroscope and accelerometer. As you move, it looks at the previous image and tracks the scene, then snaps for you at just the right moment. Pro Tip: The stitching isn’t so accurate close up. If you experiment with this, you can create portraits that look like photo collages — turn flaws to your advantage.
The iPhone is already pretty good at creating lens flare, but you don’t know what you’re missing until you try this app. You can choose from dozens of lens and flare types and customize them with rotation and scaling to get the right effect. It’s great for landscapes. Pro Tip: Use it sparingly; it can look overdone and cheesy. The effect works best when you can’t tell it’s there. Drag the flare off the image so just a bit of it is showing.
Read on for some advice from the Doctor…
Anyone who’s ever taken their iPhone on a road trip has at some point yearned for a little extra juice along the way. In the middle of a cross-country flight, or in the middle of nowhere in the backcountry, a back-up power source isn’t just a handy extra, it can be a necessity.
Here are a few options to give you a few more hours of GPS-assisted navigation on your hike, one more run through Flirtin’ with Disaster on I-95, or an extra hour of Edge before the plane lands. All of these battery cases not only boost your iPhone’s staying power, but they also provide extra protection and some enhanced functionality.
With its clean lines and snappy colors, Mophie’s Juice Pack ($80) has the kind of looks you wouldn’t mind showing around the office. The matte texture helps gives the phone some extra grip, but the case also completely wraps around the iPhone, acting as a fully protective sleeve. I dropped my Mophie-encased phone several times on concrete and tile without scratching it. It just about doubles the iPhone’s battery life, so you blow through a few seasons of American Dad before you kill the battery.
The Juice Pack gives you the option of using either the iPhone’s battery or the spare battery first. If you opt to run down the iPhone’s battery first — which is recommended, as being on a constant charge takes energy — just flip the switch on the bottom of the case to stand-by mode.
The case needs to be attached to the iPhone to charge. The case is a bit bulkier than most protective cases, but it’ll fit into all but the skinniest of skinny jeans.
WIRED Good-looking. Doubles battery life. Drop-worthy protection.
TIRED Too bulky for some hipster pockets.
Sol’s case ($90) is not only the longest-lasting battery case in this lineup, it’s also the only one with a solar panel to let you charge the phone au naturel.
It’s also remarkable as a speed charger. When the battery inside the case is fully charged, it can juice up your phone extremely quickly — it charged my dead iPhone 3Gs in under an hour, rather than the standard 3-hour charging time through a wall socket. But if you just leave the phone in the case all the time and let the power trickle in as needed, it can triple the life of your iPhone. It kept my iPhone alive through a 12-hour trip to the summit of Mt. Shasta. It would be great for a century ride, especially if you plan on using your battery-sucking GPS all day, or even if you just want to stay connected so you can Instagram the whole thing.
When both the phone and the case are depleted, the Sol Hybrid case can charge up not only with sunlight, but also with artificial indoor lighting. Be aware that fully recharging the case’s battery, even in full sun, is an all-day task.
The Hybrid is the least protective of the cases, however. It’s a bit thicker than the Mophie Juice Pack, but it doesn’t fully cover the top of the iPhone. If you drop it and it lands top-down, you could be hosed.
WIRED Monster battery life extension. Solar charger provides energy in emergency situations. Speedy iPhone charge. One unexpected, yet welcome, feature is the LED flashlight on the bottom of the case.
TIRED Not as protective as other options. Solar charger is too slow to be used for anything other than emergencies.
In the iPhone playground, the Magellan ToughCase ($100) would take the other cases’ lunch money.
Big and burly, the Magellan’s key strength is its durability. In Yosemite, I dropped the case a few times, even kicking it into a stream when trying to balance the iPhone camera and a water filter. My phone came out of the woods safe and sound.
In addition to protecting your iPhone against everything from gnarly drops to total submersion, the Magellan also sports an extra boost of juice for your phone, roughly doubling your battery life. That’s decent, but other cases offer more longevity. It also tightens the GPS accuracy to about 10 to 15 feet. That’s not a huge advantage over the iPhone’s 21 feet, but if you’re adventure racing, or if you’re a geocacher who doesn’t mess around, the Magellan can give you an edge.
It’s definitely too bulky to serve as an everyday case for city slickers, but when you’re going to be in the wild, or if you work in construction, the ToughCase will keep your iPhone safe and powered up.
WIRED Makes your iPhone almost impervious to harm. Increases the accuracy of the GPS reading to about 10 to 15 feet. Doubles battery life. If you’re in bear country, the Magellan can be used as a weapon when placed in a tube sock and swung overhead.
TIRED Freaking huge.
Photos by Ariel Zambelich/Wired
An 18-volt cordless drill is the go-to power tool for pro builders. The latest models use ultralight lithium-ion batteries and compact designs to put all that construction-site brawn in a nimble, home-size package.
1. Milwaukee M18 2601-22
Engineered with homeowners and backyard carpenters in mind, the 4-pound M18 performed beautifully on every reasonable task we set it to, including driving a finger-thick half-inch lag bolt to the hilt in a solid slab of cedar. For nimbler work, the low-gear setting provided enough precision to literally take apart the competition. It can’t match a full-size hammer drill for jobs like sinking anchor bolts into granite, but those behemoths can’t match the versatility of the agile M18 for home use.
WIRED On a nonstop burn, Milwaukee’s fifth-gen Red Lithium battery lasted 63 minutes, almost double the endurance of our runner-up.
TIRED Battery “fuel” gauge is too cutesy. C’mon, this isn’t a Nissan Leaf.
2. Makita LXFD01CW
If the Makita were a car, it would appeal to buyers more for its reliability than its horsepower. The 3.3-pound unit boasts the sort of durable, all-metal drivetrain found in professional-grade drills, meaning it should last for years. It cranked out at least as much driving torque as the Milwaukee, but it wasn’t as capable when it came to backing out deeply sunk bolts. Don’t stray far from the charger, either. We got a paltry 14 minutes from the battery in our continuous-burn test.
WIRED Smart hook lets it hang from any belt. Durable build will outlast your projects.
TIRED Charger’s icons and blinking lights are overkill. For extended use, you’ll need to buy a backup battery or two—at about $70 a pop.
3. Hitachi DS18DSAL
At 3.3 pounds, the Hitachi tied for lightest drill in our roundup, yet it still sank those lag bolts with the best of them. More impressive, its comparatively small battery ran for 33 minutes in our burn test. We worry about long-term durability, though. It doesn’t feel as solidly built as the competition, and there are plastic components in the drivetrain. That might contribute to the forearm-friendly weight, but we’d accept a bit more heft to get sturdy metal.
WIRED Well-thought-out covers for quick motor access to replace worn-out brushes. Comes with a flashlight that uses the same battery.
TIRED The hard plastic grip might save weight, but it’s less comfortable than rubber and, we suspect, more prone to wear and tear.
4. DeWalt DCD760KL
DeWalt’s newest entry in the compact-18 category has a max rpm of 1,700 in drill mode (the others hit about 1,500) and made quick work of our cedar block. When it came to driving, though, the DeWalt was lacking. It conked out after just three lag bolts—most likely because the battery overheated and tripped an onboard circuit protector (a safety feature of all these drills). It needed a 15-minute cooldown before we could use it again. Something smaller and cheaper would do for home repairs, while serious carpentry requires something stronger.
WIRED Battery packs are backward-compatible with every 18-volt DeWalt tool since 1996.
TIRED Lasted just 10 minutes in our burn test. Overheats faster than Chris Brown.
Taking your job on the road is easier than ever, especially with the right mobile office tools. Just make sure you’re sitting in front of a work-appropriate background for those video calls.
1. Dell Latitude E6320
This powerful mobile command station packs a 2.6-GHz i5 processor, 320-GB drive, and 13.3-inch screen into a stowable 3.7-pound package. Built-in broadband connectivity means one less device to carry.
WIRED IT will love the streamlined management and security features, including software encryption and fingerprint recognition. Metal casing feels like it can take a beating.
TIRED Extra touchpad keys are redundant and distracting.
2. Innergie mCube Mini
Slip this 2.4-ounce adapter—touted as the smallest in the world—into your carry-on to take advantage of the growing number of flights with in-seat power outlets. It comes with 10 tips for charging just about any portable device—as long as it’s not a MacBook.
WIRED Didn’t get the tip you need? Innergie will send you the right one for free.
TIRED Tiny toggle switch for adjusting voltage is tough to find.
3. Hitachi LifeStudio Mobile Plus
This 500-GB drive harbors a detachable 4-GB flash drive that’s handy for quick runs to FedEx Office. But our favorite part of this portable package is the Cover Flow-like interface—a “3-D wall” for shuttling through photos, videos, and documents. The docking station just adds needless heft, though.
WIRED Includes 3 GB of cloud storage.
TIRED There are smaller portable drives out there. Cheaper ones, too.
4. Case Logic Hydrus
The Hydrus impressed with cushy compartments for a tablet, phone, and 16-inch laptop, besides a dozen other pockets and dividers that kept us organized enough to work while riding shotgun on a four-day cross-country drive. Plus, the rugged nylon holds its shape nicely.
WIRED Light blue lining makes spotting stuff easier. Large zipper pulls let you open and close pockets in a hurry.
TIRED Too few of those interior pockets have zippers.
$100, Case Logic
5. Brother PocketJet 6 Plus With Bluetooth
One of the smallest printers ever made, the new PocketJet has a rechargeable battery and Bluetooth connectivity. The whole thing weighs a mere 1.3 pounds, and it’s Windows- and Mac-compatible.
WIRED Thermal print technology (you might remember that from the ’80s) means you never need to buy toner or ink.
TIRED But it does require you to carry special paper.
6. HP Scanjet Professional 1000
We slipped a magazine page into the Scanjet and watched as the HP scanned both sides simultaneously in about 15 seconds, in full color. At 1.4 pounds, though, it’s twice as heavy as the popular NeatReceipts scanner but doesn’t use that weight to improve on anything.
WIRED Print-quality menus for settings like color mode and brightness.
TIRED Relatively heavy. Software installation took 30 minutes.
Editor’s note: Zing Toys sent us several boxes of its newest office weapons this week. We took advantage of “Take Our Children to Work Day” to kid-test the toys with the children of various Wired employees. These are their unedited reactions.
“It can’t stick to people. That’s what makes it suck.” –Luc, age 8
“It’s interesting. It shoots for you, so you don’t have to worry about getting your hand whacked.” –Clara, age 10
“This is awesome. You just trigger it, and it goes really far, and it sticks.” –Isabel, age 11
“The trigger is stuck.” –Clara, age 10
Zip-Bak Bow ($20)
“This thing is awesome! It gives you really good aiming. I also like how light it is and easy to carry. It’s made from really light materials so it can go a long distance.” –Isabel, age 11
“The fact that you have to pull it back so hard to get a good shot.” –Isabel, age 11, when asked about any downsides
“When it shoots.” –Ophelia, age 4, when asked what her favorite thing about it was
“Easier.” –Sadelle, age 3 3/4
“Yeah.” –Ophelia, age 4, when asked if she liked it
“When you let go.” –Ophelia, age 4, when asked what her favorite thing about it was
“This thing’s hard on aim. The chances of me breaking something are about 48 to 100.” –Isabel, age 11
“The shooting part.” –Ennio, age 4, when asked what his favorite thing about it was
Nerf Dart Gun (not actually being reviewed)
“The shooting part.” -Ennio, age 4, when asked what his favorite thing about it was
Photos by Jon Snyder/Wired.com
There’s a reason most cheap in-ear headphones sound that way: They only use one driver in each ear, which limits the audio range. If you want more life, more spaciousness, and more oomph out of your favorite
tracks, upgrade to some dual-driver earbuds.
On these models, each earpiece contains two separate speakers—one to handle the high and mid frequencies, and one to handle the bass. This separation creates a more rich and filled-out sound that makes
any kind of music sound better. A dual-driver design is also especially good for listening to high-quality audio from lossless rips, HD videos, or other high-bitrate sources.
The earphones have circuitry inside of them to split the signal path appropriately, so there’s no extra equipment to buy. Almost every design on the market will slot right into a standard headphone jack, and many of them come with familiar controls on the cord so you can pause the music, change tracks, and talk on the phone.
Because there’s twice as much speaker tech crammed into the same tiny space, dual-driver earbuds tend to be more expensive than their single-speaker cousins. But we’ve tested four pairs that will do justice to your tunes without blasting your savings.
1. Galaxy Audio EB10
Don’t jog with the EB10s; they’re bulky and tough to keep in place while moving quickly. But if your main goal is listening to high-end audio formats, you’d have to spend hundreds more to find anything better. They pulled the richest sounds from OGG and Apple lossless files of anything we tested, with deep, clear separation and bass that’s lower than the Mariana Trench. They’re not up for marathon listening sessions, though; the ear pads feel the opposite of the smooth tones that pour from them.
WIRED: Mellifluous sound from nearly any file format. Thick cord stands up to repeated abuse. Handsome carrying case.
TIRED: Rough ear pads are brutally uncomfortable for some users.
$280, Galaxy Audio
2. NOCS NS800
These low-profile slugs form a tight, almost symbiotic bond with your ear canal, scotching outside noises and transmitting sparkling tones. They sound like heaven, right? Sure, if your idea of bliss is light on bass. Deep lows are almost nonexistent, and the passive noise canceling can be a little disconcerting. Our advice? Rock these where it doesn’t matter if the external din is muffled to a whisper.
WIRED: Stainless steel construction is as handsome as it is durable. So comfortable you’ll actually look forward to wearing them. Simple, minimalist mic/remote combo.
TIRED: Hermetic seal kills too much ambient sound; it gets disorienting. Dude, where’s my bass?
3. Ultimate Ears UE700
Lightweights in heft but not quality, the UE700s were our top choice for the gym. The dainty pills insert neatly without closing off the outside world. We could hear shouts from a personal trainer (“Three more, prom queen!”) while getting down with some Wiz Khalifa. Audio quality is adequate in the low range but gets muddled in the mids. Highs are superb, though—as good as or better than anything else we tested.
WIRED: Lithe and extraportable. Generous ear-pad options ensure proper fit for everyone from kids to cauliflower-eared wrestlers.
TIRED: No volume control or mic on the (surprisingly flimsy) cord. Occasionally distracting levels of ambient noise.
$150, Ultimate Ears
4. Apple In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic
Yes, they’re two years old. But Apple’s dual-driver headphones are the cheapest decent ones we’ve found, and they crush the white iCruds included with every audio device coming straight outta Cupertino. The clear mids hold their own against the thump-heavy lows—great for, say, Wu-Tang or Wagner. But pop fans take note: The highest highs come out muddy.
WIRED: Stay planted firmly in ear even when jogging or sweating profusely. Responsive on-cord volume adjustment. Feather-soft silicone ear pads are easy to change.
TIRED: Trouble at the Aguilera end of the sound spectrum. White hue attracts grime and keeps it there.
Theater loaners are lousy: Buy your own 3-D eyewear. Plus, in the home market, passive TV technology seems to be winning out over battery-powered active options, meaning these specs will cover you from cineplex to sofa.
1. Oakley 3D Gascan
Oakley’s polarizing looks are always an issue. But there’s no denying the company’s optical precision. Some brands suffer distortion from curved lenses; Oakley delivers full wraparounds without eyestrain. The Gascan bends sharply at the temples to keep the frame out of the periphery, but there’s no perceptible image shift. And only the Gunnars could compete when it came to clarity and color fidelity. These are the best all-around 3-D glasses we’ve tried. They’d be even better with a matte frame to cut glare.
WIRED: Distortion-free light transfer. No noticeable ghosting between left and right images. Lightweight, sport-inspired design for no-fuss fit.
TIRED: Aggro design not for everybody. Glossy frame bounces light.
2. Gunnar Midnight 3D
Our favorite in the style department, the Midnight was at or near the top in terms of image quality, too. Though it doesn’t wrap as extensively as the Gascan, the metal frame boasts a superthin construction and matte finish that combine to reduce disruption in the periphery. True to Gunnar’s tech-eyewear heritage, the Midnight fights eyestrain with minimal tinting, precision geometry, and hard coatings that survived two drops onto a concrete floor without any visible scratches. They do cost a lot of scratch, though.
WIRED: Slick design would be at home on the streets of Stockholm. Spring-loaded hinges snap into place.
TIRED: Smallish lenses leave the frame visible in all directions. Nose pads pinched some testers. Costly.
3. Polaroid VIP
The cheapest glasses in our lineup certainly felt that way. The plastic frame seems more kids’ toy than performance eyewear. But that might be the point: If you’ve got kids and a 3-D TV, you’re going to have kids breaking 3-D glasses. The VIPs are inexpensive enough to replace but not so cheap that image quality is unacceptable. The high, full-wrap frame delivered the most unobstructed view in our test, and the lenses let through as much light as pricier options. They add a yellow tint, though—faint but noticeable.
WIRED: Lusciously wide field of view. Hard-shell carrying case. Competitive with glasses that cost five times as much.
TIRED: Give everything a mild sepia wash. White frame produces more glare.
4. Marchon EX3D
Each time our testers tried these on, the reaction was the same: five to 10 awkward seconds as their eyes adjusted. That’s not just image shift; it’s different shifts in each lens, meaning your brain has to work to realign everything into a single image. Like the VIPs, these rely on flimsier materials and construction to keep costs down. But ghosting is minimal, and color transmission approaches that of high-end models—bright with a faint cool-blue tint. Definitely better than the loaners you get at theaters, but frequent use would be a struggle.
WIRED: Snug frame and rubberized nosepiece for possibly the most comfortable fit of the bunch.
TIRED: Hinges don’t feel like they’ll last long. Tear-inducing eyestrain.