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.

Where Can You Pay With Apple Pay?

Now that Apple Pay is up and running you might be wondering what stores and apps accept it. Below is a list that the folks over at Wired compiled

Physical Stores (iPhone 6 and 6 Plus)

  • Aeropostale
  • American Eagle
  • BJ’s
  • Champs
  • Chevron
  • ExtraMile
  • Foot Locker
  • Meijer
  • Office Depot
  • Radioshack
  • Six:02
  • Sports Authority
  • Texaco
  • Wegmans
  • Apple
  • Babies R Us
  • Bloomingdale’s
  • Disney Store
  • Duane Reade
  • Macy’s
  • McDonald’s
  • Nike
  • Panera Bread
  • Petco
  • Sephora
  • Staples
  • Subway
  • Toys R Us
  • Unleashed
  • Walgreens
  • Walt Disney World Resort
  • Whole Foods Market

Coming soon:

  • Disney World
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Staples
  • Sephora
  • Free People
  • Anthropologie

Apps for Stores and Services (Any Device with Touch ID)

  • Apple Store
  • Fancy
  • Lyft
  • Houzz
  • Spring
  • Groupon
  • Instacart
  • OpenTable
  • Panera Bread
  • Target
  • Uber
  • Staples
  • Hotel Tonight
  • Chairish
  • Indiegogo
  • Threadflip
  • Getaround
  • LIFX

Coming soon:

  • Disney Store
  • MLB.com
  • Sephora
  • Starbucks
  • Tickets.com
  • Airbnb
  • Eventbrite
  • Jackthreads
  • Levi’s Stadium
  • StubHub
  • Ticketmaster

Credit and Debit Cards

  • American Express
  • Bank of America
  • CapitalOne
  • Chase
  • Citi
  • MasterCard
  • Visa
  • Wells Fargo

Coming Soon:

  • Barclaycard
  • Navy Federal Credit Union
  • PNC
  • USAA
  • USBank

While the list of stores that Apple Pay can be used at is short, we will definitely see more retailers get on board towards the end of this year and beginning of next year when more banks support Apple Pay and more people begin to use it. 

When is Apple Pay Launching?

During todays press conference, Apple announced that Apple Pay will be launching this Monday, October 20. The feature will be enabled with an over the air update of iOS 8.1 after which iPhone 6 users will be able to add their credit cards and start making payments in US retailers

Apple Pay iPhone 5S iPad

Secure
Apple Pay is designed to protect the user’s personal information. It doesn’t collect any transaction information that can be tied back to a user and payment transactions are between the user, the merchant and the user’s bank. Apple doesn’t collect your purchase history, so when you are shopping in a store or restaurant we don’t know what you bought, where you bought it or how much you paid for it. Actual card numbers are not stored on the device, instead, a unique Device Account Number is created, encrypted and stored in the Secure Element of the device. The Device Account Number in the Secure Element is walled off from iOS and not backed up to iCloud.

Support
Apple Pay supports credit and debit cards from the three major payment networks, American Express, MasterCard and Visa, issued by the top US banks. In addition to American Express, Bank of America, Capital One Bank, Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo and others, who announced support in September, more than 500 new banks from across the country have signed on to Apple Pay. Users can make purchases in stores and within apps, with credit cards issued by many of the leading banks nationwide, which make up 83 percent of the credit card purchase volume in the US.

Retailers
Apple Pay in stores is fast and easy to use. Simply hold iPhone near the contactless reader while keeping a finger on Touch ID. In addition to the 262 Apple retail stores in the US, availability from leading retailers at launch include: Aéropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, Babies”R”Us, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Bloomingdale’s, Champs Sports, Chevron and Texaco retail stores including ExtraMile, Disney Store, Duane Reade, Footaction, Foot Locker, House of Hoops by Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Macy’s, McDonald’s, Nike, Office Depot, Panera Bread, Petco, RadioShack, RUN by Foot Locker, SIX:02, Sports Authority, SUBWAY, Toys”R”Us, Unleashed by Petco, Walgreens, Wegmans and Whole Foods Market. In addition, many others will add support this year, such as Anthropologie, Free People, Sephora, Staples, Urban Outfitters, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and more.

Checkout
Checkout is simple and can happen with a single touch—there’s no need to manually fill out lengthy account forms or repeatedly type in shipping and billing information. Your actual card number is kept private and not shared with the online merchant. Online shopping within apps allows users to pay for physical goods and services including apparel, electronics, health and beauty products, tickets and more. Apps with the ability to use Apple Pay at launch include: Apple Store app, Chairish, Fancy, Groupon, HotelTonight, Houzz, Instacart, Lyft, OpenTable, Panera Bread, Spring, Staples, Target and Uber. Many more will support Apple Pay by the end of this year with popular apps such as Airbnb, Disney Store, Eventbrite, JackThreads, Levi’s Stadium by VenueNext, Sephora, Starbucks, StubHub, Ticketmaster and Tickets.com, among others. 

While only the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will support paying at retailers, the iPhone 5s, iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 will support Apple Pay for online purchases.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Hair Gate?

iPhone 6

Well, we have another minuscule iPhone 6 and 6+ complaint. This one has been dubbed the hair or seam gate. Apparently, users have been getting their hair pulled out by their iPhones while making calls. They said the seam between the glass and the aluminum have allowed their hair to get caught and pulled. Twitter has been getting plenty of tweets such as these:

 

 

This along with the bend gate, and the iPhone 6 is clearly not getting the reputation Apple had intended. However, they are very small issues and people honestly should just calm down. The bend is rare and takes a lot of force, and the hair gate is too small of a problem to keep people from buying the phone. Nonetheless, it’s quite interesting to see how people react to an iPhone defect rather than an Android phone’s defect. People have such high expectations from Apple, that they make a big deal out of something not so big, yet are willing to overlook that in, say, the S5.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus Drop Test [Video]

The folks over at the PhoneBuff YouTube channel have uploaded a video which puts Apple’s latest two devices through a classic drop test. Each device is dropped on its back, on its side, and on its face. Without surprise, both phones end up with cracked screens. The iPhone 6 Plus did give out earlier than the iPhone 6 due to its weight distribution but aside from that, there’s nothing too surprising. Check out the video below to see the destruction with your own eyes…

 

iPhone 6/6 Plus Abstract Wallpapers Pack (HD/Retina)

iOS 8 and the new iPhones are now out today so with that, I put together a nice pack of abstract wallpapers that look great on the new iPhones. The wallpapers are 1080 by 1920 and take advantage of the new 4.7″ and 5.5″ retina HD displays on the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus.

 

Download Instructions

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. To stay updated with our latest posts, you can add us to your home screen.

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. To stay updated with our latest posts, you can add us to your home screen.

 

 

Landscape Wallpaper Pack: Here

iPhone 6/6 Plus Landscape Wallpapers Pack (HD/Retina)

iOS 8 and the new iPhones are set to be available this week so with that, I put together a nice pack of landscape wallpapers that complement the new iPhones. The wallpapers are 1080 by 1920 and take advantage of the new 4.7″ and 5.5″ retina HD displays on the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus.

 

Download Instructions

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. To stay updated with our latest posts, you can add us to your home screen.

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. To stay updated with our latest posts, you can add us to your home screen.

 

Best Slim Cases for The iPhone 6

Thinking of getting an iPhone 6? Here is a list of the best slim cases.

(This list will be updated as other cases come out.)

Spigen® Slim Case iPhone 6 Case

Spigen Slim iPhone 6 Case

-Slim
-Eco-Friendly Packaging
-Perfect Port/Button Cutouts
-Available with Logo Cut-out

Amazon ($10-$15)

Spigen® Neo Hybrid iPhone 6 Case

Spigen Neo Hybrid iPhone 6 Case

-Slim
-Metalized Buttons
-Glossy Accents
-Textured Grip
-Available with Logo Cut-Out

Amazon ($15-$20)

Supcase Hybrid w/ Clear Back iPhone 6 Case

Supcase Minimal iPhone 6 Case

-Large Volume/Lock Buttons
-Clear Back
-Scratch Resistant Coating
-Snap-on Cover
-Flat Edges

Amazon ($10-$15)

i-Blason Halo Hybrid w/ Clear Back iPhone 6 Case

iBlason Halo Hybrid iPhone 6 Case Bumper

-Large Volume/Lock Buttons
-Clear Back
-Scratch Resistant Coating
-Slip On
-Rounded Edges

Amazon ($7-$15)

Spigen® Neo Hybrid Metal iPhone 6 Case

Spigen Neo Hybrid Aluminum Bumper

-Textured Grip
-Aluminum Buttons
-Diamond Cut Aluminum Frame
-Protected Volume/Power Buttons
-Larger Port Openings

Amazon ($22-$28)

Spigen® Ultra Hybrid iPhone 6 Case

Spigen Ultra Hybrid iPhone 6 Case

-Eco-Friendly packaging
-Air Cushion Corners
-Back Protection
-Covered Power/Volume Buttons

Amazon ($12-$14)

 

How Much Does the New iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus Cost?

Today Apple announced the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The devices will ship later this month, the iPhone 6 will retail for $300 (16GB), $400 (64GB), $500 (128GB), and the iPhone 6 Plus will cost $100 more respectively.

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 12.41.40 PM Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 12.42.07 PM

The prices of the last generation phones have been lowered since the new phones have taken the pricing of the 5S,

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 12.41.52 PM

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