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.

iPhone 5 Unboxing Photos Start To Surface

BGR has posted the first unboxing photos of the iPhone 5. There are some slight packaging changes but the most noticeable is that the headphones come in the same retail package that they are sold in at Apple Stores.

Apple has changed its packaging slightly with the iPhone 5, and as it announced last week, the company’s new EarPod headphones are bundled with the iPhone including a plastic travel case. Also included is a new power adapter that supplies more power to the phone when charging, and of course the Lightning to USB cable.

Below are some photos of the unboxing.

 

Source: BGR

Unboxing: Kindle Fire HD 7″ 16GB (video)

A release that almost seemed forgotten due to all of the the Apple hype and Wii U news was the release of Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD tablet. Today we got our hands on the 7″ 16GB model since the larger model won’t be out till sometime in October. After a couple of hours I can say this is a nice improvement over the original model both in terms of software performance and hardware design. The dual Dolby speakers give great listening experience when watching movies and the re-design feels like a Nexus 7 combined with the original Kindle Fire. Check out our unboxing after the break.

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:

iPad 3rd Gen Unboxing at Apple Store (Video)

After two hours of waiting in line I finally got my hands on Apple’s latest iPad. I was skeptical at first because it is physically the same as the iPad 2 but the new Retina display blew me away and that it self is a reason to purchase this. Text on the new iPad looks amazing and lifelike. For me, one of the most absurd things about the new iPad when it was announced was the new HD iSight camera in the back of the device but after using it a little I found it quite good and it can actually be used for recording video and taking pictures. Even though the iPad was not physically altered when compared to the iPad 2, after an hour of use I can say it was worth spending $500 and waiting in line for.

Unboxing: PS Vita 3G First Edition Bundle (Video)

After a long wait we have finally gotten the PS Vita in our hands and at first glance it is beautiful. The OLED screen is stunning and it just looks good. The first edition bundle is not all very good, the case is not very nice and doesn’t feel very good and just seems cheap although it does a good job at protecting. Check out our unboxing below.

Unboxing: Boxee Box – Watch online media from your TV [Video]

The Boxee Box has been out for a while but we never go the chance to get our hands on it. Recently Boxee announced the TV Tuner for their box which we will be taken a look at later this month. We were sent out the box so we could check out the TV Tuner later on but we decided to unbox it we will be doing a review on it in the coming weeks. So far its the best entertainment box out there, it has airplay so you can watch movies and listen to music from your iOS and it has tons of apps. It runs for about $170 which is on the steeper side compare to its competition. Check out our full unboxing and quick look after the break.

 

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Unboxing: SOL Republic Tracks

    
It has been over a year since we did a video on the Monster Cable Solo HD headphones which I personally thought were great but for over $200 they are not worth it unless you want to waste money. SOL Republic is a fairly new company that was started by the son of the founder of Monster Cable. The idea behind SOL Republic is too make great headphones with great sound at a cheaper price that more people can afford. 
Here is our unboxing of the Tracks from SOL Republic:


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