Low End Mac reviews are subjective - they are the reviewer's response to software and hardware that we've worked with. If we haven't tried a product or don't think it merits a review, you won't find it reviewed here.
Beginning in April 2003, Low End Mac began using a ratings system with some product reviews. Reviewed products will receive from zero to four LEMs. The scale goes something like this:
- Buy this and you will want your money back.
- Possibly useful if you are in need of a product of this specific type, but it may not be worth the cost or effort.
- Okay, but has a few shortcomings or deficiencies.
- A solid, capable product that performs as advertised.
- Wow! A truly stellar, impressive product.
Products might receive ratings with "1/2" increments from time to time.
In keeping with the focus or this website, when rating products which are for use directly with or on a Mac, a factor in our evaluation will be how well it works with lower-end Macs and the Classic Mac OS.
- Portable Fujitsu ScanSnap S300M hits a home run, Steve Watkins, The Practical Mac, 2010.01.07. If you need a quality portable scanner, take a serious look at the small, light, bus-powered ScanSnap S300M.
- $5 USB Bluetooth dongle for Macs, Dan Knight, 2009.11.11. Low End Mac begins testing low cost USB Bluetooth dongles for Mac OS X compatibility. The first one costs $5.07 and works with 10.4 and 10.5.
- Razer Orochi: One of the nicest mice I've ever used, Charles Moore, 'Book Value, 2009.11.03. The author detests the trackpad on the 17" PowerBook. This notebook gaming mouse is an absolute pleasure to use.
- 2 wireless alternatives to Apple's Magic Mouse, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2009.10.27. Whether you prefer buttons to buttonless, are still using Mac OS X 10.4, or don't like Bluetooth, Targus has mice to consider.
- Goldtouch Go! Travel Keyboard: Ergonomics for the road warrior, Charles Moore, 'Book Value, 2009.09.14. Ergonomic keyboards designed for mobile use are few and far between. This one from Goldtouch is compact, solidly built, and very flexible.
- Creative's Vado pocket camcorders now work with Macs, Alan Zisman, Zis Mac, 2009.09.16. Until now, Creative's Vado camcorders didn't play nice with Macs. With the release of Vado Central for Mac, that has finally changed.
- Kodak Zi6 compact hi-def video camera, Brian Gray, Fruitful Editing, 2009.08.31. Selling for under $150, Kodak's Zi6 is light, compact, and produces good quality video for a low-end device.
- Targus USB 2.0 4-Port Bend-a-Hub with Mini USB Adapter, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2009.04.20. This clever, flexible, inexpensive 4-port unpowered hub is light and includes a switch-hitting mini-USB port.
- Boosting a 'Digital Audio' Power Mac with a 1.53 GHz dual G4 upgrade, 2009.03.11. Got a faithful old Power Mac that's reliable but feeling sluggish? A fast dual-processor upgrade can make a world of difference.
- 4-way Touch Scroll in Targus mice more than just a cool gimmick, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2009.02.02. Instead of a scrollball or scroll wheel that moves sideways, Targus uses an optical sensor that works like a champ and won't gum up.
- Pinnacle Video Capture for Mac an easy way to digitize videotape, Alan Zisman, Zis Mac, 2009.02.02. Pinnacle's USB 2.0 device records video to iTunes, and from there you can put it on your iPhone, iPod, Apple TV, etc.
- 2 compact portable USB 2.0 hubs, Charles Moore, 'Book Value, 2009.01.12. Compact hubs from Targus and Proporta make a great complement to your notebook computer. Each accepts a third-party AC adapter to provide bus power.
- Logitech diNovo Edge Bluetooth Keyboard complements modern Macs, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.12.08. Logitech's diNovo Edge isn't just a well built Bluetooth keyboard. It brings some new features to the Mac and looks great next to glass and aluminum hardware.
- Kensington Ci95m Wireless Mouse: Great battery life, smooth performance, Charles Moore, 'Book Value, 2008.11.13. Kensington's slim wireless mouse is well built, works smoothly, has great battery life, and avoids Bluetooth pairing and wake-up issues.
- Targus USB 2.0 High-Speed File Transfer Cable helps offset loss of FireWire, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.11.10. Although it can't replace Target Disk Mode, Targus' $40 cable makes it easy to transfer files quickly between two Macs, two PCs, or one of each.
- NewerTech 11 Piece Portable Toolkit for servicing and upgrading computers, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.11.03. NewerTech's $20 toolkit may have all the tools you'll need to repair and upgrade your computers - and classic iPods.
- Nikon D40 provides lots of quality at a nice price, Brian Gray, Digigraphica, 2008.10.28. For most photographers most of the time, Nikon's D40 DSLR has all the features and quality necessary and an affordable price.
- Distraction free writing on the go with the Laser PC6, Tommy Thomas, Welcome to Macintosh, 2008.10.27. Sometimes you just need a keyboard and screen instead of a full-fledged computer. The Laser PC6 could be what you're looking for.
- TruePower battery can run WallStreet PowerBook past the 5 hour mark, Tommy Thomas, Welcome to Macintosh, 2008.10.10. If you have a rugged old PowerBook but its battery is losing capacity, TruePower can give you plenty of time in the field.
- MacBook Air makes a convert, Alan Zisman, Zis Mac, 2008.09.24. Apple's thin, light MacBook Air makes a great field computer for someone who already has a desktop system up and running.
- SimpleTech SimpleDrive: Fast and stylish, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.09.23. With attractive design by Pininfarina, an illuminated capacity meter, and plenty of 7200 rpm storage space, SimpleDrive is a great backup drive.
- Connect any drive to USB with the $25 XLR8 AnyDrive USB 2.0 drive adapter, Charles Moore, 'Book Value, 2008.09.16. This handy device lets you connect a 2.5" or 3.5" IDE or SATA drive to any Mac with USB support. Windows drivers are also included.
- TruePower AC adapter for iBooks and PowerBooks is rugged, reliable, and affordable, Charles Moore, 'Book Value, 2008.08.14. Apple's track record with AC adapters is spotty, but the TruePower adapter is tough enough to survive being run over by a truck.
- 8 hour runtime realisitic with TruePower batteries for Lombard and Pismo, Charles Moore, 'Book Value, 2008.08.05. Apple's original batteries could keep you going for up to 5 hours when they were new; these high capacity replacement batteries improve that by 60%.
- Kensington Portable Power Outlet a great accessory for the road warrior, Charles Moore, 'Book Value, 2008.07.22. With three AC outlets and two USB charging ports, this compact device is a great way to have extra power outlets when you're on the go.
- SanDisk Sansa Clip MP3 player has lots of features at a sub-shuffle price, Tommy Thomas, Welcome to Macintosh, 2008.07.22. The Clip has 1-2 GB of storage, a screen, iPod-like navigation, excellent sound, an FM radio, a built-in microphone, and a price that beats the shuffle.
- SanDisk Sansa Clip a low cost alternative to iPods for Mac users, Alan Zisman, Zis Mac, 2008.07.01. There's no video or photo support, but the Sansa Clip works with MP3 files and includes an FM radio and a microphone.
- SteelSeries S&S Pro Gaming: Can a mouse pad really be worth $30?, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.06.23. Once you've used a SteelSeries mouse pad for a while, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.
- Kensington Ci70 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse excellent for field and desktop use, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.06.09. Slim, light, and small of footprint, Kensington's wireless Ci70 mouse and keyboard are great for desktop Macs and easy to take along for use in the field.
- 13 ports in a USB 2.0 hub means never having to unplug a device, Dan Knight, 2008.03.18. If your computer doesn't have enough ports and your 4-port hub is full as well, this 13-port powered hub could be the solution to your problems.
- The best alternatives to Apple's USB keyboards, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2007.12.10. There are a lot of USB keyboards out there, even for the Mac, but these two have great keyboard action, are solidly built, and have features Apple's keyboard don't include.
- Is the SteelSeries 4D the best mousepad ever?, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2007.10.15. This large, double-sided mousepad was optimized for gamers, but it makes a fine addition to any mouse user's work area.
- External $100 Sony DVD burner likes Macs, Brian Gray, Fruitful Editing, 2007.10.10. The box and manual say nothing about Mac compatibility, but this 18x USB 2.0 DVD burner is plug-and-play (at least with Tiger).
- FastMac 8x SuperDrive and BurnAgain DVD: Fast and easy multisession disc burning, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2007.10.08. FastMac's 8x SuperDrive upgrade is remarkably fast compared with older PowerBook burners, and BurnAgain DVD makes it easy to append files to a previously burned CD or DVD.
- Slingbox lets you watch TV on your Mac or Windows PC - anywhere, Alan Zisman, Zis Mac, 2007.08.17. Slingbox transmits video from your television or DVR so you can watch it from any computer on your network - or over the Internet.
- 2 earbuds and 2 headsets for music and gaming, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2007.06.11. Colorful, good sounding earbuds, retractable earbuds, and a pair of gaming headphones that include built-in microphones.
- Silence is golden: Running your existing notebook using flash memory, Dan Knight, 2007.05.23. With a new adapter from Addonics, you can replace your laptop's IDE hard drive inexpensively and boot silently from a Compact Flash card.
- Logitech TrackMan Wheel intuitive, easy to use, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2007.04.16. Trackballs are well suited for some tasks, less well suited for others. Logitech's thumb-controlled TrackMan Wheel is quickly mastered, and its software provides lots of options.
- Allegro USB 2.0 a great way to add several USB 2.0 ports to your Power Mac, Dan Knight, 2007.03.28. You can never have too many USB ports. Whether your Power Mac has no USB 2.0 ports or too few, this $30 card is a great way to add the ports you need.
- SimpleShare's $99 250 GB NAS and print server a good value, Andrew J Fishkin, Best Tools for the Job, 2007.02.21. This 250 GB networked drive and print server is very affordable, as fast as can be expected, and has some latency when printing from Macs.
- 3 MacMice mice compared: 2 winners, 1 loser, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2007.02.19. MacMice products are well-designed and hold up well over time, but their Bluetooth mouse is poorly balanced and suffers from latency problems.
- Microsoft's sturdy, low-cost wireless keyboard ideal for typing, Andrew J Fishkin, Best Tools for the Job, 2007.01.23. If you're looking for a good keyboard for typing on, the $50 Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop 1000 keyboard and mouse are probably the best you'll find for the money.
- Goldtouch fully adjustable ergonomic keyboard for Mac, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2006.12.19. If you suffer from typing injury or want to avoid it, the fully adjustable Key Ovation Goldtouch Apple Compatible Adjustable Keyboard may be just what you're looking for.
- Avant Prime: Rebirth of the legendary Northgate OmniKey keyboard, Tommy Thomas, Welcome to Macintosh, 2006.12.13. Although Northgate went out of business in the 1990s, their justly famous OmniKey keyboard is now produced by CVT - and it's as good as ever.
- $20 i-Rocks IR-9200 USB 2.0 2.5" drive enclosure a good value, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2006.12.04. This inexpensive USB 2.0 drive enclosure is a great way to repurpose a 2.5" hard drive that's been removed from a notebook computer.
- Brother HL-5250DL: A great low cost, high quality networkable laser printer, Dan Knight, 2006.11.16. For under US$250, this 1200 dpi laser printer has ethernet, does duplex printing, outputs 30 pages-per-minute, and works quietly.
- RadTech BT600 rechargeable Bluetooth mouse, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2006.10.17. This cleverly designed Bluetooth mouse charges via USB - and can be used as a USB mouse when the batteries run out of juice.
- Upgrade your Pismo with a dual-layer DVD burner, Jason Schrader, Maximize Your Mac, 2006.07.19. If you want to add a DVD burner to your PowerBook Pismo, FastMac's new dual-layer SuperDrive merits serious consideration.
- Flexible eWheelie stand improves notebook use at your desk, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2006.05.08. With a unique wheeled design, the eWheelie Laptop Stand lets you roll your 'Book to the side when you need to use your desk for other things.
- Kensington Keyboard-in-a-Box USB a good low cost value, Hardy Menagh, Empowered, 2006.04.10. If you don't need a heavy duty keyboard, Kensington's Keyboard-in-a-Box is a good value at just US$25.
- 'The Ball' wireless trackball meets high expectations, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2006.03.27. This Bluetooth trackball is solidly built, precise, and very compfortable to use, quickly becoming an intuitive alternative to the mouse.
- NewerTech miniStack: A great drive even if you don't own a Mac mini, Dan Knight, 2006.02.08. Although it's designed to match the Mac mini, the miniStack hard drive can add USB 2.0 and FireWire ports to any Mac while keeping your fast external hard drive cool.
- FastMac's $190 8x dual-layer SuperDrive for PowerBooks and dual USB iBooks, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2006.01.30. For US$190-250 you can replace the CD-ROM, CD-RW, Combo, or slow old SuperDrive in most PowerBooks, white iBooks, slot-loading iMacs, and Cubes with a faster, dual-layer drive.
- Matias OS X and USB 2.0 Keyboards reviewed, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2006.01.03. Two very good, nicely priced keyboards for the Mac - one even has a USB 2.0 port for the iPod shuffle and other devices.
- Hands on: A new PowerBook with Tiger, Jeff Adkins, Mac Lab Report, 2005.05.18. The new 15" PowerBook has some nice improvements over the titanium model, and Tiger is icing on the cake.
- Kinesis Contour Keyboard looks odd but is surprisingly relaxing and comfortable, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2005.04.18. Unconventional design makes for a very comfortable keyboard that's easy to adapt to and very convenient.
- MacMice MicFlex USB, a great microphone for music or dictation, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2005.03.28. This stylish, high quality USB microphone can be used with iChat AV, GarageBand, iListen, and more.
- Is 'The Mouse' from DVForge the multi-button mouse Apple should have built?, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2005.01.31. "Appearance-wise, it pays more than a little homage to Apple's USB optical mouse, but in my estimation it's a nicer mouse to use."
- Cool new stuff from SteelPad: A cure for slippery mice and a really big mousepad, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2005.01.19. Steelgrip keeps your mouse from slipping, and SteelPad QcK+ gives your mouse plenty of room to maneuver.
- Has the best keyboard Apple ever made been resurrected?, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2005.01.03. Matias claims to have remade Apple's Extended Keyboard II for the USB era, but is it as good as the original?
- PhoneValet turns your Mac into a powerful voice mail system, Dan Knight, 2004.12.14. If you need more than a simple answering machine offers, PhoneValet may be the product you've been looking for.
- Re-Porter, Marathon's FireWire, USB, and audio port extender, Jeff Adkins, Mac Lab Report, 2004.11.08. Can't reach those FireWire, USB, and audio ports on the back of your Mac? Re-Porter might be just the thing you need.
- iMac G5: Nice system, but at a nice price?, Alan Zisman, 2004.11.01. The iMac G5 sports some impressive improvements, but the question remains the market. Is it too expensive for the low end yet too compromised for the high end?
- AirPort Express: more versatile than your average access point, Alan Zisman, 2004.10.06. AirPort Express is much more than just another wireless access point.
- SteelPad 4S and SteelPad 4D high performance mousepads, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2004.09.13. Designed for gaming, how well do these clad aluminum and plastic mousepads work for general computing?
- Concord Eye-Q 3040AF 3.1 megapixel digital camera, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2004.07.21. A 3 MP Mac-friendly digital camera for just US$129 -- what's the catch?
- Contour RollerMouse Station a great alternative to traditional mouse, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2004.06.07. "If you suffer from mousing pain or would prefer not to develop it in the first place, the RollerMouse is worth considering."
- NewerTech TiBook battery provides four hours of use, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2004.05.24. "In the real world, I can get at least 4 hours of active use, and with the Energy Saver settings activated, a freshly charged battery usually shows over 5 hours of power."
- Two cool optical mice from Contour, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2004.05.24. One is designed to fit your hand nearly perfectly, while the other is intended as a perfect complement to your 'Book.
- SightFlex adjustable iSight stand, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2004.05.12. Can't get your iSight in the right location2004. using Apple's mounting hardware? SightFlex could be just the ticket.
- Using the QuickCam Orbit on a Mac, Jeff Adkins, Mac Lab Report, 2004.03.12. Logitech's latest QuickCam adds face tracking, but how well does it work on a Mac?
- Vert•X Xserve stand reviewed, Jeff Adkins, Mac Lab Report, 02.13. Don't have a rack for your Xserve? Not a problem with this $40 stand.
- Review: Macally iceKey slim USB keyboard, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2003.07.07. This inexpensive, white keyboard has short key travel and light keyboard action.
- Quill gripless ergonomic mouse, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2003.03.31. Uniquely designed mouse reorients hand, greatly reduces stress on wrist and fingers.
- Griffin iMate Lets You Use ADB pevices with USB ports, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2003.03.24. Griffin's compact, low-cost iMate lets you use most ADB mice, keyboards, and other peripherals with modern USB-equipped Macs.
- Wacom Graphire2 graphics tablet, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2003.02.10. A pressure sensitive graphics tablet plus wireless mouse and software for $99.
- Keyspan 4-Port USB 2.0 Hub, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2003.01.13. How and why you might want to add USB 2.0 support to your G3 or G4 PowerBook or Power Mac.
- Iomega Value-Line USB Zip drive, Jeff Adkins, Mac Lab Report, 2001.09.06. A look at Iomega's low-cost USB bus-powered Zip drive.
- Epson Stylus Photo 870, Dan Knight, Mac USB & FireWire, 2001.06.08. Yes, it really does output photographic quality prints.
- Contour MiniPro Mouse, Dan Knight, MacUSB, 2001.04.27. This compact optical mouse is especially useful with portables.
- Oxford 911 FireWire Bridge, Dan Knight, Mac USB & FireWire, 2001.04.23. New FireWire bridge means faster external drives - but how much faster?
- Griffin gPort, Andrew Hill, 2001.03.28. Card adds traditional Mac serial port to blue & white Power Mac G3.
- Dr Bott gHead, 2/6/01. The gHead solves the "headless server" problem and may unlock more resolutions from your monitor.
- Wacom Graphire 4x5 USB Tablet, Jeff Adkins, 1/18/01. Graphics tablet and mouse.
- Contour Perfit Mouse, Charles Moore, 1/3/01
- Sonnet Tempo Ultra ATA66 Macintosh PCI Host Adapter, 7/28/00. At US$99, the most economical way to put IDE support in a PCI Power Mac - and it's fast.
- Macsense UKB-600 Keyboard, 7/27/00. The best USB keyboard we've used to date.
- Sonnet Presto Plus, Mark Looper, 3/2/2000
- Aspire USB Keyboard, 12/14/1999
- Kensington Mouse-in-a-Box USB/PS2, 12/10/1999
- Aspire USB Mouse, 12/9/1999
- MoniSwitchUSB, 12/8/1999
- Wireless mouse & keyboard input (overview), 12/7/1999
- Macally iKey, 10/25/1999
- The iBook, 10/21/1999
- Adesso iMouse, 10/12/1999
- AlphaSmart 2000, 10/8/1999
- Adesso Nu-Form USB keyboard, 10/4/1999
- Aiwa TD-UM8000 USB tape drive, 9/24/1999
- Newer Tech MAXpowr G3 daughter card, 8/9/1999
- Contour UniTrap, 5/22/1999
- Sonnet Presto accelerator, 3/1/1999
- Contour USB UniMouse, 2/25/1999
- MoniSwitch2 and MoniSwitch4
- MicroSpeed KB105M keyboard
- Kensington Mouse
- PowerPrint 4
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