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.

Play Games Through Your Xbox One’s Internet Browser

If you have an Xbox One and have been urging to play games like Cut The Rope, Pong, Contre Jour, and Pac Man through your Xbox’s browser, this is for you. xboxie.com is a website that has a list of games that are playable from an Xbox One with the Xbox One controller. Some of the games don’t run perfectly and the Xbox One controller isn’t the best option but this is the best alternative until the Xbox One gets an Xbox Live Arcade of its own. Head over to xboxie.com from your Xbox One to try out the games!

Turtle Beach Ear Force XO Seven & XO Four for Xbox One [Gallery]

Last week at CES I got the chance to checkout Turtle Beach’s new upcoming headsets for the Xbox One. At their booth, Turtle Beach had the XO Seven and XO Four headsets and I tried them on to see how they were. Long story short, the XO Four’s had okay sound, horrible build quality, and they were uncomfortable to wear (mainly due to the material of the ear pad). On the other hand, the XO Seven’s were quite comfortable and had a much better build quality and sound. If you spend a lot of hours gaming, I recommend getting the XO Seven’s even if they cost more than the XO Four’s. The new headsets are set to launch sometime in March, check out the gallery below…

They are currently available for pre-order at various online retailers.

XO Seven: Amazon ($160)
XO Four: Amazon ($100)

Xbox Announces an Xbox One “Titanfall” Limited Edition Controller

Earlier today, Xbox announced an Xbox One Limited Edition Wireless Controller that is “Titanfall”-themed.

“In a collaborative effort with the Xbox design team and the Respawn art department, our goal was to create a controller that feels as if it is a piece of military spec hardware transported from the universe of Titanfall and into players hands,” stated Joel Emslie, Lead Artist at Respawn Entertainment.

 

The Limited Edition controller is available for pre-order starting today for $65 and is set to release worldwide by the time “Titanfall” launches on March 11th, 2014 in North America and March 13th, 2014 in Europe.
Source: Xbox Wire

How To: Play the Same Game on 2 Xbox One’s Without Paying Twice

Back when Microsoft announced the Xbox One, digital game sharing sounded promising but, shortly after, Microsoft retracted their plans and switched focus back to physical media. If you happen to have two consoles in your home or know somebody who you want to share your games with, Microsoft made it so you could. Check out the video below and written out instructions below that…

 

How To:

  1. Console 1 has Profile 1 (Profile which you purchased the game with)
  2. Console 2 has Profile 1 & 2
  3. On Console 2 with Profile 1, go to settings -> My home Xbox -> Click on “Make this my home Xbox”
  4. You can now re-download (with Profile 1) the games that had been purchased. Once they download, you can switch to profile two and use the game as if it was yours!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us here.

How To: Sign Out of Skype on The Xbox One

One few issues I came across on the Xbox One was that it automatically signed in one of my Skype accounts because it was linked to my gamertag. According to Xbox Support..

There is no option to sign out of Skype, unless you sign out from your Xbox account on the console directly. However, you can turn off Skype notifications and set your status to “Invisible.”  source

They are, of course, correct. There is currently no way to sign out but there is a workaround.

How To:

  1.  Go to “My games & apps”
  2. Hover over to Skype and click the Menu button (what used to be start) and scroll down to uninstall.
  3. Go to the Store and re-download Skype.
  4. Launch Skype
  5. Click on “use a different Skype account”.
  6. It now tells you that your “accounts have already been linked”-click to got to Skype.com and follow the steps to unlink the account.
  7. Go back to the Skype app and sign in with your other Skype account.
  8. It will ask you to link the accounts. You will do so by confirming.
  9. That’s it, Skype away!

 

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