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.

Review: Adonit Jot Pro Stylus

With so many styli in the market today it’s really hard to find the perfect one. The Adonit Jot Pro is not your average stylus. The Jot Pro has a thin clear disk instead of a typical stylus nib on the end. It takes time getting used to when compared to other pro-level styli on the market but it reduces drag and gives a different experience.

The Jot Pro has an aluminum and steel body with a nice satin finish that has a very nice feel to it. The stylus closely resembles that of a high end ballpoint pen and comes in metallic black, silver, red, or blue with a black rubber grip. The Jot Pro comes with a cap – also made of aluminum – to protect the tip and plastic disk when not in use. When you’re using the stylus the cap screws onto the back end for safe keeping. The plastic disk on the end is very durable and will not break if you treat it well. If anything were to happen to the plastic disk or cap then for $6 you can buy a pack of two discs or one cap. The body of the Jot Pro is magnetized so you can stick it on your iPad, iMac, or any else that has a magnet. 

The disk on the Jot Pro is hinged on a ball bearing which allows the user to adjust the writing angle up to 45 degrees. What truly stands out on the Adonit Jot Pro is the tip with the plastic disk which gives you the ability to be precise when doing things like drawing and drafting. The disk being clear allows you to be more accurate and since it’s not a rubber nib you don’t have to press down hard on the screen for it to register. While the plastic disk works great in most situations, it also isn’t that great in for browsing or even writing letters.

When writing, the disk makes a tapping sound similar to the sound of tapping on the glass with a nail. Different styli have different purposes and in this case the Jot Pro works better for drawing and precision tasks instead something like the Cosmonaut stylus which works better for browsing and dabbling. 

For those who want incredibly precise tip then the Adonit Jot Pro is the way to go. While its not perfect it is ideal since tablets now a days are not designed to be used with styli. If you want to do brushwork instead of line drawing or your someone who prints and continually lifts up your stylus from the screen then the noise on the screen could eventually become a problem for some.

The Good

  • Quality construction
  • Excellent for detailed line of work or writing
  • Great balance, weight, and feel in the hand

 

The Bad

  • Loud when clicking against screen
  • Not good for brush work
  • Not good for quick/general navigation

 

Conclusion

The Jot Pro retails for $29.99 and is fairly priced considering the great build quality which makes it feel like a top tier stylus worth a lot more. This stylus was the most precise when I tested it out and I got used to the clicking on the screen after a couple of days of use. The stylus is in the position where one will either hate it or love it since it doesn’t work very well for certain things. It is great seeing a company do something completely different from what all the other companies are doing. The stylus is a great start for Adonit and I am really looking forward to what they come up with in the future and after seeing the Jot Touch and iPad Write Plus it can only get better. Hopefully we can get a Jot Touch in the future to review and see if it’s worth the price tag but for now the Jot Pro is definitely worth the $29.99 price tag and my favorite stylus thus far.

Product: Adonit Jot Pro

Google Nexus 7 Review – Should You Wait Or Get It? (Video)

After two weeks of using the Nexus 7 I finally felt it was time to give my review of it. The Nexus 7 has great hardware and specs combined with Android 4.1 Jellybean which makes the tablet incredibly smooth and responsive. The tablet is a great purchase for $200 but with an iPad Mini launching in a few months is it worth waiting or just getting this? Check out the full video review after the break:

App Review: The Dark Knight Rises for iOS & Android [VIDEO]

The Dark Knight Rises hit theaters today and alongside it Gameloft released the iOS game for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad as well as the Android game. This game allows you to freely explore Gotham City while also allowing you to play story-based missions and side quests. The game has a good amount of gameplay and amazing graphics to keep you entertained for a couple of hours. The Dark Knight Rises official movie game is $6.99 and worth picking up if your a Batman fan but if your still not convinced then check out our video review after the break.

Game Description:

AN EPIC GAMING EXPERIENCE

  • Dozens of missions plus random events will make you feel all the thrill of being a superhero. Deal with hostage situations, bomb squads, jailbreaks and car chases to prove that you’re the true protector of Gotham.
  • A thrilling fighting system that puts you right in the heart of the action thanks to many different moves and cinematic effects.
  • Collect items hidden within the city to unlock upgrades and new fighting skills for Batman.

PLAY AS THE DARK KNIGHT

  • Access Batman’s complete arsenal and learn how to take full advantage of each tool. Use the Grapnel to cross the city or to defeat foes, throw the Batarang to knock out your enemies or to hit a distant button; the possibilities are infinite.

Source: App Store, Google Play 

App Review: Fieldrunners 2 for iOS [VIDEO]

Fieldrunners was one of the first tower defense games that came out once Apple launched the App Store and since has been one of my favorite strategy games until now due to the fact that Fieldrunners 2 is now available in the App Store for $2.99. If your hesitant on wether or not the game is worth it then check out our video review after the break.

Game Features:

  • 25 unique, hand painted levels spanning 4 distinct zones across Fieldrunners Island
  • Over 20 weapons to choose from at the start of each level
  • Face waves of fieldrunners that navigate the battlefield with unparalleled realistic swarming behavior
  • Multi-storied maps route enemies over bridges, under tunnels, and into trenches
  • Revolutionary “Hybrid Maps” combine the fun of designing mazes with the challenges of fixed path layouts
  • Sudden Death maps pit players against never ending hordes of enemies in an all new, action packed levels
  • Puzzle Maps are bonus levels that put players’ understanding of enemy behaviors to the test
  • Over 30 different enemy types, including elite enemy units with special attacks and rewards
  • Powerful items allow players to perform precision based attacks like never before

Source: App Store

The Sinch – Review

The Sinch

The Sinch is a little accessory made to keep your headphones tangle-free. This works with most devices that have a 3.5 mm headphone jack like a Droid, iPhone, iPad etc.
Let me start of by telling you this is going to cost you 15 US Dollars. The packaging is really nice and attracting and this is a product you would most likely find at an Apple store since it’s really appealing.



Design
The Sinch’s design is very simple but yet attracting. It’s made up of two magnets that hold the headphone cord in place. The company claims that this makes your life easier but it was a hassle when i wanted to put my headphones away fast.

       






How it works

The Sinch has a little opening at the top for the headphone jack to go into and then when you connect the headphones to your device, the Sinch hangs down the back of your device. When the Sinch is not in use it flaps a lot if your are not holding it and can get really annoying. The company does sell little metal disks to stick to your phone for $5. Not only does it not come with the $15 Sinch but they charge you an extra $5. 



After the Sinch is on all you have to do it wrap your headphone cord around your device as you would do normally and bring up the flap to close it. When you successfully wrap your cord you can just detach the headphones to put them away separately but keep them tangle-free. This isn’t very good for putting it in your jeans since the Sinch makes it hard to get them out of your pocket.




Pros and Cons
Pros:
-It does a good job of keeping your headphones tangle free.
-Easy to carry 
-Works on my iMac and Macbook
  for holding my headphones
-Has a durable built quality
Cons:
-$15 for an accessory to keep your headphones tangle-free.

Wrap up
-The Sinch is a nifty accessory but it’s overpriced and most find it’s better to keep their headphones around their device without anything. At times it was very frustrating since it takes practice to learn to wrap it around good without having the mic and volume controls interfere with the wrap. When the Sinch wasn’t in use it got really annoying because it would just be hanging there but there are some ways to stop it from dangling. One of which is buying the $5 magnetic disks and another is folding the Sinch over and putting it on top of your device. I used this with my iPhone from time to time but I found myself using it with my iMac a lot more. If this accessory was at most $10 and it included the disks I can see myself buying it but at the moment it’s not worth the money.



Rating:

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