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.

Best Wii U, Xbox One, & PS4 Black Friday Deals!

If you have been waiting for the price to drop on a console odds are that you will be getting one come Black Friday. The thing is that you’ll want to know what place has the best deal before visiting so below is a list of the best deals on different consoles that will be available come November 28th. The list will be updated if there are any other bundles/price drops that you should know about!

ps4 black friday deals

PLAYSTATION 4

Best Buy

  • PlayStation 4 with The Last of Us Remastered and GTA 5 ( $399.99 )

Dell

  • PlayStation 4 with The Last of Us Remastered and GTA 5 ( $399.99 )

Toys R Us

  • PlayStation 4 The Last of Us Remastered and GTA 5 ( $399.99 )
  • PlayStation 4 LittleBigPlanet 3 and Lego Batman 3 bundle ( $399.99 )

Walmart

  • PlayStation 4 with The Last of Us Remastered and GTA 5 ( $399.99 )
  • PlayStation 4 bundle with the choice of two games (Walmart.com, $449.99)
  • PlayStation 4 with a $50 Walmart gift card ( $399.99 )

 wii u black friday deals

WII U

Best Buy

  • Wii U with Super Mario 3D World, Nintendo Land, Super Smash Bros for Wii U and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze ( $359.97 )

Meijer

  • Super Mario 3D World Deluxe Wii U console with $30 customer coupon for later use ( $279.99 )

Toys R Us

  • Wii U 8 GB with Skylanders Swap Force bundle ( $199.99 )

 xbox one black friday deals

XBOX ONE

Best Buy

  • Xbox One with Assassin’s Creed Unity and Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag ( $329.99 )
  • Xbox One with Assassin’s Creed Unity and Black Flag, extra controller and Kinect ( $429.99 )

Dell

  • Xbox One with Assassin’s Creed Unity and Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag ( $329.99 )

Kohl’s

  • Xbox One ( $329.99 )

Toys R Us

  • Xbox One console with Kinect ( $429.99 )
  • Xbox One Assassin’s Creed bundle, with Unity and Black Flag ( $329.99 )

Walmart

  • Xbox One with the Halo: Master Chief Collection and a $30 Walmart gift card (first hour only, $329.99 )
  • Walmart Xbox One Assassin’s Creed bundle, with Unity and Black Flag ( $329.99 )
  • Walmart Xbox One with 12-month gold membership and choice of game (at Walmart.com only, $379.99 )

 xbox 360 black friday deals

XBOX 360

Walmart

  • Xbox 360 4GB  ( $99.99 )

 

ps3 black friday deals

PLAYSTATION 3

GameStop (Pre-Black Friday Deals)

Amazon  (Pre-Black Friday Deals)

 3ds black friday deals

NINTENDO DS

Best Buy

  • Nintendo 3DS XL with Mario Party: Island Tour ( $174.99 )

Kohl’s

  • Nintendo 3DS XL with Mario Party: Island Tour ( $149.99 )

Sears

  • 2DS for $99.99 when you purchase a game
  • 3DS XL for $169.99 when you purchase a game

Target

  • Nintendo 2DS with Yoshi’s New Island ( $99.99 )

Toys R Us

  • Nintendo 3DS XL Mario Party Island Tour Edition ( $179.99 )

Walmart

  • 3DS XL Super Mario Bros. 2 Gold Edition bundle ( $149.96 )

 

Kohl’s, Meijer, Toy’s R Us, and Sear’s deals are available in store only. Dell and Amazon deals are only available online. Target deals are available online and in store. Some Walmart deals are in store while other online only. 

Watch Dogs Multiplayer Walkthrough Gameplay [Video]

Colin Graham , the animation director for Watch Dogs, has made a walkthrough video showing some multiplayer gameplay of Watch Dogs. The game scheduled to release on May 27th for every major platform and will retail for $59.99. Check out the video above.

About Watch Dogs:

  • DYNAMIC NAVIGATION: Watch_Dogs gives you the ability to not only use the city’s ctOS to your advantage, but the streets as well. In real-world Chicago, cut through one of the buildings or climb to the rooftops to catch your target.
  • HACK THE CITY: Control the city’s infrastructure, in real time, with Aiden’s cell phone. Trap your enemy in a 30-car pileup by manipulating the traffic lights. Stop a train, and then board it to evade the authorities. Narrowly escape capture by quickly raising a drawbridge. Anything connected to the city’s CTOS can become your weapon.
  • HIGH OCTANE DRIVING: Get behind the wheel of more than 65 vehicles bursting with horsepower to explore the massive city while completing missions. Ubisoft Montreal partnered with Ubisoft Reflections, the acclaimed studio behind the award-winning Driver series to develop each vehicle with state-of-art physics and handling.
  • SEAMLESS MULTIPLAYER EXPERIENCE: Discover a new level of interaction, cooperation and confrontation between players thanks to a brand new multiplayer game system that links the single and multiplayer modes into one seamless experience. That means no menus, no loading screens, just instant open world multiplayer action.
  • STAY CONNECTED WITH A NEW WAY TO PLAY: Go beyond the console with a ground-breaking, real-time, companion game. This innovative mobile platform allows players to connect and compete with friends, even when away from the home console. The Watch_Dogs companion game delivers dual-screen gameplay that enables you to play from anywhere, at any time.

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

Nintendo announces Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and YouTube as Wii U content partners

During todays Nintendo E3 keynote, Reggie Fils Aime announced that Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, and YouTube will be providing content to Wii U owners. Nintendo mainly focused on games and didn’t really show any of the Wii U’s software or hardware nevertheless Reggie did mention that “In the future, we’ll show you how the Wii U will integrate and elevate entertainment in your living room,”. We will just have to wait and see but in the meantime Nintendo has a lot more information on the Wii U which you can check out here.

Nintendo shows final Wii U Gamepad, Pro Controller, and TV remote app (With Video)

Almost a year ago Nintendo introduced their next generation console which they named the Wii U. Back then everything was still in the process of being designed and finalized but now that its time for E3 again Nintendo decided to give us a bit of news before their official E3 presentation. In todays preview Nintendo decided to show us the finished version of the Wii U controller, now known as the Gamepad, as well as a TV remote app and a Pro Controller for those who prefer a more traditional control method. The Gamepad is now wider and the buttons have been shifted a bit to give the user an overall more comfortable feel. If you want the full details and what we can expect from the Wii U then we will have to wait until Tuesday but for now you can check out the Pre E3 Nintendo Direct video after the break!

 

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