Wireless audio presents a whole host of challenges for anyone building audio gear these days, but wireless audio is what consumers want. A decade of explosive growth in wifi and smartphones has created consumer expectations about how things should work.
Cambridge Audio has launched the Minx line of wireless speakers to address the new markets. We checked out the Minx Air 200 AirPlay/Bluetooth wireless speaker and the Minx Go portable Bluetooth speaker. Here’s the short review: the Minx Air 200 delivers exceptional audio performance for the price and the Minx Go is a solid performer in a price range crowded with Bluetooth options. +Continue Reading
The latest versions of the Kraken A.M.S. and Cyclops iPhone cases from Trident Case get a strong recommendation from us for a lot of reasons. While we tested them for an iPhone 5S, but Trident is one of the few manufacturers committed to making cases for a variety of Android, Blackberry and Windows phones as well. +Continue Reading
Zik Headphones are made by Parrot, a French company that makes elaborately designed, expensive stuff that appeals to its founder, Henry Seydoux. Military.com readers may know the firm from the AR.Drone, a smartphone-controlled drone that can send video direct to your device. It’s expensive ($300 at Amazon) and amazingly cool. Is it practical? Who’s to say what’s practical? +Continue Reading
Battery life is the weakest link in an always-connected world and that means there’s a huge market for devices that offer to fix the problem. There are a lot of backup battery/charging station/power banks out there, but the myCharge Amp 6000xt offers a few features that make it a serious candidate for users who need charging options in extreme circumstances.
Navy veteran and physician Paul Webber wanted an easy way to hold his iPad when doing bedside data entry, but he couldn’t find a device that was also easily sterilized to use in a hospital environment. That inspired him to invent the BakBone, a ring that attaches to the back of a tablet computer. +Continue Reading
One of the most frustrating things when reading Internet reviews of audio is that a lot of the guys (and they’re always guys) pretend like they’re evaluating audio gear based on some mythical absolute quality scale. There’s no speaker (or computer or phone or gun, for that matter) that can be all things to all people. The Outdoor Tech Turtle Shell 2.0 Bluetooth speaker has very specific ambitions (hint: the name includes “outdoor”) and does a fantastic job of delivering the goods for the right listener. +Continue Reading
ibattz makes iPhone cases that offer a level of protection not really found in other battery cases. I checked out the Mojo Refuel Armor and the Mojo Refuel Aqua for the iPhone 5/5s and they’re both great choices if you’re putting your phone in danger on a regular basis. You already know if you’re the kind of risk taker who needs one of these, but here’s all the details.
iPhones look great naked but anyone who’s paid to replace a screen after a three-foot drop doesn’t want to leave the house without some kind of protective case. And, while new generations of the phone have brought better software performance and faster speed, those improvements have come at a real cost in battery life (especially when you’re using the iPhone in a location with an overloaded network or in a remote area where the phone is constantly scanning for limited service). +Continue Reading
Here’s the uncomfortable thing about all those amazing holiday TV deals: there are really two classes of high-def televisions. The models with all the bells and whistles aren’t the ones on sale. It’s the stripped-down TVs that get splashed all over the ad circulars and the TV commercials and those are the amazing prices that convince you to blow your budget and just go for the deal.
Those TVs are actually a really good buy. You don’t really need those higher screen refresh rates and the software for those built-in smart TV apps doesn’t really compare to what you get with a Roku or Apple TV. With the money you saved on the TV, you can easily afford to add one of those to your setup.
Of course, that takes us to the one real issue with a bargain TV: you only get two HDMI ports. Once you add a connection to your cable or satellite box and a Blu-ray player, you don’t have a connection slot if you want to add a PlayStation, Xbox or a Roku/Apple TV.
Before you convince yourself that you really need a new TV, consider getting an HDMI switch to give yourself a way to connect a few more devices. Don’t get one of the mechanical ones: it’ll inevitably be hard to access once you squeeze it into your entertainment gear array. +Continue Reading
The Sound Spot is the latest Bluetooth speaker from Soundfreaq, a more budget-friendly alternative to its popular Sound Kick stereo speaker. The Sound Kick has been the portable speaker of choice at my house for the last couple of years, giving surprising good stereo sound in a sturdy package. The Sound Spot turns out to be an excellent option if the Sound Kick is out of your price range. +Continue Reading
The Jam XT Extreme Ruggedized wireless bluetooth speaker from HDMX was a big hit when it was released last year and it delivers a lot of sound from a very small package (the whole thing would fit easily inside a 3 1/2″ cube). +Continue Reading