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.

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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App Review: Fish Out Of Water iOS [Video]

Check out the video review of Fish Out Of Water for iOS above…

Fish Out Of Water is the story of six feisty fish longing to soar above the ocean and see the world from a whole new perspective. To help them get airborne, players simply throw their fish of choice right out of the water and watch as it flies through the clouds and skips merrily along the waves. But there’s a lot more to this adventure under the surface!

Fish Out of Water: App Store

App Review: Cut The Rope – Time Travel iOS [Video]

Check out the video review of Cut The Rope: Time Travel for iOS above…

Join Om Nom as he travels back in time to feed his ancestors with candy. Cut the Rope: Time Travel is a completely new adventure filled with time-traveling, candy-crunching, physics-based action! With two cute monsters to feed in each level, Cut the Rope: Time Travel is twice the fun but familiar to play. If you like Cut the Rope, you’ll love Cut the Rope: Time Travel!

There’s no time to waste! Visit six exciting locations including the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, a Pirate Ship, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and the Stone Age. Om Nom’s ancestors are waiting – and they’re getting really hungry for candy!

Cut The Rope: Time Travel (App Store)
iPhone/iPod Touch ($0.99)
iPad ($2.99)

Review: EON Classic, The “Everlasting Credit Card Flashlight”

I have never been able to buy a flashlight and keep it with me without it disturbing my pocket or making my keychain bulky. The folks at Iain Sinclair sent me the Eon Classic, an “Everlasting Credit Card Flashlight” which believe it or not is a flashlight with the footprint of a credit card.

EON Classic Flashlight, 2 Front LED's

The flashlight is minimalistic and at first glance it doesn’t look like a flashlight. The light is encased in plastic and that plastic has brushed steel on the top and bottom. There are no screws or anything that allow you to open the flashlight, it is sealed and meant to not be opened since it comes with pre-installed lithium batteries which are said to last from 5 to 10 years. It also has two LED’s on the front which are extremely bright and works for most cases but you wouldn’t want this to be your only source of light in a dark cave.

IMG_4359

There is one button which requires about two pounds of pressure to activate which is both good and bad. It’s good because the card won’t accidentally turn on when its in your wallet or pocket but, it’s actually quite difficult to hold the card with one hand and keep two pounds of pressure on it for a long time. The flashlight is rounded like a credit card and the edges are smooth so the steel doesn’t dig into your hands when using it.

IMG_4358

The Good

  • Slim
  • Bright
  • Long Lasting
  • Requires 2 pounds of pressure

 

The Bad

  • Requires 2 pounds of pressure
  • Smudge magnet

 

Conclusion

There isn’t much to say about the flashlight because it manages to be what it says it is, a credit card flashlight. The light fits perfectly in my wallet, it is there when I need it and when I do need it, it works. The light goes for around $15 on the web and I recommend it if you want a minimal flashlight that you can use from time to time. If you’re looking for a flashlight to accompany you through a walk in the woods then I recommend that you keep searching web.

EON Classic: Amazon

App Review: Major Magnet for iOS [Video]

Check out the video review of Major Magnet for iOS above…

With an insanely funny set of characters, including loyal sidekick Gus the Guinea Pig, Major Magnet’s off to save the world from Colonel Lastin, without even realizing it. Sometimes a hero can come from anyone, especially if they have a magnet to help them out. All he wants is his yellow cape back!

Gone are the days of playing a game where you just run around, stomping on mushrooms — this is magnetic gameplay! Tap a magnet, swing and shoot the Major to race through each level. It’s as innovative as it sounds and incredibly fun to master.

App: Major Magnet (App Store)

iPad Mini Review – Is it worth it? [Video]

Apple has now entered an awkward market with the iPad Mini where most consumers it will see the Mini as an overpriced tablet compared to most 7-inch tablets out there and others will see it as a cheaper alternative to an iPad. The iPad Mini is a great device, it’s solid, well built, and it is the perfect size for a small tablet. The iPad Mini has a 7.9-inch display which might not sound all that different from a 7-inch display, but it makes a huge difference when playing games, browsing the web, and it improves the overall experience of using the tablet. While the iPad Mini might sound perfect, its not and it actually has its drawbacks. For $329 plus tax, today, you can get one for yourself, but is it worth the price tag? Check out the video below for a full review of the iPad Mini.

If you have any questions about the iPad Mini, feel free to contact us here.

Beacon Audio Phoenix Bluetooth Speaker – Best $99 Bluetooth Speaker? (Video)

Beacon Audio’s Phoenix is a well packaged bluetooth speaker. The speaker is very light and the hard plastic on the outside is very strong. The speaker comes with an auxiliary cable that matches the color of the speaker as well as a mini-USB for charging and a padded carrying case for added protection when traveling. The button are simple and also a little confusing at first since the power, play, and pairing functions are combined into one button, and the skip track and volume share a button as well. For example, to change volume or skip track you have to press once for skip track and hold to change volume. This could be quite annoying for some but I just ended up using my device to control everything. Check out the full video review after the break.

Product: Phoenix Speaker

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