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.

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

New 3DS XL Coming to North America On February 13

The New Nintendo 3DS XL that came out in Japan a few months ago has finally gotten a release date for North America. The handheld will be available for purchase February 13 for $199.99 and will come in Black and Red. The New 3DS XL features NFC (for Amiibos), faster processing, an analog C-Stick, and eye-tracking which allows you to view the 3DS from different angles without ruining the 3D experience. It will also have a micro SD card slot (comes with a 4GB card) instead of the full-size SD card slot on the current 3DS XL.

new 3ds xl

This time around Nintendo is releasing the 3DS XL without an AC adapter so you’ll most likely end up spending closer to $300 if you’re going to get a game with it! Sadly, there is still no word on whether Nintendo will be releasing the smaller/cheaper model with the changeable face plates in here in North America but it shouldn’t be too long before Nintendo announces it.

New Nintendo 3DS United States

Nintendo 3DS XL Face Tracking

Source: Nintendo

Next Gen Nintendo Console Specs Allegedly Leaked, Dubbed “Nintendo Fusion”

The folks over at Nintendo News posted an article with specs of what could be Nintendo’s next generation console. There will apparently be two devices bundled together, a “Fusion Terminal” and a “Fusion DS” which would allow you to play at home and on the go.  The specs are much better than what one would normally expect from Nintendo so they could just be made up but we won’t know until Nintendo officially unveils the console. As awesome as it would be for Nintendo to announce the console this year, it is most likely to happen at E3 2015 0r 2016. Check out the specs below and a video from Inside Gaming going into further detail…

Fusion Terminal

  • GPGPU: Custom Radeon HD RX 200 GPU CODENAME LADY (2816 shaders @ 960 MHz, 4.60 TFLOP/s, Fillrates: 60.6 Gpixel/s, 170 Gtexel/s)
  • CPU: IBM 64-Bit Custom POWER 8-Based IBM 8-Core Processor CODENAME JUMPMAN (2.2 GHz, Shared 6 MB L4 cache)
  • Co-CPU: IBM PowerPC 750-based 1.24 GHz Tri-Core Co-Processor CODENAME HAMMER
  • MEMORY: 4 Gigabytes of Unified DDR4 SDRAM CODENAMED KONG, 2 GB DDR3 RAM @ 1600 MHz (12.8 GB/s) On Die CODENAMED BARREL
  • 802.11 b/g/n Wireless
  • Bluetooth v4.0 BLE
  • 2 USB 3.0
  • 1 Coaxial Cable Input
  • 1 CableCARD Slot
  • 4 Custom Stream-Interface Nodes up to 4 Wii U GamePads
  • Versions with Disk Drive play Wii U Optical Disk (4 Layers Maximum), FUSION Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD) and Nintendo 3DS Card Slot
  • 1 HDMI 2.0 1080p/4K Port
  • Dolby TrueHD 5.1 or 7.1 Surround Sound
  • Inductive Charging Surface for up to 4 FUSION DS or IC-Wii Remote Plus Controllers
  • Two versions: Disk Slot Version with 60 Gigs of Internal Flash Storage and Diskless Version with 300 Gigs of Internal Flash Storage

Fusion DS

  • CPU: ARMv8-A Cortex-A53 GPU: Custom Adreno 420-based AMD GPU
  • COM MEMORY: 3 GB LPDDR3 (2 GB Games, 1 GB OS)
  • 2 130 mm DVGA (960 x 640) Capacitive Touchscreen
  • Slide Out Design with Custom Swivel Tilt Hinge
  • Upper Screen made of Gorilla Glass, Comes with Magnetic Cover
  • Low End Vibration for Gameplay and App Alerts
  • 2 Motorized Circle Pads for Haptic Feedback
  • Thumbprint Security Scanner with Pulse Sensing Feedback
  • 2 1mp Stereoptic Cameras
  • Multi-Array Microphone
  • A, B, X, Y, D-Pad, L, R, 1, 2 Buttons
  • 3 Axis Tuning Fork Gyroscope, 3 Axis Accelerometer, Magnetometer
  • NFC Reader
  • 3G Chip with GPS Location
  • Bluetooth v4.0 BLE Command Node used to Interface with Bluetooth Devices such as Cell Phones, Tablets
  • 16 Gigabytes of Internal Flash Storage (Possible Future Unit With 32 Gigabytes)
  • Nintendo 3DS Cart Slot
  • SDHC “Holographic Enhanced” Card Slot up to 128 Gigabyte Limit
  • Mini USB I/O
  • 3300 mAh Li-Ion battery

Source: NintendoNews

Wii U priced, launching November 18 in US, available for pre-order now

Nintendo’s Wii U console will launch November 18 in the United States and November 30 in Europe , with a price of $300 for the white 8GB Basic set and $350 for a black 32GB Deluxe version.

The 8GB Basic set includes a white console,  white GamePad, AC adapters for both console and GamePad, Sensor Bar and an HDMI cable. The deluxe black 32GB set includes Nintendo Land, stands for both the console and the GamePad, a GamePad charging cradle and everything else that comes in the Basic set. Those who purchase the Deluxe set will also get a “Deluxe Digital Promotion” membership which rewards points for digital purchases that can later be used to buy eShop wares. The Wii-U is available for pre-order now off GameStop and you can trade in your old Wii for $50.

Source: Nintendo, GameStop

Wii U’s Game Launch List

Below is Nintendo’s current list of expected games to launch for the Wii U between November 18 and March 2013.

  • NBA 2K13 (2K Sports)
  • Jeft Tailfin (Maximum Games)
  • Madden NFL 13 (EA)
  • EA Sports FIFA Soccer 13 (EA)
  • Mass Effect 3 (EA)
  • Toki Tori 2 (two tribes)
  • Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Capcom)
  • ZombiU (Ubisoft)
  • Just Dance 4 (Ubisoft)
  • Avengers: Battle for Earth (Ubisoft)
  • Rabbids Land (Ubisoft)
  • Assassin’s Creed 3 (Ubisoft)
  • Rayman Legends (Ubisoft)
  • Sports Connection (Ubisoft)
  • Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013 (Ubisoft)
  • Nano Assault Neo (Shin’En)
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines (Sega)
  • Sonic & Sega All-Stars: Racing Transformed (Sega)
  • Trine 2: Director’s Cut (Frozenbyte)
  • Tank! Tank! Tank! (Namco)
  • Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (Namco)
  • Wheel of Fortune (THQ)
  • Jeopardy (THQ)
  • Darksiders 2 (THQ)
  • Funky Barn (505 Games)
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (Activision)
  • 007 Legends (Activision)
  • Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2013 (Activision)
  • Wipeout 3 (Activision)
  • Skylanders Giants (Activision)
  • Rapala Pro Bass Fishing (Activision)
  • Transformers Prime (Activision)
  • Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (Disney Interactive)
  • Scribblenauts Unlimited (WB Games)
  • Game Party Champions (WB Games)
  • Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition (WB Games)
  • Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien (Gaijin Games)
  • Ben 10: Omniverse (D3 Publisher)
  • Rise of the Guardians: The Video Game (D3 Publisher)
  • Family Party: 30 Great games Obstacle Arcade (D3 Publisher)
  • Zumba Fitness (Majesco)
  • New Super Mario Bros. Wii U (Nintendo)
  • Game & Wario (Nintendo)
  • Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge (Nintendo)
  • Sing Party (Nintendo)
  • Nintendo Land (Nintendo)
  • Wii Fit U (Nintendo)
  • The Wonderful 101 (Nintendo)
  • Pikmin 3 (Nintendo)

Source: Nintendo

Nintendo 3DS Unboxing and Hands On (Video)

The last Nintendo DS I had was the DSi Lite which I loved using but sold it to get the 3DS on release date. When I went to purchase the 3DS I saw the glossy and overall clunky design and was torn so I decided to wait until Nintendo released something better and it is finally here. Today we got our hands on the new Nintendo 3DS XL and it is the best of both worlds. The device combines the design aspects of both the DSi XL and 3DS and I am enjoying it so far even though I sold the collection of games I had for my DSi Lite. Check out our unboxing video below after the break:

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