Dec 27, 2016
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As we move further into the age of wireless audio with the iPhone 7 abandoning the ever-so-present headphone jack, a new category of "truly wireless" earbuds has been popping up. So you may be asking, what does "truly wireless" even mean? Well, as you may have seen, many earbuds that have claimed to be "wireless" actually have a wire in between the buds that generally goes around your neck. So, a few companies, such as Bragi, decided to do away with any and all wires, leaving us with Bragi's first product, the Dash. The Dash started as a Kickstarter project back in February of 2014, with an enormous amount of support, raising just under $3.4 million with the promise of earbuds completely free of wires and with loads of other features. These features included activity tracking, touch controls, on-board storage, water-resistance, and more. The campaign had initially intended to ship out the Dash units in October of 2014, but due to many setbacks, they started shipping out units in early- to mid-2016. With initial reports of problems with the microphone and Bluetooth connectivity, it seemed, at first, like the Dash could be just another Kickstarter flop. Instead, however, the company dedicated a lot of time into creating new updates to the firmware that drastically improved, if not completely solved these issues. The Sound DSC01138An earbud can't be good without sounding good, of course. So, how does the Dash stack up to the competition? After all, the price for these is not cheap, coming in at around $300. Well, they're actually pretty good! I wasn't expecting amazing sound from a device so small, yet packed full of components. What I found was that the Dash produces a good, clear sound, though certainly preferring the mids over the lows and highs. That said, I am quite a bass-lover myself and I'm coming from using a V-Moda Crossfade M-100, so I've been spoiled, and for earbuds, the Dash does a good job producing the bass it does. If I had to compare it to some other earbuds, I'd compare the sound to something like the "wireless" (but not completely wireless) Jaybird Bluebuds, which are quite good themselves. Bluetooth Connectivity Now, a common issue with truly wireless earbuds is their often lacking performance in their ability to hold a strong Bluetooth connection. In the beginning, there were lots of complaints from users experiencing poor connection even if the phone was placed only as far as the user's pockets. Obviously, that's a huge issue, but also one Bragi appears to have fixed through their updates. I can confidently say that I have had virtually no issues whatsoever with the connectivity of these earbuds, other than maybe one or two micro drops in connection. I tested the Dash by walking around a room and was able to go as far as 10 to 15 feet away from the source without experiencing any connectivity issues. Additionally, just the process of using and connecting the earbuds is really simple. All you do is take them out of the case and put them in your ears. The buds sense when they're in and automatically turn on, connect to each other, and connect to your phone or other device. Comfort and Design DSC01125Another historically common problem with this category of audio products is the ridiculous look of the product or their inability to stay in ears due to the sheer weight they carry. Luckily, this is not an issue with the Dash. While you may get some head turns while using this product, people often just don't care, and the Dash really doesn't look bad at all. Additionally, these earbuds were surprisingly comfortable to wear. They come with multiple sleeves to fit your ears (XS, S, M, and L), and once you find the right fit, the earbuds fit snuggly and quite comfortably. I haven't had too many issues with the buds falling out, which has always been a problem for me, whether or not the earbuds I was using were wireless. Yet another check mark for the Dash. Gestures/Controls A neat feature of the Dash is the way you control them. There are multiple ways that you control the Dash, including through the app, touch sensors on the outside of each bud, and head gestures. For instance, if you receive a call while using the earbuds, just nod or shake your head to answer or deny the call. Playing and pausing is easy, with just a tap on the right earbud, or start tracking activities with a tap on the left. One of the issues I noticed is that the touch sensors aren't only sensitive to your fingers, so putting on a winter hat caused the earbuds to do some unwanted actions. After looking around a bit, though, it looks like Bragi addressed this issue by including a touch lock that can be implemented by holding down on both the right and left touch sensors, which worked well and solved my problem. Other Features DSC01143The other features included with the Dash are a microphone, onboard storage, a heart-rate sensor, and a case that charges the buds 5 times on-the-go. To start off, the microphone had quite a few complaints in the early days, with users claiming it was unusable and that the person speaking sounded robotic over the phone. This is yet another area where Bragi has used its firmware updates to address an issue. When I was using the microphone for phone calls, some people said there were no problems at all, while others said it sounded a bit muddled, but they could still hear me and know what I was saying. As for the onboard storage, there's not much to be said about it. Songs can be added through a computer and using it works as described. Next up is the heart-rate sensor, which seemed to be relatively accurate, though I didn't have another device to compare it to at the time. This is a really nice feature for athletes looking to listen to music without an annoying wire and no need for a smartwatch. And lastly, the charging case. The case is built quite well, with an aluminum sleeve and a strong metal or plastic where the earbuds actually rest. The earbuds flash when they've been connected properly, and a magnet holds them in place. My only complaint is that I feel like I will drop the earbuds when trying to get them out of the case because you have to take the sleeve off, hold that, hold the battery part, and then fiddle with getting the buds out. That said, overall, the battery case is a nice feature, as the battery life on the buds isn't spectacular at about 3 hours. Conclusion So, what are my overall thoughts of the Dash? Well, I like them. I don't know if I, personally, would quite want to spend the $300 for them, but I could understand why some would. The features work well and the sound quality is pretty good, considering everything that's built into them. I think Bragi's next product, the Headphone, could also allow a lot more people to purchase their products, with reportedly better sound quality and a much lower price of $149. However, that new product does strip the Dash of many of its capabilities, including the water-resistance, touch controls, onboard storage, and heart rate sensor. So it really comes down to what you want. If you want the smart capabilities, there really is no other product out there that offers all of the Dash's capabilities, but if that does interest you, the Headphone is probably the way to go.

Turn any Picture into a Live Wallpaper on your iPhone 6s

If you have an iPhone 6s then you probably know about Live Photos which are photos that you can tap and hold on to see moments before and after the picture was captured. The cool thing about live photos is that they can be set as a wallpaper on the lock screen and still have the touch functionality. But what happens when you want to add some motion to your pictures that aren’t live photos? This is where the iOS App LivePapers comes in, it allows you to take a picture or import any picture and add a really cool 3D Touch effect to them. Here is a video review of the app which is available in the App Store for $1.99…

 

 

Source: App Store, AppQuest

New Nintendo 3DS Pokémon Edition Launching February 27th in North America

Nintendo recently announced a new Nintendo 3DS 20th Anniversary Pokémon Edition which will come with Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Blue pre-installed. It will also come bundled with 2 cover plates and a download code for an exclusive Nintendo 3DS Pokémon HOME Menu theme. The bundle will retail for $200 plus tax and will not come with a charger which ads close to another $20 to the cost of the handheld.

We will also get Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow released on the e-shop ($10 each) so all 3DS owners can get their hands on them.

Nintendo 3DS Pokemon Products: Amazon


Bundle Includes:
  • New Nintendo 3DS HW
  • Two Cover Plates (Blastoise & Charizard)
  • Pre-Installed games Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Blue Version
  • Exclusive Home Menu theme

Source: GameStop

sProjector Promises 1080p Full HD at 1000 Lumens Projection in Small Package

Projectors seem to be becoming much more popular, with pico projectors popping up all over, and home theater projectors becoming quite a bit more affordable. Among all of this buzz is a project on IndieGoGo.com called the sProjector. The sProjector is trying to combine all of the best of home theater projectors and pico projectors into one small, neat, and powerful package.

sProjector 2The sProjector comes in at just 150 grams, or just 1/3 of a pound at a size of 70mm x 130mm x 15mm, or 2.75in x 5.1in x 0.6in, which is about the size of an average hand. With these physical specifications, this projector would be considered a pico projector.

However, where we were surprised was with the fact that the sProjector boasts a high-resolution display of 1080p, with a very bright (for the size) 1000 lumens. For comparison, the Celluon PicoPro, a similarly-sized projector, can only produce a 720p image at 32 lumens. And a larger pico projector, the AAXA P300, can only produce a 720p image at 400 lumens.

Additional features of the sProjector include its 5-hour battery life, lack of a noisy fan (without overheating), and low price of $249.99, while other less-featured picos cost anywhere from $250-$400. Plus, the company is including a remote and TV dongle with the projector, which can be plugged into sProjector to tune into TV signals without the need for an Internet connection.

sProjector 3Now, let’s talk connections, because this thing doesn’t lack in that area either! The sProjector comes equipped with a mini-HDMI port (adapter for full HDMI included), USB port, microUSB port, 3.5mm port, Bluetooth, and WiFI 802.11 b/g/n. With these connections, you can wirelessly mirror your device through Miracast, plug in a laptop or Chromecast, or stream directly over WiFi through the use of the projector’s UI, which runs on a customized Android Lollipop OS.

The sProjector can be purchased in white, black, or gold, and it is set to ship later this month. The IndieGoGo campaign was incredibly successful, hitting over 5000% of the initial goal, totaling over half a million dollars.

So, this thing has to be fake, right? Well, the promo video and the crazy amount of features on the projector certainly made it seem like that was the case. However, the company has been putting out updates and showing their progress, with recent videos (found below) showcasing the projector actually working, convincing me to believe it may just be real!

If the sProjector is real, then Silver Star, the company behind sProjector, has just made a major breakthrough in the pico projector market, and I’ll be very excited to see it!

Demo Videos

Vs. the CooLux Projector

 

Projecting at Full HD 1080p

Apple TV Review – The Best Media Player of 2015?

The 2015 Apple TV is the best product if you want to give some new life to your old (or new) tv. The interface is beautiful and very simple to navigate through. The controller is small yet packed with features and the box itself is simple and minimal. Some people aren’t even considering getting the Apple TV due to its lack of 4K support but as an owner of a 4K tv I can tell you that this isn’t as big of a deal as it has been made out to be. My 4K tv is able to upscale the Apple TV’s interface, games, and videos to the point where everything looks like it is 4K content. If Apple had said that this had 4K support then I would not have doubted it since everything just looks amazing on a 4K TV.

The full video review of the Apple TV can be seen below but if you just want a rundown of what makes this better to the other boxes in the market, I will tell you straight away that it’s the UI and Apps. The iOS App Store is a testament of how good Apple is at getting developers to get apps on their platforms and the tvOS store is no different. Apps are being added all the time and will keep being added which is completely different to the competition right now. The UI of the Apple TV is also very modern and simple which gives your tv a breath of fresh air and it also makes it easy for all of your family members to be able to use it.

 

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TechDealZ: Week of 12/27/15

We hope you have all had a fantastic holiday season and wish you a happy New Year as 2015 comes to a close! Before the end of the year, here are some of the best TechDealZ out there for this week!

Home Theater

  • 55″ Sharp Aquos LC-55UB30U 4K UHD Smart LED TV with 4 HDMI ports, 2 USB ports, 1 composite, and 1 component for $599.99 at Best Buy
  • 50″ Sharp LC-50LB371U Full HD 1080p Smart Roku LED TV with 3 HDMI ports, 1 USB port, 1 composite, and 1 RF for $379.99 at Best Buy

Computers

  • Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14″ 2-in-1 with Intel Core i5-5200U processor, 1TB HDD + 16GB M.2, 8GB RAM, GeForce GT940M 2GB GPU, and touchscreen for $699.00 at Lenovo
  • Dell Latitude 12″ laptop with Intel Core i5-4210U processor, 500GB HDD, and 4GB RAM for $549.00 with coupon code “SAVE50PC” at Dell
  • HP ENVY 15t 15.6″ touchscreen laptop with Intel Core i7-6700HQ Skylake processor, HD touchscreen display, 1TB HDD, 8GB RAM, and fingerprint reader for $703.99 with coupon code “HPLAPTOPS” at HP
  • Lenovo Y50 15.6″ gaming laptop with Intel Core i7-4720 HQ, 1TB HDD, 8GB RAM, 2GB NVIDIA Geforce GTX 960M, and external Blu-ray burner for $749.00 with coupon code “BLOWOUT6” at Lenovo

Tablets

  • Apple iPad Mini 2 with Retina Display, 16GB WiFi version for $199.00 at Walmart
  • Apple iPad Air 2 with Retina Display, 16GB WiFi version for $374.99 at Best Buy

Cameras

  • Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM lens for $229.99 at eBay
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 20.1MP camera with WiFi, NFC, 4k video, 5-axis stabilization, and OLED Live Viewfinder for $599.99 at eBay
  • 32GB Samsung EVO+ Class 10 microSD card for $11.99 at Adorama

Phones

  • Refurbished Apple iPhone 5c 16GB Unlocked GSM for $154.95 at eBay
  • Refurbished Motorola Moto X 16GB Factory Unlocked for $84.95 at eBay
  • Samsung Gear S smartwatch AT&T for $199.99 at Target

Microsoft Spreads Message of Harmony and Peace Outside an Apple Store

Microsoft has posted a new ad to its YouTube Channel in which Microsoft Employees and a New York City children’s youth choir sing a song outside of Apple’s most iconic Apple Store. Check out the video below…

 

A special thanks to the voices of our Microsoft Store employees and a local NYC children’s youth choir. To celebrate the holidays, Microsoft employees, who were selected from across the country, gathered together, meeting each other for the first time, at the new Microsoft 5th Ave Store to spread some holiday wishes. Joined by a local NYC children’s youth choir, they share a message of peace and harmony with their neighbor down the street.

Source: Microsoft (YouTube)

Captain America: Civil War Official Trailer Teases Black Panther

The official trailer for Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War has finally been released. The movie is set to release on May 6th of next year and will, of course, focus around a Civil War between our favorite super heroes. The trailer features Captain America, Falcon, Bucky, Iron Man, War Machine, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Scarlett Witch, and Black Panther(at 1:51). Check out the trailer below…

 

Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia with some more details on the movie:

Captain America: Civil War is an upcoming American superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Captain America, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is intended to be the sequel to 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger and 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the thirteenth installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, with a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, and features an ensemble cast that includes Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Frank Grillo, Daniel Brühl, and William Hurt. In Captain America: Civil War, Captain America and the Avengers continue to protect the world, but the team becomes divided after extensive collateral damage prompts politicians to pass an act regulating superhuman activity.

Source: JimmyKimmelLive (YouTube)

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