The Mac Observer reviews many products over the course of the year, and many are very good, some even great. Then, of course, there are products that are simply amazing, get perfect 10s and deserve special recognition. Also, regrettably, there are some that are just awful. Here’s a list we put together of the best and worst products we reviewed in 2010. The title of each product is also a link to the TMO review.
The Best Products we Reviewed
These products exhibit superior design and implementation. They are brilliant in concept and execution and are a joy to own. If there are any “cons,” they are too minor to be of concern. The products received a perfect 10, “Outstanding.”
X-Band for iPad by TKO Solutions. This is a great product for anyone who needs to hold the iPad in one hand securely and operate it with the other hand, for example demos. The price is modest as well.
Printopia by Ecamm Networks Printopia does something elegant and useful: it creates a print server on the Mac that also speaks the IPP protocol to the iPad. Any printer connected to a shared Mac can be printed to from the iPad from your home network. Brilliant and simple and inexpensive.
Apple TV by Apple. from the review: “For non-technical consumers who are looking to take control of their TV viewing by using the Internet, the product is easy enough to set up. No installer guy needs to come to the house, and there’s no need for a DVR because one can watch on one’s own schedule anyway. And there are no commercials to skip over.” It’s a winning product.
tChess Pro by Tom Kerrigan. There are lots of chess programs out there, but there are few that combine the elegance and mathematics of chess with an elegant and beautiful user interface. This app does just that, and it makes playing chess an even more transcendant experience.
iPod nano by Apple. “There are people who wear jewelry for the love of gems. There’s the sparkle, the flashes of color, the finely cut faceting and the pleasant feeling of wearing and exhibiting something beautiful.” The iPod nano 6G is one of those gems that you can wear. It sparkles with design brilliance.
The Worst Products we Reviewed
These products were a disappointment to the reviewer and received very low ratings. The rating given is listed in parentheses, and the lowest possible TMO rating is 2. The sense here is that the company needs to make immediate and dramatic fixes based on the reviewer’s experience and judgment.
Calculator HD by Crowd Cafe. By no stretch of the imagination can a scientific calculator round numbers less than 10-15 to zero simply for convenience and speed. It’s beautiful, and it flunks (2)
ZAGG Invisible Shield for iPad by ZAGG. “I believe it will be a challenge, given the state of the product, without included documentation and without better markings to identify each strip, for any normal person to apply these very tiny strips to the phone accurately and keep them there.” The reviewer felt that products like this strain one’s vision, patience and hand-eye coordination to the limit, and one’s money is simply better spent on a bumper or standard case. (2)
NuVue iPad Privacy Protector by Newer Technology. “If it weren’t for the air bubbles and difficulty I had installing it, the NuVue Privacy Protector wouldn’t be a bad product. But I found the air bubbles and bent corner so annoying I removed the product… So, because I found the product so difficult to install properly and easily damaged during installation, I can’t recommend it in good conscience.” (2)
Solar Walk by Vito Technology. The universe is a complex and mysterious place. Writers and developers often strain to represent those complexities, and very often art and inspiring video is required to capture people’s imaginations. But when the art gets in the way of the science, for the sake of attracting the customer, then the product, as a scientific app, fails. (5)
Farmville for iPhone by Zynga. “The game’s responsiveness just isn’t there. Aside from the initial lag in loading your farm, which is understandable, the game is still fairly slow. Loading friends’ farms takes a fair bit of time, and sending/receiving gifts is extremely slow. The app also suffers from fairly frequent crashes, even after Zynga’s recent update. I noticed that after visiting four or five neighbors to fertilize their crops, the app would just bomb out to the home screen, forcing me to relaunch the game if I wanted to keep playing.” (5)