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.

Grand Theft Auto 5 Gets Official Gameplay Video and Release Date

Grand Theft Auto 5 will be launching on September 17th for Xbox 360 and PS3, there’s no word yet on whether or not it will come to PC, Xbox One, or PS4. There are tons of things to do in the open world and a number of different ways to approach heists. I’ve never been a fan of the Grand Theft Auto series but this game sure does look promising. For now, enjoy the video below of some Grand Theft Auto 5 gameplay.

Industrial Design Behind The Xbox One [Video]

WIRED has gotten an exclusive first-look and behind the scenes of the new Xbox One from prototypes to final design as well as the game controller and new Kinect. Check out the video above and gallery below.

Source: WIRED (Video) WIRED (Images)

Close-Up Pictures of The Xbox One Console, New Controller and Kinect

Xbox One Console

Xbox One Controller

Xbox One Kinect

Source: Wired

Xbox One specs: 8-core CPU, 8GB RAM, Blu-ray Drive, 500GB hard drive and more

Today Microsoft revealed the next generation Xbox and with it some games but, what will the Xbox One be packed with?

  • Processor and graphics: Customized AMD chip with an eight-core CPU, a GPU tailored for DirectX 11.1 graphics, and 32MB of high bandwidth embedded ESRAM memory.’
  • System memory: 8GB of RAM (DDR3)
  • Audio and video: 1080p and 4K; 7.1 surround sound.
  • Kinect: Bundled with Xbox One. Will contain 250,000-pixel infrared depth sensor as well as a 1080p camera.
  • Storage and media: 500GB Hard Drive. Games on a disc will be ripped to the HDD automatically.
  • Connectivity: HDMI 1.4 output and passthrough, USB 3.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet, and three separate 802.11n radios which allow the console to communicate with its controller and other devices without losing its connection to the internet.

Price has yet to be confirmed as well as an exact release date but Microsoft said that the Xbox One will ship around the world later this year. Both the PS4 and Xbox One are very similar in terms of specs but only time will tell which one is better.

Xbox One Unveiled: Microsoft’s Next Generation Console

Microsoft has unveiled the Xbox One, a console which acts like an all-in-one entertainment set-top box. The next gen console is going to focus on different types of content, and use new tech, like cloud interfacing and streaming. It’s really aiming to become an all-in-one home entertainment system.

The system itself is all black with a two-tone matte and gloss finish and sports a slot-loading Blu-ray optical drive which confirms the rumors. The game controller has been re-designed and every console will come with a Kinect in the box. Xbox One will be launched around the world later this year and more information will be given at E3.

Check out more Xbox One coverage- SpecsClose-Up Pictures, Industrial Design

Next Generation Xbox might be announced on May 21st

We are a little over two months away from E3 and all of the major gaming announcements of the year and since Sony has already teased us with the PS4 it is Microsofts turn. Paul Thurrott recently revealed that Microsoft is planning an event on May 21st to announce the next generation Xbox console.

The event was originally scheduled for April 24th but was moved to a later date. In the event Microsoft might reveal all of the new consoles details and features or it could pull a PlayStation and keep some details secret until E3 in June.

 

Xbox SmartGlass Now Available For iOS

Microsoft has finally brought the SmartGlass app to iOS and is currently available for download for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touches running iOS 5.0 or later. The app allows your iOS device to serve as a remote and keypad for your Xbox 360, it is pretty much the same as the Android version which was released a while back. Go download it and try it out here!

 

Source: iTunes

My Xbox Live update brings direct remote control for iPhone & iPod Touch, Comes to Android

A while back Microsoft released My Xbox Live app on iOS which didn’t give users the ability of controlling your xbox media but instead it only let you manage your avatar, friends, and messages. The 1.5 update gives iPhone and iPod touch owners the ability to access both the Quickplay content browsing like in Windows Phone and button-for-button remote. Along with todays update the app was released for Android but for now is limited to checking their Xbox Live profiles, friend statuses, and messages. Hopefully the ability to navigate your Xbox on iPad and Android will come in the near future but in the meantime if you own an iPod Touch or iPhone then go check it out!

Source: App Store, Google Play

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