About the Author

Jeremy Horwitz

@horwitz

Author, lawyer, and award-winning restaurateur Jeremy Horwitz started his journalism career in the early 1990’s, covering video games as a freelancer before creating and running Ziff Davis’s Intelligent Gamer magazine. A graduate of Cornell Law School, he previously ran editorial for the Apple-centric site iLounge and created the historic iLounge Pavilion at CES before joining 9to5Mac and 9to5Toys as a Senior Editor. A lifelong consumer electronics expert and gourmet, he now focuses on the changing ways people play, eat, and travel. His Spanish restaurant and gintoneria Aro Bar de Tapas won multiple awards, including Best New Restaurant (Opened 2015-2016), Best Craft Cocktails, Best Desserts, and Best Charcuterie.

September 27, 2017

Yesterday, part 1 of how-to: build a $35 retro video game console with Raspberry Pi 3 + RetroPie discussed the “must-haves” – the Raspberry Pi 3 board, the free RetroPie emulation software, and a handful of necessary additional components you might well already have at home.

Today, we’re looking at the top 7 optional but useful RetroPie add-ons: things I’ve found particularly worthwhile during my personal testing. Some of these items overlap the “bare basics” recommendations in part 1, replacing them with fancier or more functional alternatives, while others are completely new. Once you’ve finished reading this, you’ll have my full list of best picks, and it’ll be time to start ordering the parts you want…

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September 26, 2017

The word “revolutionary” is used too casually these days. Real revolutions aren’t fast or frequent; they’re the product of many small changes slowly coming together to make a gigantic shift possible.

But thanks to declining prices and ever-shrinking mobile processors, computers are on the edge of an actual revolution. It’s now possible to buy a sub-$50 PC that requires little space or energy, yet does something highly useful (or fun) very well – comparable to a larger and more expensive machine from decades past. One prime example: retro gaming, which is taking a big leap forward thanks to a tiny $35 quad-core 1.2GHz computer and free software.

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January 5, 2016

Jaybird, maker of the popular sweatproof X and X2 Bluetooth headphones, has announced two new models planned for release in the second quarter of this year. Designed to appeal to athletes, the X3 ($150) and Freedom ($200) have both been redesigned from earlier, similarly-named models, and now use power-efficient Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology for full compatibility with the latest Apple and Android devices. Each will be available in five colors, and work with Jaybird’s MySound app to create user-defined equalizer settings…

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December 18, 2015

Every year, Apple puts together a beautiful-looking holiday gift guide on Apple.com, packed with the latest iOS devices, Macs, and accessories people would love to receive as gifts. The hitch is that Apple’s prices are almost always full retail, with no discounting, so it’s easy to spend anywhere from $5 to $300 more per item than if you just shopped around.

This year, 9to5Toys and 9to5Mac have done the bargain hunting for you. We’ve found savings on virtually every item on Apple’s holiday shopping list, which this year is organized into 6 sections: Gaming, Photography, Music, Fitness, Learning and Travel. Using the links below, you can save up to $350 on a new 12″ MacBook, between $20 and $80 on many third-party accessories, and up to $130 on a pair of Beats headphones

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November 23, 2015

expiredHerman Miller takes rare 15% off world’s best office chairs + desks, inc. award-winning Aeron, all shipped free

Herman Miller’s award-winning ergonomic chairs and desks are the gold standard in offices across the world, thanks to their industry-leading designs, long warranties, and retained value — all reasons they’re typically not discounted. Today, Herman Miller has launched a holiday sale, offering a rare, major 15% discount across everything in its online store, plus free shipping. Key Herman Miller reseller OfficeDesigns is passing through the same excellent 15% and free shipping deal, too. This is a perfect chance to save hundreds of dollars on top-quality office furniture, including the iconic Aeron, Eames, and Embody chairs, Envelop desks, beautiful sofas, and “working art” office storage solutions.

To put this sale in perspective, the top-selling Aeron Chair — normally $729 — can now be had for under $620 through Herman Miller, a savings of nearly $110. If you want to go basic, OfficeDesigns is offering an entry-level Aeron (shown above) for $577.15, a savings of over $100, with 15% off of all models including the gorgeous Executive versions with polished bases, leather armpads, and PostureFit backs. I personally use and strongly recommend Aeron chairs, as they’re incredibly comfortable, impressively adjustable, and offer superb back support.

Here are some of the other great deals from the Herman Miller and OfficeDesigns sales:

Access the Herman Miller and OfficeDesigns sales here; no coupon code is required for the 15% and free shipping deals. Both sales end December 14.

September 4, 2015

Portable grills are not a new thing, nor are they especially complex: if you’re looking to do basic tailgate-quality BBQing or Japanese-style yakitori grilling, you can achieve either goal for around $50 plus the $10 cost of charcoal, ignition fluid, and matches. What that will get you is a little fireproof box with a basic wire top, passive cooking features such as “adjustable air vents,” and no style.

Importing an award-winning design from Korea, a company called Homping USA is trying to change the face of portable grilling. Rather than selling a plain box with disposable parts, the Homping Grill ($199) is a 13″ circular grill with a washable 11.5″-diameter cooking surface. Available in silver with a black or orange base, it’s claimed to be “smokeless,” safe to touch, and easy to clean. A fan is built into the base so you can actively control the power of the charcoal fire inside, and a carrying bag is included for portability. After testing the Homping Grill, I had mixed feelings about its performance relative to much cheaper or peer-priced Weber portable grills, but some people may prefer its design regardless…

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August 21, 2015

Amazon is offering the titanium-colored version of Apple’s Beats Studio Wireless headphones for only $229.99 shipped. That’s around 40% off of the original $380 price, and the best we’ve ever seen for this particular premium metallic colorway. Seven other colors are currently available for $255 and up, with gold at $255 and metallic sky at $275.

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August 13, 2015

From 9to5Mac:

If you’ve been waiting for someone to release a giant-sized SSD to replace your computer’s mechanical hard drive, great news: Samsung’s just announced an SSD with more storage capacity than any spinning platter hard disk. The PM1633a is a 15.36TB SSD that’s being marketed as the world’s highest-capacity hard drive. As Ars Technica notes, that incredible capacity — over 120 times the storage of an entry-level MacBook Air or MacBook Pro — fits within a compact 2.5″ hard drive enclosure.

By comparison, Samsung just began to sell 2.5-inch 2TB SSDs for $800 (consumer) to $1000 (professional) last month. Read more on the PM1633a below… expand full story

March 14, 2015

Redesigned for easier reading and smaller download sizes, the 9to5Toys Lunch Break and 9to5 Last Call newsletters are great ways to get a roundup of every day’s top deals and gear in your inbox!

We typically post a dozen or more deals every day, so it can be hard to keep up with all of the great bargains and products we cover. Our Lunch Break newsletter arrives every day at around noon Eastern Time, with the Last Call newsletter arriving at around 6PM Eastern Time. It’s a perfect way to quickly see what’s going on in the Apple world, even if you’re reading offline.

9to5Toys is committed to your privacy, and never spams or sells/shares your email address with third parties. We also keep our Lunch Break and Last Call newsletter mailing lists separate, so you can choose to subscribe to either one or both.

Sign up here to get your first edition of Lunch Break, and here to get Last Call today. You can use these links to sign up for the 9to5Mac and 9to5Google newsletters, if they interest you!

Check out 9to5Toys on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and RSS!

March 12, 2015

“Great coffee” is a moving target. Thanks mostly to Starbucks, the typical coffee drinker today laughs off Sanka and other instant coffees that were considered great three decades ago. But at the same time, “third-wave” and “fourth-wave” coffee shops consider Starbucks to be a purveyor of mediocre coffee, and serious coffee drinkers agree. Independent coffee shops have continued to push coffee quality and variety forward, dragging donut shops, Starbucks, and home coffee makers to make better-tasting beverages in the process.

My Kitchen Tech column has previously explored the highest end of fancy at-home coffee with Chemex’s $250 Ottomatic pour-over coffee machine, and yesterday we covered KitchenAid’s announcement of a $250 deluxe coffee siphon brewer. But most people don’t want to spend that much money just to pour hot water on coffee grounds. So this week’s column takes a quick look at an option that’s around 90% less expensive, extremely popular, and capable of achieving excellent results: the $26 AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker. With an average Amazon user rating of 4.6/5 stars after nearly 3,700 Amazon reviews, the AeroPress requires a little more manual involvement, but pumps out great-tasting individual cups of coffee. Read on…

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expiredExclusive: Scosche offers 9to5 readers world’s smallest iPad/iPhone charger for $12 (Reg. $20)

Last year, iffy rumors claimed Apple was readying a redesigned U.S. iPhone wall adapter, featuring a wider body that presumably could output additional power. That didn’t happen, but third-party developers told us that they were ready with something better: chargers with iPad-caliber power, in roughly the same footprint as Apple’s iPhone adapter. That’s exactly what Scosche has accomplished with SuperCube ($20), which as you can see from the photo above is the smallest 12-Watt USB adapter we’ve seen. Offered in white or black, it has enough power to recharge any iPad, iPhone, or iPod at the maximum possible speed. And for the next week, Scosche is offering it at a special discount to 9to5Toys readers.

SuperCube uses a gently tapered trapezoidal shape that tapers from 1″ square on the USB end to around 1.1″ on the wall blade end and 1.8″ in total depth — mere millimeters larger than Apple’s 5W USB Power Adapter. The difference is in power: SuperCube can do full-speed recharges of literally everything from the 12W iPad 3 and 4, all of the other 10W iPads (including Airs and minis), newer 10W-capable iPhones, older 5W iPhones, and 2.5W iPods. We tested it with the super-power-hungry iPad 4, as well as iPhones and the iPad Air 2, and confirmed that the SuperCube works just as Scosche promised. Best of all, it doesn’t get hot, which is a big deal for such a small charger.

We knew when we first saw SuperCube that this would be a great pick for 9to5 readers. Scosche is sweetening the deal by offering it for only $12 (a 40% discount!) if you click here and apply promo code 9to5mac. Grab it now and you’ll get a fantastic price, plus a substantial space savings on a full-speed iPad wall adapter for travel. It also works with Samsung, HTC, LG, Nokia, Motorola, and other USB devices. More pictures are below…

March 11, 2015

While creating a perfectly-decorated latte requires creativity and talent, producing excellent-tasting coffee is less art than science. You need to heat water to the right temperature to extract flavor from – and not further burn – fresh coffee beans, then push the water through the beans and a filter into a vessel. You can do this manually with an Aeropress for under $30, upgrade to a traditional open-flame coffee siphon for under $50, or hold off for KitchenAid’s upcoming Siphon Coffee Brewer ($250), which uses a modern design to make siphoning kitchen-safe… expand full story

March 9, 2015

As the Apple Watch gets its long-awaited pricing and availability details today, millions of iPhone users — especially health-conscious people eying the entry-level Apple Watch Sport — will start making plans to preorder or line up for Apple’s new wearable. But the $349 price point means that many other people will keep using their iPhones during workouts and runs.

Today, I’ve rounded up some of the most affordable and best user-reviewed iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus armbands out there. The most basic option is only $10 with Amazon Prime shipping, while more protective solutions are in the $15 to $20 range. Some are complete standalone armbands, while others leverage your existing iPhone case for protection.

Do you want your iPhone armband to be fully sweatproof and weather-resistant, or is a basic lightweight alternative better for your needs? Here are some of the best choices…

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March 6, 2015

Update (3/13 8:10am): Amazon offers the Elgato Game Capture HD60 at $149.99 shipped.

Update (3/8 11:00am): Best Buy drops the Elgato Game Capture HD60 down to $149.99 shipped.

Thanks to a promo code, Elgato’s professional-class video game recorder, streamer, and screenshot maker Game Capture HD60 can now be had for $152.99 shipped, within $3 of the lowest price we’ve seen for the normally $180 accessory. Apply promo code PE0315P22 for 15% off Newegg’s $169.99 price to get the savings, which is $5 under Amazon’s current price of $157.99. The HD60 works with the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Wii U, as well as both Macs and PCs.

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Capable of recording at full 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second, Game Capture HD60 includes an HDMI cable to connect to your TV and a USB cable to connect to your computer. A free Elgato app can record or livestream video from your console to YouTube or Twitch, as well as saving files directly on your computer. You can continue to play your games through your TV with smooth pass-through video, and either share full in-game audio or add live commentary with your computer’s microphone. Basic editing tools are also included in the app.

With a 4.4/5-star Amazon rating across over 1,600 customers, Game Capture HD60 has become the recorder of choice for serious video gamers. It gives console gamers better recording, streaming, editing, and screenshot-making options than are found in current-generation consoles. Be sure to check out other great gaming deals from 9to5Toys, as well as our Gaming For Couples columns featuring top console games to play with your family.

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March 5, 2015

Back in my January Kitchen Tech column on bar tools, I briefly mentioned that certain restaurants are using liquid nitrogen to make frozen cocktails that resemble sorbets — a magic trick that for all intents and purposes is impossible to replicate at home. But when nitrogen comes together with oxygen to form nitrous oxide (N2O), the result is a gas with unique powers. Nitrous oxide can supercharge engines, work as a “laughing gas” anesthetic, and… create whipped cream, ultra-fluffy pancakes like the ones shown above, and super-crispy waffles. You can probably guess which of these applications I’m exploring in today’s Kitchen Tech.

The iSi Gourmet Whip Plus has made guest appearances in two prior Kitchen Tech columns: column 3 on pro-caliber modernist cookbooks, and last week’s column on carbonating tools. It is the only modern kitchen tool Ferran Adrià recommends to home cooks in The Family Meal, and made the top 5 tools recommended by Nathan Myhrvold’s Modernist Cuisine at Home (alongside sous vide water baths and pressure cookers, which Kitchen Tech has already covered).

Why hasn’t it received its own column before now? Because it typically needs to be used with something else in order to make a special product. So for this week’s Kitchen Tech, I’m going to show you how to make the lightest, crispiest waffles you’ve ever had by combining an iSi Whip with a Belgian Waffle Maker. Read on for all the details…

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Ginsu. Cuisinart. A thousand brands you’ve never heard of. With so many options out there, how can you choose a truly great (but reasonably priced) set of kitchen knives?

Knives are so important that many professional chefs bring their own blades to work, each hand-picked for durability, weight, sharpness, and shape. Even if you’re not a cook, your dinner knives could be so dull that you’ll struggle to carve up steak. Today, rather than covering exotic knives, I’m focusing on some great mainstream picks that anyone can afford and enjoy, starting with awesome steak knives from leading knife brand J.A. Henckels, which runs neck-and-neck with longtime rival Wüsthof in offering truly excellent cutting tools. Unlike the Ginsus, Sunbeams, and other mediocre brands out there, Henckels and Wüsthof knives have decades-long reputations for durability, long-term sharpness, and great design.

As Amazon’s #1 best-selling steak knife (with a 4.4/5-star user rating), a four-knife version of the J.A. Henckels set above has composite handles rather than steel, and sells for only $20. For $40, you can get eight Henckels knives with steel handles, a version that has an even higher 4.6/5-star Amazon rating. Having used both types of Henckels steak knives, I can tell you that the all-steel ones feel especially great in the hand and slice meat with superb precision; both versions use serrated blades that legitimately never need sharpening. Our steak knives are every bit as sharp now as they were when we bought them years ago.

More great steak and kitchen knife picks are below…

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March 4, 2015

Update (3/9 7:25am): After a delay, Best Buy has officially launched the new $30 pricing online.

I’ve previously told you about the fantastic savings gamers can achieve through Best Buy’s Gamers Club Unlocked (GCU), which offers 20% discounts on new games (and a bunch of other benefits) for two full years. Today, Best Buy announced that it’s officially dropping the price of GCU from $100 to $30 starting March 8, with membership to be available online and in stores. That matches the lowest GCU price Best Buy has offered.

Best Buy notes that Nintendo’s amiibo are also part of the deal: just like new games, 20% off an Amiibo on day one is probably the best deal you’ll find anywhere. See our amiibo guide for a list of the current and upcoming toys you’ll be able to get discounts on.

Many gamers will find that the $30 Unlocked membership pays for itself in one month, with 23 months of additional great deals. You save $12 every time you purchase a $60 game, and can get an additional $10 pre-order bonus for upcoming games including Batman: Arkham KnightHalo 5: Guardians, and Mortal Kombat X, chopping their prices to $38 each. Read on for the other benefits of the Gamers Club Unlocked deal…

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February 27, 2015

Pioneer’s SPH-DA120 adds Apple CarPlay iPhone integration to your car for $445 shipped (Reg. $600)

There are two ways to get Apple’s official iPhone integration in a car: buy a brand new vehicle with CarPlay support, or add an aftermarket head unit such as Pioneer’s SPH-DA120 — currently the most affordable in-dash solution with CarPlay. Normally sold for $600, the SPH-DA120 is currently on sale for $445 including free Amazon Prime shipping, or $444 shipped direct from DiscountCentralOnline (97% positive Amazon seller ratings), the best prices we’ve seen for this model. It currently has a 3.9/5-star rating from 24 Amazon customers.

Featuring the latest version (4) of Pioneer’s well-known AppRadio software, the SPH-DA120’s star feature is CarPlay (read our 9to5Mac review of CarPlay here), which leverages an iPhone for in-car navigation, phone calling, and text messaging. CarPlay begins with Bluetooth support for pairing with Apple’s Phone and Music apps. Additionally, a Siri Eyes Free voice command mode is completely integrated with the iPhone’s Maps and Messages apps, letting you get driving directions and communicate even without using the unit’s 6.2″ built-in touchscreen. It also has an FM radio and limited support for Android phones.

The SPH-DA120 is a double-DIN unit designed to fit in the standard 4″ dash openings found in many cars. It comes with a GPS antenna, a Pioneer wiring harness, USB and audio cables, as well as mounting hardware. 

Update (3/3 2:37pm): Sony has just announced its free PlayStation Plus titles for March, which we’ve added below. The PlayStation Plus games will be available on the service later today.

Each month, Microsoft’s Xbox Live Gold and Sony’s PlayStation Plus services give away a handful of free games to subscribers, adding value to each company’s multi-console online gaming service. Here are the titles from both services:

For PlayStation Plus, Sony is giving away two PlayStation 4-only games: Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee — New ‘n’ Tasty! (normally $30), the updated version of the classic side-scroller, as well as the cartoony World War 1-inspired game Valiant Hearts: The Great War (normally $15). It’s also offering two PlayStation 3-only titles, the adventure-puzzlers Papo & Yo (normally $10) and Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments (normally $50). PS Vita owners get the skateboard game OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood (normally $15) and the adventure game CounterSpy (normally $15), both of which are also available for the PS4; CounterSpy is also free for the PS3. The total value of this month’s games alone is in excess of $130, and with new free games every month, a one-year PlayStation Plus membership ($50) or $18 three-month membership gives you a lot to play for a comparatively small amount of money.

This will be a great month for Xbox Live Gold members. Microsoft is giving away the 2D action-platformer Rayman Legends (normally $40) to Xbox One players all month long. From March 1 to the 15th, Xbox 360 players get the phenomenal 3D adventure game Tomb Raider (reg. $20) — topic of one of our Gaming For Couples articles — then the incredible first-person shooter Bioshock Infinite (normally $30) from the 16th to the 31st. A one-year Xbox Live Gold membership is normally $60, but there’s a “Limited Time Offer” direct from Microsoft: $39.99. Given the value of games given away each month, and the other benefits it offers (other discounted games, online multiplayer), Xbox Live Gold is now a no-brainer purchase for Xbox owners.

Full descriptions of this month’s titles are below.

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February 26, 2015

The prices of high-capacity hard drives have dropped so much recently that it makes sense to upgrade everything from desktop computers to laptops and game consoles. For iMacs, Mac Pros and MacBooks, my strong recommendation has been Solid State Drives (SSDs), which combine increasingly attractive capacities with super-fast speeds, but for game consoles, traditional hard disks are the right choice. Nintendo actively warns Wii U owners against using SSDs, while Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 provide little reason to prefer them.

Why the difference? Unlike Macs, where solid state drives deliver huge speed increases across OS X and apps, game consoles tend to achieve only modestly better loading times with SSDs — a few seconds here or there. Traditional hard drives also deliver much higher storage capacities, fixing an obvious issue with game consoles where 40-50GB patch downloads are becoming the new normal. A 500GB PlayStation 4 arrives with only around 400GB of free space, versus 360GB on a 500GB Xbox One, and a mere 25GB on a 32GB Wii U. Whether you’re updating Halo or downloading DLC for Mario Kart 8, you’re eating up a big chunk of your hard drive’s space.

What are the best hard drives for your console? Most of my top picks are currently available for $100 or less, and I tend to focus on great value for the dollar rather than cheap picks that will break quickly. I’ll run through the options below.

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