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.

How Does Pokémon Go’s ‘Nearby’ Pawprint Feature Work?

One of Pokémon Go’s most annoying aspects is the fact that you can’t tell in which direction or just how far away that Pokémon you are trying to catch is. The developers behind the app have been very vague regarding that feature but I believe there is reasoning behind it. If you came here looking for a representation of distance every Pawprint indicates then you’ll be happy to know that there is a number but it’s quite vague. I have been told that during the beta each Pawprint indicated 50 meters while serebii.net is reporting that the first Pawprint translates to 20 meters, 2 prints is 100 meters, and 3 prints is nearly 1 kilometer.

Pokemon Go Pawprint Disntance to Pokemon How It Works

Which is the more accurate? Well, from my experience it really varies but I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. Just the other day I was at a park and everybody in the park was helping each other out as to where each Pokémon was. In my opinion, this lack of information just makes each new Pokémon you catch feel far more satisfying. A direction indicator would definitely help in finding Pokémon but at the end of the day it’s the thrill of the hunt that makes it fun! If you are completely set out on catching all of the Pokémon on your radar then there is a way but it requires some time to exeggcute it. A redditor by the name of DJToaster has devised this elaborate plan:

How To Find Pokemon Go Pokemon in Radar Distance

Pokémon Go Team Mystic, Valor, and Instinct Wallpapers

Pokémon Go is now available in most places around the world and it has been a huge hit. If you haven’t tried out Pokémon Go, you can download the app from the iOS or Google Play App Store. The app is free to download but has in-app purchases that are optional and not needed to advance in the game. Below are a set of wallpapers for the Mystic, Valor, and Instinct teams in Pokémon Go. If you are unfamiliar with the teams in Pokémon Go you will get an in-game message regarding choosing a team once you reach level 5.

Download Instructions

Desktop: Click on the thumbnail of the wallpaper you want. When the image loads, right click and choose “Save Image As”. When you click “Save Image As”, you will be able to name the image and save it to a location of choice on your computer. Stay up to date with our latest posts by following us on Twitter (@DarGadgetZ)!

Mobile: Tap on the thumbnail of the wallpaper you want. When the image loads, tap and hold on the image until the “Save Image” option appears. When you click “Save Image” the wallpaper will appear in your Camera Roll.

 

Source: Enxee (Imgur)

Google Announces Allo & Duo Messaging Apps

Google has announced two new apps that are launching this summer for Android and iOS. Allo is a simple one-to-one video calling app with some cool new features while Allo is a secure text messaging app with an intergrated Google assistant.

 

Allo is a smart messaging app that makes your conversations easier and more expressive. It’s based on your phone number, so you can get in touch with anyone in your phonebook. And with deeply integrated machine learning, Allo has smart features to keep your conversations flowing and help you get things done.


Allo has Smart Reply built in (similar to Inbox), so you can respond to messages without typing a single word. Smart Reply learns over time and will show suggestions that are in your style. For example, it will learn whether you’re more of a “haha” vs. “lol” kind of person. The more you use Allo the more “you” the suggestions will become. Smart Reply also works with photos, providing intelligent suggestions related to the content of the photo. If your friend sends you a photo of tacos, for example, you may see Smart Reply suggestions like “yummy” or “I love tacos.”


Allo also features the Google assistant, bringing the richness of Google directly into your chats—helping you find information, get things done, and have fun. You can chat one-on-one with the assistant, or call on Google in a group chat with friends. Either way, you no longer have to jump between apps to do things like book a dinner reservation with friends, get up-to-date sports scores, settle a bet, or play a game. The assistant in Allo lets you bring things like Search, Maps, YouTube and Translate to all your conversations, so that you and your friends can use Google together.

The Google assistant in Allo understands your world, so you can ask for things like your agenda for the day, details of your flight and hotel, or photos from your last trip. And since it understands natural language patterns, you can just chat like yourself and it’ll understand what you’re saying. For example, “Is my flight delayed?” will return information about your flight status.

 

Duo is a simple, fast one-to-one video calling app for everyone—whether you’re on Android or iOS, a fast or slow connection, in New York or New Delhi. Like Allo, Duo is based on your phone number, allowing you to reach anyone in your phonebook. And its simple interface fades away when you’re in a call, so it’s just the two of you.

One of our favorite features of Duo is Knock Knock, which shows you a live video preview of the caller before you pick up. Knock Knock invites you into the moment, making calls feel spontaneous and fun. Once you answer, Duo seamlessly transitions you right into the call.

Duo calls are in crisp HD video (up to 720p) and audio. We’ve optimized Duo to work well even on spotty networks, so if bandwidth is limited it gracefully adjusts quality so you’re still able to connect. We also seamlessly transition calls between cellular and Wi-Fi, so you don’t need to worry about what network you’re on. Finally, we built Duo with privacy and security in mind and all calls on Duo are end-to-end encrypted.

Unfortuantely none of these apps are replacing any of Google’s current apps such as Hangouts which means the market will remain fragmented untill enough people choose to switch to Allo and Duo. This is basically Google’s BBM or iMessage but with some really cool features and it’s cross-platform.

How To: Install iOS 9 Beta on Your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad

Today Apple announced that iOS 9 will be coming in the fall for consumers, but developers can use iOS 9 starting today with the first beta. If you are not a developer there is still a way to get it but keep in mind that beta software always has bugs and issues. Before doing all of this make sure to completely back up your device just to be safe!

Developer Portal

 

To get iOS 9 onto your iDevice you’ll need to:

  • Download the latest version of iTunes
  • Register Your UDID (We can register it for you for $4, contact us)
  • Download iOS 9 firmware for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch from this link –> iOS 9 Download Links.
  • Open iTunes and connect your iDevice via USB cable
  • Select your device from the left navigation pane on iTunes
  • Hold down the Shift (Windows) or Alt/Option (Mac) key and hit the update or restore (depending on what you prefer) button on iTunes
  • Browse and select the downloaded iOS 9 IPSW file.
  • The iOS 9 beta installation will begin. Don’t disconnect your device or close iTunes until iOS 9 has been installed on the device!

After completing all the steps your device should be up and running. Here is a video just in case you prefer that format:

 

We can register your UDID for $4 through PayPal. Contact us here and we will get that set up in no time so you can get iOS 9. You can also get your UDID registered at countless other websites and from independent developers. If you have any questions you can ask us in the comments below or contact us here.

Apple Announces Research Kit

Apple has announced “ResearchKit”, a software framework made for medical research. More specifically, ResearchKit is a solution for making iOS devices with HealthKit into tools for diagnosis. There are 5 apps that are launching today on iOS that will allow people to contribute towards reasearch of different diseases. 

New Health Apps Apple

Sonos System Review

Sonos Logo Jul 29, 2014

There are many electronic devices that can give you the ability to stream music from your devices to a speaker wirelessly. However, a lot of them are only meant to be portable, and as such don’t give you the best audio quality. Well, Sonos is an option that can give your all of the above to add some great audio experiences at home!

Background

Sonos Connect Jul 29, 2014The idea is that the Sonos Bridge will act similarly to a router, creating its own “Hi-Fi” system that connects to all of the other devices in the Sonos line. This system is more reliable than a standard Wi-Fi connection, and provides fantastic audio quality to your speakers.

Now, in order to get sound, you need to have other devices from Sonos. A Connect or Connect:Amp will connect to your existing speakers (the Amp giving more powerful audio) and make them wireless. Along with the Connects are the Play:1, Play:3, and Play:5, with bigger and better sound as you rise in number. Lastly are the Playbar and Sub, which as you probably guessed are a soundbar and subwoofer. The Playbar and Sub can be connected to your TV as well as play music wirelessly.

The connections available are vast, being able to be controlled by Mac, PC, Android, or iOS devices over WiFi. The services that can be used are also quite large, and include Rhapsody, Google Play Music, Rdio, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Slacker, SiriusXM, Songza, or even connecting to your computer’s library. Basically, you can play any song in the world on this system.

Design

Play-1 Speaker Jul 29, 2014

 

The quality of materials used by Sonos is outstanding! They have fantastic aesthetics and could almost look like decor for a home. My personal favorite for looks is

the Sub, with a very intriguing design (though I don’t actually own one of these). As far as the Play series goes, they are very solid pieces weighing a lot more than you’d think, so it’s quite stable while being compact. The Connects are the only products I’m not too fond of for the design category, as they are white, so anything that gets on it will show.

Sound

The sound quality is also great, with very clear highs, mids, and lows in every one of the products I’ve tested, which includes the each Play series speakers, Connect (though sound will vary based on your speaker), and the Playbar. I was especially surprised by the Play:1, being that it’s so small compared to the others in the Play line, as it was able to deliver some of the best sounds I’ve heard from speakers. The Play:3 and Play:5 are even better with deeper bass tones and consistently great vocals.

Of course, it’s difficult to know what I’m talking about without actually hearing it for yourself, so I suggest you check it out for yourself, but I can say from my experience, I’m very impressed with what I’ve heard!

Ease-of-Use

Sonos App Jul 29, 2014The Sonos system is fairly easy to setup, requiring you to press two buttons on each added device to get it to connect to the overall system. To add services, just find which one you want to add on the app, login with your existing credentials, and you’re good to go. As with all technology, not everything goes according to plan, though, so luckily they have good customer service that can help guide you along.

Once you have everything setup, the hard part is over. Just download the apps on the corresponding devices, and you’re good to go! To play a song, search for an artist, title, or album, and Sonos will search through each connected service, whether it be Google Play, Rhapsody, or something else, and choose to play it now, next, or just add it to the queue. Want to create a playlist? Sonos can save playlists, too, so you can have the ultimate party with automated sounds. One of the coolest features, I think, is that you can have the option to play a different song in each room when multiple people are home and want to listen to their own songs, or if you’ll be all around the house, pick one song or playlist to play synchronized in each room you want it to. Once you’ve played around with the app, you’ll get the hang of controlling it fairly quickly, as they made it very easy to use.

Issues

Now, I know I’ve talked up Sonos a lot in this review, and that’s because it’s a great system. However, there are still some issues that can be quite annoying. The biggest issue is that randomly the system will not connect with your phone or other device. I’ve tried reconnecting the speakers, checking for updates in the apps or system, and re-downloading the app, but nothing seems to work. After a while (usually a couple hours), it will start working again. I’m not sure if this is just my system of if it’s a problem all over, but it’s quite a nuisance, and it will happen usually once every couple of weeks (so it’s not too often). My only other complaint is that when an update is released for their app or the whole system, you HAVE to update; it’s not an choice given to you. So, if you just want to listen to music, you’ll have to wait for the update to be done, which granted usually only takes a few minutes, but it can be a bit annoying either way.

Conclusion

Overall, I think Sonos has done a fantastic job in creating a good system that’s easy to use, looks great, and sound fantastic. I think any music-lover would want this system in their house and I highly recommend it if you’re considering purchasing it.

Facebook Releases Slingshot, An App to Compete With Snapchat

Remember Facebook’s Poke app? If you don’t, I don’t blame you. Poke was Facebook’s Snapchat competitor which failed to catch on and was removed from the App Store. Facebook has now released Slingshot on iOS and Android which is essentially a new and improved version of Poke. Slingshot takes cues from some of Snapchat’s competitors to bring something easy to use with a fresh user interface.

Slingshot lets you quickly share moments—little and big—with lots of people at once. Shoot a photo or video of what you’re up to and sling it to a bunch of friends. They won’t be able to see your shot until they sling something back. Tap on a shot to react, or simply swipe it away.

• Stay in touch: Capture photos and videos of moments you want to share with friends
• Go shot for shot: To unlock new shots, first you have to sling something back
• Enjoy it while it lasts: Once you swipe a shot away, it’ll no longer be viewable
• Send a quick reply: After unlocking a shot, respond with your reaction
• Get creative: Express yourself with captions and drawings
• Look when you want: View unlocked shots later if you’re busy

Source: App Store (iOS) Play Store (Android)

How To: Install iOS 8 Beta [Video]

The iOS 8 Beta is now available for developers to download and will be coming to consumers in the fall. Check out the video below to see how to install iOS 8 onto your iDevice of choice!

 

 

To get iOS 8 onto your iDevice you’ll need to:

  1. Download the latest version of iTunes
  2. Register Your UDID (We can register it for you for $3, contact us)
  3. Download iOS 8 firmware for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch from this link –> iOS 8 Download Links (coming soon).
  4. Open iTunes and connect your iDevice via USB cable
  5. Select your device from the left navigation pane on iTunes
  6. Hold down the Shift (Windows) or Alt/Option (Mac) key and hit the update or restore (depending on what you prefer) button on iTunes
  7. Browse and select the downloaded iOS 8 IPSW file.
  8. The iOS 8 beta installation will begin. Don’t disconnect your device or close iTunes until iOS 8 has been installed on the device!

After completing all the steps your device should be up and running.

We can register your UDID for $3 through PayPal. Contact us here and we will get that set up in no time so you can get iOS 8. You can also get your UDID registered at countless other websites and from independent developers.  If you have any questions you can ask us in the comments below or contact us here.

Direct links will be posted on this post.

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